Data Center Application Centric Infrastructure Fundamentals (DCACIF v3.1)

DCACIF v3.1 is a 5-day instructor-led training course that is designed for system and field engineers who install and implement the Cisco Nexus 9000 Switches in ACI mode. The course uses the updated 3.1(1) software version and updated Cisco Nexus 9000 hardware platform. The course covers the key components and procedures that an engineer needs to know to understand, configure and manage Cisco Nexus 9000 Switches in ACI mode connected to the ACI Fabric to external networks and services.

Retail Price: $4,795.00

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About this Course

DCACIF v3.1 is a 5-day instructor-led training course that is designed for system and field engineers who install and implement the Cisco Nexus 9000 Switches in ACI mode.  The course uses the updated 3.1(1) software version and updated Cisco Nexus 9000 hardware platform.  The course covers the key components and procedures that an engineer needs to know to understand, configure and manage Cisco Nexus 9000 Switches in ACI mode connected to the ACI Fabric to external networks and services.

Audience Profile

This course is for systems engineers, technical architects, and product specialists in data center technical roles. Students include those who need to gain experience with understanding, configuring, and designing the data center networking environment with Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches.

At Course Completion

Upon course completion, students will be able to:

  • Describe the three tier application flow and how networks restrict the optimal flow that applications need.
  • Understand the flexible approach that allows the hardware and software constructs of the ACI solution to match that of the application flow.
  • Configure a Tenant, VRF, Bridge Domain and EPG.
  • Configure a Contract, Subject and Filter to provide stateless policy between EPG’s.
  • Use the CLI alternative for each of the constructs of a Tenant.
  • Understand the process of how the APIC relates to a hypervisor controller.
  • Configure the Interface and Switch Policies that are used to help build a VMM Domain.
  • Configure the VMM Domain and create the DVS that will connect to the guest machines.
  • Observe the Hypervisor Controller Integration connectivity.
  • Understand the challenges of connecting the fabric to a Routed Outside Network.
  • Discuss the process of how routes are injected and redistributed through the fabric components and the various options of Routing Protocols used for peering.
  • Understand the Bridged Outside functions and protocols that are bypassed or utilized to provide a scalable solution.
  • Configure a bridged connection to a trunking device through a border leaf switch.
  • Provide a concrete device to be presented to the APIC as a physical or logical entity and learn the basic connectivity required.
  • Understand a function profile and how it interacts with a device package to provide control over an appliance that is under the control of the APIC controller.
  • Understand the basic components of RBAC and how to configure these into a security domain construct.
  • Learn how to upload software to the APIC and perform an upgrade to the firmware of an APIC controller and Leaf Switch.
  • Review a troubleshooting process and use tools to help isolate and log failures.
  • Back up configurations through snapshots and rollbacks.
  • Understand how to read and build XML or JSON documents.
  • Understand the REST interface and how it uses XML or JSON documents for running scripts.
  • Review common Server, Networking, Storage and Security concepts in a current design.
  • Review the physical placement of devices when migrating to the Spine and Leaf architecture.
  • Plan and apply Contracts for stateless control.
  • Configure a Service Graph template between 2 active EPG’s for both Internal and External connectivity.
  • Place an L4 - L7 device for three Tier and External EPG service insertion.


Before attending this course, students should have the following knowledge or experience:

  • Students should be familiar with Cisco Ethernet Nexus switching products.
  • Students should understand Cisco Data Center architecture.
  • Students should be familiar with virtualization (preferably VMware).
  • Good understanding of data center networking protocols, routing, and switching
  • Recommended Route and Switch CCNA and Data Center CCNA certifications
  • Recommended attendance of Cisco IP Routing Class (ROUTE)
  • Recommended attendance of Cisco Switching Class (SWITCH)
  • Recommended attendance of Introducing Cisco Data Center Networking (DCICN)
  • Recommended attendance of Introducing Cisco Data Center Technologies (DCICT)

Course Outline

Module 1: Cisco ACI Overview

Lesson 1: What Problems Does Cisco ACI fix?

  • The Three Tier Application Model

  • The ACI Solution

Lesson 2: Hardware Overview

  • The Cisco Nexus 9000 Solution

  • The Cisco Nexus 9300-EX Solution

  • The Cisco Cloud Scaled ASIC

  • Modular Switch Overview

  • The Cisco APIC

  • Spine and Leaf Topology

Lesson 3: Cisco ACI Software Overview

  • Networking Concepts

  • Security Policies

  • Supported Deployment Models

Lesson 4: Fabric Transport

  • VXLAN Overview

  • VXLAN Gateways, Bridging, Routing, and Overlay

  • The ACI VXLAN Header

  • VNID Overview

  • The Network Services Header

  • Multi-hypervisor Normalization

  • Fabric Unicast Forwarding

  • The Cisco Nexus 9300 VTEP

Module 2: Configuring Cisco ACI Basic Constructs

Lesson 1: The Cisco ACI GUI and CLI

  • Graphical User Interface

  • Command Line Interface

Lesson 2: Configuring Tenants and Contracts

  • Configuring a Tenant

  • Configuring Contracts

Module 3: Cisco ACI External Connectivity, Management and Migration

Lesson 1: Policy Coordination with VM Managers

  • VMM Domains and VLANs

  • Leveraging the Native vSwitch

  • Cisco ACI Virtual Edge (AVE)

