The migration of a traditional physical network to a Software Defined Networking (SDN) architecture is an important change in the technological evolution of any organization. The reason is obvious: the network is a critical resource for business processes, its levels of resilience and performance having an impact on the availability and quality of services and applications delivered. As a result, the process itself requires careful preparation and time, and the actual migration can take several weeks, depending on the complexity of the network and the internal skills you have.

Cisco ACI Connect2020But not if you call on Datanet Systems specialists. We have a certified team with consistent experience in implementing SDN projects, using Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) technology and we have developed our own methodology that allows us to reduce the duration of the migration process 2 to 4 times. Our colleague Sergiu Daniluk, Data Center Consultant at Datanet Systems, practically demonstrated at Cisco Romania (agenda of the event here) Connect2020 how we do this.

 

Steps in the Cisco ACI migration process 

 

To perform the demonstration, the Datanet specialist used a common architecture model in local data centers, detailing each stage of the migration process to Cisco ACI (in network centric model), with the related challenges. Thus, the main stages are:

The migration itself. It is the stage in which ports, servers, VLANs, etc. are actually moved. from the traditional network, creating in the ACI factory configurations such as EPG, Bridge Domain, VRF, etc.
Performing troubleshooting or rollback operations. After completing the migration process, a step of validation and verification of configurations and services follows. If problems occur – for example, some services are not working – troubleshooting or rollback actions will be performed depending on the time available.

  • Discover the existing network and configurations. The main challenge is the lack of up-to-date network documentation, a common phenomenon, especially in organically growing topologies.
  • Configuration analysis and migration planning. At this stage, the network applications are identified and the dependencies that exist between them – essential information for preparing the network design and the actual migration to ACI.
  • The migration itself. It is the stage in which ports, servers, VLANs, etc. are actually moved from the traditional network, creating in the ACI factory configurations such as EPG, Bridge Domain, VRF, etc.
  • Performing troubleshooting or rollback operations. After completing the migration process, a step of validation and verification of configurations and services follows. If problems occur – for example, some services are not working – troubleshooting or rollback actions will be performed depending on the time available.

 

What do you gain with automation? 

 

“The experience gained in SDN architectures implementation projects for the has shown us that the most time is consumed  in the phases of network discovery and data analysis, which last, on average, between two and four weeks. These are the most important stages, not only from the perspective of the time consumed but especially from the fact that the results obtained in these phases decisively influence the actual migration and the success of the process. However, using the methodology developed by Datanet and the appropriate automation tools, the Discovery phase can be reduced to just two minutes and the analysis phase to 7 days. This results in a reduction in the time required of up to four times. Similarly, the configuration and execution phase of the migration, which usually lasts 3-4 hours, can be brought, using automation, in 3-5 minutes, while a rollback action can be performed in a maximum of 3 minutes, compared to 30- 60 minutes using traditional methods “, explained  Sergiu Daniluk, Data Center Consultant at Datanet Systems, during his Connect2020 presentation.

Follow the full presentation at Connect2020 below.

 

 

To achieve these results, Datanet specialists use a series of open source automation applications – Ansible and Postman – and a set of scripts in Python. With their help and their own methodology is ensured not only the reduction of the duration of the entire migration process but also the reduction of the risk of configuration errors. At the same time, it provides a longer window of time for troubleshooting operations, both by the gains obtained from previous stages and by the fact that a rollback can be done 10-20 times faster.

The success of migrating a traditional physical network to an SDN architecture is directly influenced by the quality of the analysis, the efficiency of planning and execution, and the performance of the troubleshooting operations. Therefore, it is important that all these processes are performed by a system integrator with experience and expertise in this field, such as Datanet Systems.

 

If you would like to learn more about how you can take advantage of automation in Cisco ACI migration projects, contact us at sales@datanets.ro.

 

Watch the full Cisco Connect2020 presentation below.