CTOs, CIOs, and application architects need access to datacenter facilities capable of handling the broad range of content serving, Big Data/analytics, and archiving functions associated with the systems of engagement and insight that they depend upon to better service customers and enhance business outcomes. They need to enhance their existing datacenters, they need to accelerate the building of new datacenters in new geographies, and they need to take greater advantage of advanced, sophisticated datacenters designed, built, and operated by service providers. IDC terms this business and datacenter transformation the shift to the 3rd Platform.
This new architectural model must address the technological and operational limitations of traditional network architectures and meet the datacenter requirements of 3rd Platform workloads. For example, software-defined networking (SDN), which features a decoupling of the network control plane from its data-forwarding plane, was conceived as a means of giving the network the agility and flexibility required by organizations building cloud computing environments.
Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) seeks to address the datacenter operator's need for automated provisioning, programmatic management, and comprehensive orchestration.