The Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) Simulator is a physical appliance that simulates a Cisco ACI environment. The appliance offers full-featured Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) software along with a simulated fabric infrastructure of leaf switches and spine switches in one physical server.
Cisco ACI Simulator includes Cisco APIC instances with real production software. You can use it to understand ACI features, exercise APIs, and initiate integration with third-party orchestration systems and applications. The native GUI and command-line interface (CLI) of Cisco APIC use the same APIs that are published for third parties, and can be accessed through the ACI Simulator.
The Cisco ACI Simulator includes simulated switches, so you will not be able to validate data path. However, some of the simulated switch ports are mapped to the front-panel server ports, which allows you to connect external management entities such as:
- VMware ESX servers, VMware vCenter, VMware vShield, and bare-metal servers
- Layer 4 through 7 services
- Authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) systems
- Other physical and virtual service appliances
In addition, the Cisco ACI Simulator allows you to simulate faults and alerts to facilitate testing and demonstrate features.
The simulated environment includes two ACI spines, two ACI leafs, and three APIC controllers.
Features and Capabilities
Key capabilities provided by Cisco ACI Simulator include:
- Fabric management: Fabric discovery, topology view
- Network construct creation: Build a tenant, private Layer 3 network, bridged domain
- Cisco ACI policy construct specification: Create filters, contracts
- Application deployment: Create application network profiles, endpoint groups
- Monitoring and troubleshooting: View faults, events, managed objects
It also offers virtualization integration, Layer 4 through 7 integration, and programmability with Northbound API clients using Python, REST APIs with JSON and XML bindings, and PowerShell.