NSX Data Center is now the de facto SDN standard for the Private Cloud. Reference guides for NSX Data Center are proven to reduce complexity in managing the physical switch infrastructure. This increases the infrastructures stability and requires a minimal set of system and service configuration to bring up the fabric. Organizations utilize NSX Data Center for a diverse set of use cases including security, a diverse application framework deployment platform, and application continuity across private and hybrid clouds.  With reference designs for any underlay, NSX Data Center is fulfilling its promise to be a platform over any infrastructure. NSX Data Center provides the cornerstone for the Virtual Cloud Network.

Overview of NSX Data Center with ACI Underlay

Ever since publishing our original design guide Deploying NSX with Cisco ACI as an Underlay, there has been an avalanche of interest in building out a more simplified Cisco infrastructure with ACI as the underlay. Most of the requests are for more detail when constructing the ACI underlay. The high-level design guidance in the original NSX reference design for ACI discussed the minimum ACI constructs necessary for an NSX Data Center deployment. These ideals have not changed.  The original paper called for a modest set of Cisco ACI EPGs (End Point Groups), each with their own ACI Bridge Domain and each bridge domain mapped to a single VLAN and IP subnet. The ACI border leaves require a pair of transit VLANs configured through an L3Out and external EPG for the edge connectivity from the NSX overlay through the NSX edge nodes and cluster.


NSX Data Center with Cisco ACI Underlay

Overview of NSX Data Center with Cisco ACI Underlay

Reference guide enhancements

This version of the reference guide, NSX Data Center with a Cisco ACI Underlay Design Guide, delves deeper into the construction of a network-centric ACI infrastructure to support the deployment of the NSX Data Center platform.  NSX Data Center with a Cisco ACI Underlay Design Guide contains a prescriptive set of instructions starting right after the completion of the ACI fabric “bring-up” process.  This document guides the network admin to create the required fabric access objects followed by the construction of an ACI Tenant and its necessary components.

Following the guidance of this reference guide for building a network-centric ACI infrastructure will direct the reader to create the recommended set of ACI objects while ensuring a simple and stable infrastructure to manage and operate.

Upon building the ACI underlay utilizing the recommendations of this reference guide, follow the guidance of these NSX Data Center reference guides to complete your deployment:

NSX-T Reference Design Guide

Reference Guide: VMware NSX for vSphere (NSX) Network Virtualization Design Guide

NSX Data Center is being deployed across a substantial portion of Cisco ACI customers utilizing the design recommendations of this guide. NSX Data Center provides Adaptive Micro-segmentation, ubiquitous policy management, load balancing, software-based programmable networking, cross-site and multi-site topologies for disaster recovery, site scaling and an extension to the public cloud. Providing a ubiquitous policy platform for any infrastructure, any cloud, any application framework and any endpoint begins with an NSX Data Center over an ACI underlay.

Recently published content on this topic

At Cisco Live 2018, we had an opportunity to discuss our reference guides with joint partners and customers. Several of our discussions were videotaped in our mobile meeting center. These are shown on YouTube using the following links: