Network traffic patterns have witnessed numerous changes due to the increasing popularity of cloud-based applications. In a traditional network, accommodating complex network patterns and adapting to constant changes has always been a tedious task. Most organizations are now switching to software-defined networking (SDN) infrastructures, a dramatic departure from the way standard networks are designed. SDN centralizes control of your network, improving the network's flexibility and efficiency.
Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is Cisco's SDN architecture for data centers. Cisco ACIs take a simpler approach to managing your network, providing fully integrated physical and virtual infrastructure. ACI helps you cope with the rapid application changes in your network and manage it with software flexibility and hardware scalability.
OpManager can handle all your network monitoring needs, including now Cisco ACI monitoring. Discover your whole Cisco ACI infrastructure and get a comprehensive view of your controller along with all the other components, such as the fabric, tenants, and endpoint groups. Network administrators now have a unified tool to track the health and efficiency of the entire ACI environment and its associated components.
OpManager uses Cisco's own API access credentials to communicate with your SDN environment and monitor the Cisco ACI device with all its associated components. This includes:
The ACI summary page gives you all the necessary information on the discovered ACI model, along with other details including:
OpManager automatically plots the topology map of your ACI environment for better visualization. This gives you a comprehensive look at the APIC controller, the spines, and the leaves available in your network and how they are interconnected. Click on a device and you’ll see its availability status too. The Topology tab is pretty much a network map with live status updates.
The Fabric tab gives you a complete layout of the network and software components of your ACI environment in a three-tier architecture. Once discovery is initiated, components in your environment, such as the super spines, spines, and leaves, will be automatically added into OpManager. The list also includes necessary information such as the health score, pod ID, and node ID of all discovered components.
Tenants are logical containers that denote each customer or mapped service in an ACI network. You can further drill down into a tenant and access its summary page, which has information on all connected endpoint groups, application profiles, bridge domains, and VRFs, as well as the tenant's overall health score.
OpManager discovers all endpoint machines associated with your ACI environment, grouping them automatically during device discovery. Endpoints groups are a collection of end machines that are part of the discovered ACI environment. These endpoint machines are treated as individual devices in OpManager. You can also initiate advanced monitoring for these endpoints and access all related functions if necessary.
OpManager's Cisco ACI monitoring tool closely tracks the following metrics to check if your SDN environment is performing optimally.
|Component||Key metrics monitored|
|Fabric||Health score, availability, individual summary for associated components (spine, super spine, leaf)|
|Tenants||Health score, number of endpoint groups, associated application profiles, availability|
|Endpoint groups||Availability status, performance monitoring (if advanced monitoring is enabled).|
|APIC||Admin/Operational state, health score, availability|
OpManager offers a dedicated SDN dashboard with a handful of personalized widgets that deliver all the necessary information about your Cisco ACI environment. This gives network administrators a quick glance at the entire network without digging into each node. The dashboard offers various widgets, such as SDN inventory, including details of all the individual components of your ACI environment; Infrastructure Health Status, displaying the health of the controllers, fabric, and tenants in your ACI environment; and Alarms, listing the most recently triggered alarms.
If you want to see additional Cisco ACI monitoring features implemented in OpManager, we would love to hear from you.
SDN environments like Cisco ACI can be expanded to a great extent depending on an organization's requirements, but even organizations with advanced SDN infrastructure need in-depth visibility into their network's performance and efficiency. In such cases, a smart network monitoring tool is essential for anomaly detection, quicker troubleshooting, and assisting the network administrator in keeping track of the growth of the network.