  • Spanning EPGs Across VMM Domains

  • Virtualization Concept Map

  • Physical and Virtual Server Port Groups

Lesson 2: Hypervisors and Bare Metal

  • Hypervisor Integration

  • Bare Metal Servers

Lesson 3: VMM Domains

  • Fabric Access and Interface Policies

  • Interface Profile and Access Port Selector

  • Leaf Profiles and Attachable Access Entity Profile (AAEP)

  • VLAN Pools

  • VMM Domain

  • Attach the EPG to the VMM Domain

  • Verifying the DVS and Attach the Guest

  • VMMs at the CLI

Lesson 4: Micro Segmentation in the Data Center

  • The Need for Micro Segmentation  

  • Management Networks

  • Virtual Distributed Switch (vDS)

  • Create a VMM Domain

  • Integration with Microsoft SCVMM and Azure Pack

  • The Cisco ACI Virtual Edge (AVE)

Module 4: Configuring Cisco ACI Connectivity to Outside Networks

Lesson 1: Internal and External Connectivity

  • External Connectivity Use Cases

  • Examine Layer 2 and Layer 3 Options

  • Define an APIC Network and Component Relationships

  • Understand Internal and External Connections

  • Scaling VRFs and SVI Connections

  • Explore ACI Layer 3 Outside Connections

  • Explain How to Extend a Layer 2 Domain

Lesson 2: Layer 3 Outside Connectivity and Configuration

  • L3 Outside Connectivity

  • Configuring L3 Outside

  • Configuring Layer 2 Outside

Module 5: Cisco ACI Administration and Troubleshooting Tools

Lesson 1: Administration and Troubleshooting Tools

  • Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

  • Firmware Upgrades

  • Backups and Rollbacks

Lesson 2: Troubleshooting, Faults and Monitoring

  • Troubleshooting

  • Faults

  • Monitoring

Module 6: Cisco ACI Programmability and Orchestration

Lesson 1: The Need for Programming

  • The Business Need for Network Programmability

  • API Protocols

  • How REST is Used

Lesson 2: JSON and XML

  • JSON Characteristics

  • XML Characteristics

  • JSON / XML Advantages, Similarities and Differences

  • Northbound: REST API, Python, Puppet, Chef and OpenStack

  • Southbound: Layer 4 to Layer 7 Scripting API

  • Cisco DevNet Developer Program and Community Code Development

Lesson 3: The REST API

  • REST Characteristics

  • RPC Utilization

  • The ACI APIC Object-Based Tree

  • APIC REST API Operations and Message Format

  • dMIT Queries

  • The Six Constraints of REST

Lesson 4: Orchestration

  • OpFlex

  • OpenStack

  • Application Policy in OpenDaylight

Module 7: Cisco ACI L4 - L7 Services

Lesson 1:  Service Insertion Concepts

  • Device Cluster and Packages

  • Service Insertion Configuration

Lesson 2: Configuring L4 – L7 Devices

  • Understand the Layer 4 to Layer 7 Policy Model

  • Configure the Concrete Device

  • Configure the Functional Profile

  • Configure a Service Graph

Module 8: Cisco ACI Practical Review

Lesson 1: Attaching Appliances to the Fabric

  • How the Network Look Today

  • Spine and Leaf

  • Storage Devices

Lesson 2: Policy and Application Mapping

  • Application EPG Connectivity

  • Bridged and Routed Outside

  • Service Insertion

Appendix A: Hardware Architecture and Features

  • Hardware Architecture

  • Merchant and Custom ASICs

  • ASIC Architecture of the Nexus 9500

  • Packet Forwarding of the Nexus 9000

  • Hardware Architecture of Nexus 9300

  • Fabric Features and Fabric Registration

  • The Nexus 9000 Series Performance


  • LAB 0: Access the Remote Lab Environment

  • LAB 1: Get to know the APIC GUI and CLI

  • LAB 2: Erase ACI, Initiate Fabric Discover and Initial Setup

  • LAB 3: Configure Fabric Access Policies

  • LAB 4: Configure Basic Network Centric Constructs

  • LAB 5: Extend Layer 2 into the ACI Fabric Using a Physical Domain

  • LAB 6: Extend Layer 2 into the Fabric Using an External Bridged Domain

  • LAB 7: Create a Virtual Machine Manager Domain and Connect VMs to EPGs

  • LAB 8: Prepare for Migration by Creating an External Machine Migration

  • LAB 9: Implement Virtual Machine Migration

  • LAB 10: Migrate to an Application Centric Approach

  • LAB 11: Configure Service Insertion and Service Graphs (Optional)

  • LAB 12: Configure APIC Using the REST API

  • Appendix Lab – Configure FEX Fabric Access Policies

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