Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Thursday, July 16, 2020
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A10 Networks Joins Cisco’s ACI Ecosystem 

Applications networking specialist A10 Networks said it has integrated its application delivery controller into Cisco System's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) fabric, enabling the partners to offer application and security services on the year-old Cisco platform.

San Jose-based A10 Networks joins a growing list of ACI ecosystems partners since Cisco unveiled its version of an application-driven software-defined network last year. A10 said its Thunder controller would offer Layer 4 through Layer 7 application networking services designed to allow enterprises to boost their datacenter performance by automatically provisioning application delivery and security services.

The company's approach to delivering apps in the cloud "closely aligns with the streamlined delivery cycles of the Cisco ACI common policy framework," Raj Jalan, CTO of A10 Networks, noted in a statement.

Cisco's ACI platform is designed to insert Layer 4 through Layer 7 services into its application policy controller using simplified definitions. The A10 controller automates ACI service delivery and insertion of physical, virtual and hybrid appliances.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 12.54.41 PMA10 said its device package leverages open APIs that it claims will allow Cisco's application policy controller to configure automation and orchestration of app delivery controller services within its fabric.

In a recent blog post updating its progress on ACI, Cisco said it has been working since last August with A10 and other L4-L7 application delivery controller vendors through its Insieme Business Unit to develop, test and certify joint products that can be deployed on ACI in existing application delivery controllers.

"A10 Networks is the new kid on the ACI ecosystem block," noted Ravi Balakrishnan, Cisco DataCenter Solutions' senior product marketing manager. "ACI’s SDN paradigm is a natural fit for A10 Networks’s vision and strategy to expose L4-L7 networking features programmatically."

Certification of A10 Network's device package for ACI is "a first step," Balakrishan added. A10 Networks has "certified their device package for ACI and is now available for download. The A10 device package is open source, and can be easily enhanced by customers to create custom value with near ubiquitous programmability."

Cisco and A10 are also expected collaborate on applications standards as well as advanced application delivery controller features.

Cisco provided an update on ACI last month. Soni Jiandani, the Cisco senior vice president overseeing the ACI roll out, said several early adopters ranging from an online university to datacenter operators are taking the software-defined networking capability to production.

Cisco, too, has begun a phased deployment of the automation app deployment tool within its private cloud. John Manville, who heads Cisco’s global infrastructure team, said ACI has allowed Cisco’s app development teams, rather than IT administrators, to decide what network infrastructure they want to use.

Meanwhile, A10 Networks has been working with other developers of software-defined architectures, including Extreme Networks Inc., on security services. Extreme Networks, also based in San Jose, has enlisted A10 Networks to improve datacenter security through threat response approaches aimed at fending off server intrusions. The partners also are working on boosting datacenter utilization via Extreme Networks' SDN platform.

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