ACI Hardware Installation
The Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Fabric hardware includes an Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) appliance (a cluster of three controllers), one or more leaf switches and one or more spine switches connected to each other .
The ACI fabric topology includes the following major components:
- Application Centric Infrastructure Controller (APIC) appliance (cluster of APICs)
- Switches that are used as Leaf switches are Cisco Nexus 93108TC-EX, 93108TC-FX, 93120TX, 93128TX, 93180LC-EX, 93180YC-EX, 93180YC-FX, 9332PQ, 9348GC-FXP, 9372PX, 9372PX-E, 9372TX, 9372TX-E, 9396PX, and 9396TX switches
- Switches that are used as Spine Switches are which are Cisco Nexus 9336PQ, 9364C, 9504, 9508, and 9516 switches.
The following figure shows how spine and leaf switches are connected to form the ACI Fabric
For APIC to configure we can use cluster of second generation Cisco UCS 220 M4 or we can also use cluster of First generation Cisco 220 M3. The Image of these Servers are secured with Certificates, APIC Product ID (PID) and also with Trusted Platform Module (TPM). There are two modes to configure the APIC controller:
For Large cluster : Cluster of three Cisco APIC second generation controllers with large size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations for more than 1000 edge ports.
For Medium cluster: Cluster of three Cisco APIC second generation controllers with medium size CPU, hard drive, and memory configurations for up to 1000 edge ports.
Connection Features on a Second-Generation APIC Controller is shown as follows.
- It has Virtual Interface Card (VIC) for either optical (VIC1225) connections or 10GBASE-T (VIC1225T) connections
- To provide connection to downlink port on TOR Switches it has two fiber optic or 10GBASE-T ports
- It has 1-Gigabit Ethernet as Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) port to provide a console ( connection) connection
- A Console port for a direct connection to a console if you have to configure device via Console.
- It has Out-of-band management ports for OOB connection and it cannot be used as CIMC ports except when using the Shared_LOM mode
Connecting Leaf Switches to APICs
In order to create the ACI fabric ACI-mode leaf switches must be connected to each APIC. The cable used to connect to Leaf and APIC depends upon the type of virtual interface card (VIC) installed on the APIC.
VIC card capabilities of APIC Controller.
- The VIC1225 module supports optical SFP/SFP+ transceivers and to connect it we use optical fiber cables. The following switches which has optical downlink ports are Cisco Nexus 93180LC-EX, 93180YC-EX, 93180YC-FX, 9332PQ, 9348GC-FXP, 9372PX, 9372PX-E, and 9396PX.
- The VIC1225T module has copper connection capability and to provide connectivity we use copper connectors and copper cables. The following switches which has copper downlink ports are Cisco Nexus 93108TC-EX, 93128TX, 9348GC-FXP,9372TX, 9372TX-E,93108TC-FX, 93120TX,and 9396TX switches.
Connecting Leaf Switches to Spine Switches
For optimal forwarding between endpoints, you must connect each leaf switch (Cisco Nexus 93108TC-EX, 93108TC-FX, 93120TX, 93128TX, 93180LC-EX, 93180YC-EX, 93180YC-FX, 9332PQ, 9372PX, 9372PX-E, 9372TX, 9372TX-E, 9396PX, or 9396TX) to every spine switch (Cisco Nexus 9336PQ, 9504, 9508, or 9516) in the same ACI fabric. The following table provides the number of ports which can be used to connect leaf switches and the supported speeds for those ports