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Is Cisco ACI Dead?! [2023]

What a provocative Question! But one that I hear more and more, I will give you a quick answer in this Post!

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In the rapidly evolving world of technology, it’s not uncommon for specific tools or products to lose relevance over time. One such product that has been the subject of much debate recently is Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). The question on everyone’s lips seems to be: “Is Cisco ACI dead?”

This questioning has been fueled by various factors, including its limited mention at Cisco’s June Live conference, growing investments in alternative Fabric options like NDFC/DCNM, and a fair share of competitive fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD).

But is it dead now?

The question “Is Cisco ACI dead?” is not just a provocative headline but a genuine concern some of my clients recently raised. This question is becoming more widespread, as evidenced by a Gartner post addressing the same question from last September.

Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, has noticed an uptick in the frequency of this question from their clients and non-clients. The question has gained enough traction that when you type “Is Cisco ACI” into Google, the first autocomplete prediction that pops up is “dead.” This indicates that the question is not isolated to a few curious minds but is a broader concern in the Cisco community.

Google Result for is Cisco ACI …

My point of view

Firstly, let me state: Cisco ACI is not dead. Now that we got this out of the way let me explain my belief.

Cisco continues to invest in ACI, with new hardware and software being announced and released regularly. This ongoing development indicates that ACI is still a part of Cisco’s strategy and will continue to be a strategic product in the foreseeable future.

ACI remains a great product. It offers robust features and capabilities that have made it a go-to choice for many businesses. One of my favorites is the Policy Based Redirect option. Its ability to simplify complex networking tasks, provide end-to-end network visibility, and enhance security are reasons why ACI is still a strong contender in the market.

However, it’s also important to acknowledge that the landscape is changing. New alternatives are emerging, offering functionalities that were once exclusive to ACI. One alternative is NDFC, which Gartner has identified as the optimal fabric management software for most Cisco data center environments. These new alternatives are not necessarily a sign of ACI’s demise but rather a reflection of the evolving needs of businesses and the dynamic nature of technology.


In conclusion, while the question “Is Cisco ACI Dead?” is being asked more frequently, the answer, from my perspective, is a resounding no. ACI is still alive and kicking, but the landscape is changing, and other options are emerging as strong competitors. As the technology world continues to evolve, it’s crucial for businesses and individuals alike to stay informed and adapt to these changes. The key is to understand your specific needs and choose the tool that best fits your environment, whether that’s ACI, NDFC, or another option entirely.

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