Difference Between Cisco DCNM and ACI

The network is required to connect various servers across the world. Therefore, they help people all around the world to connect.


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This is the reason that the architecture of the networks needs to be detected from time to time. As the network needs are increasing the development of the network is also required from time to time.

The older network requires a three-tier architecture. The three tiers have the components like The core layer, the distribution layer which is made of two layers and the third one is the Acess layer which supports the MEC.

This system lacks the configuration and the modification on the firewall. The horizontal growth of the network was also difficult. Therefore new generation network architecture was developed and they are Cisco DCNM and ACI.

Cisco DCNM vs ACI

The difference between the Cisco DCNM and ACI is that ACI works better for the smaller data center while DCNM works better on large scale. The ACI does not come with an automatic upgrading feature while the ACI does not come with this benefit. This is the reason that the larger network prefers the DCNM more over the ACI. Yet the ACI can be used in the smaller, medium, and bigger networks too.

Cisco DCNM vs ACI

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The Cisco DCNM has a basic model quite similar to the EVPN and ACI in any manner. The DCNM is easy to install and does not come with different connections of uplink and downlink.

The DCNM has three components: Spines to connect the points to the network, Leaves which is the connection between the endpoints and the last one is DCNM controller.

The ACI is the network that can be described as the collapsed network of the old network. Yet the ACI is designed in a way that it can work from simple to complex networks. It is a homogenous network.

The ACI has three components: Spines which is the connection to the network, Leaves which is the part that accumulates all the data for distribution, and the last component is APCIs where the supervision of the network takes place.

Comparison Table

Parameters of the ComparisonCisco DCNMACI
Full-FormThe Cisco DCNM stands for Data Centre Network Manager.The ACI stands for the Application Centric Infrastructure.
DefinitionThe Cisco DCNM is the network that is used in the network to encounter troubleshoot and monitor the activity within a network.The ACI is network software that is used to monitor and optimize the performance of a network.
Network TypeThe Cisco DCNM is not based on a homogenous network.The ACI is a reliable homogenous network.
Based onThe Cisco DCNM is the network that has basics similar to the EVPN and ACI.The ACI architecture is based on the Clos Network.
AdvantageThe advantage of the Cisco DCNM is that it can be modified easily.The advantage of the ACI is that the network comes with both an underlay and overlay network system.
UsesThe Cisco DCNM is used mainly in large enterprises.The ACI can be used in all small, medium, and big enterprises.

What is Cisco DCNM?

The Cisco DCNM stands for the Data Centre Network Manager. The DCNM is the version that is based on the EVPN and ACI. The DCNM is easy to install and upgrade.

The modification is easy thus, the network is more preferred by large enterprises. As it removes the problems of the network modification.

The DCNM is the network that does not come with the bulky system as every connection does not require different ports and wires for transferring and receiving the data. The basic design of the DCNM is similar to the EVPN which has three components:

  1. The Spines connect all the leaves to the network.
  2. The Leaves link the connection between the devices and the network.
  3. The DCNM controller controllers the data exchange within the network.

The DCNM follows the underlay network and the overlay network comprises the VXLAN of EVPN. The overlay network can virtualize the Leaves and the controller.

Yet, the DCNM is also based on the old versions and has an extra feature of security. The DCNM does not follow the homogeneity as in DCNM one switch is not there to act and control within the network.

What is ACI?

The ACI stands for the Application Centric Infrastructure. The ACI is described as the collapsed version of the old network. It is based on the Clos Network invented in 1938 which was later developed in 1952.

The ACI has a spine-leaf architecture. The network has a three-tier system just like the older version. Whereas the ACI is the reliable homogenous network.

The ACI has three components:

  1. Spines which is connected to the individual leaf for the aggregation point of the leaf. The spines have the fabric modules for the network point. The bandwidth is fixed but if we have to increase the bandwidth. This can be achieved by adding more spines.
  2. The leaves are the bridge that connects the network and devices. The leaves are the measure of the capacity a network can connect.
  3. The APICs are the controller where the network is supervised to detect the problem or errors that are occurring in the network.

The ACI is the network that works in both overlay and underlay networks.

The underlay network is the network that connects to all the points directly with the use of wires while the overlay network connects the points in the network virtually or we can say wireless.

The overlay network helps us to activate the firewall easily. The ACI has a three-layer configuration thus, it can also be used for any endpoint.

Main Differences Between Cisco DCNM and ACI

  1. The Cisco DCNM is the network that monitors every activity of the network while the ACI is used to optimize the network.
  2. The Cisco DCNM is the network based on the EVPN while the ACI is based on the Clos Network.
  3. The DCNM is easy to install as compared to the ACI.
  4. The DCNM is easy to modify and install the firewall as compared to the ACI.
  5. The DCNM is more used in a large enterprise while the ACI is used more in small and medium enterprises.
  1. https://www.airitilibrary.com/Publication/alDetailedMesh?docid=18164714-200509-201312190005-201312190005-19-28
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