We changed our name from IT Central Station: Here's why
You must select at least 2 products to compare!
Cisco ACI Logo
10,258 views|5,845 comparisons
VMware NSX Logo
22,192 views|15,552 comparisons
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"Cisco's technical support team is very good.""Cisco technical support is great.""The most important aspect of Cisco ACI in my opinion is the ease of management. Other solutions, like traditional solutions and pricier solutions—or even fabric and PAT—you have to do many configurations on a box-to-box basis, With Cisco ACI, you go on the AP and do some "next, next finish" installer.""The most valuable feature is the throughput that it offers.""It is very easy to do the configuration after you know how to work with the product. It is global, so you change one interface, and changes are reflected on every switch.""The stability is quite good.""We had different networks and combined them with ACI so we could have the control of one controller-based network. Also, everything is combined now."

More Cisco ACI Pros →

"I have found VMware NSX to be easy to use.""Overall, I would say the solution has been quite stable.""It gives more security and micro-segmentation. It helps to set network configurations in an easy way.""From a security standpoint, the customer was able to better secure critical workloads while routing L2/L3 worked normally, giving them more confidence that they would be ready for any potential security incident mitigation or outage (DR).""The most valuable features are security and dynamic routing.""The most valuable features are stability and low cost.""I have found the solution to be stable.""The most valuable features are the micro-segmentation and integrated security options."

More VMware NSX Pros →

"It would be great if ACI would include the next generation firewall feature.""I would like to be able to test the upgrades in a simulation before implementing them in production because not everyone has a lab.""Before version 5, you could manage your firewall or load balancer from the AP. It was very basic and now they removed the whole features in the new version, so you cannot manage your load balance or firewall from your AP on L2, L4, and L7 services.""Its graphical user interface (GUI) is not as user-friendly as it could be.""Training for this product is available from institutions but it is not available online where you can get users trained easily.""From my point of view, troubleshooting issues relating to ACI can be a little bit complicated to perform.""Technical support needs to be more helpful. It's rare that you get a knowledgeable person.""Our company had a lot of issues with the starter kit."

More Cisco ACI Cons →

"Quite a complex solution.""One drawback is this solution requires a lot of other products in the VMware ecosystem to have a full end-to-end operation orchestration monitoring. You have to buy a lot of add-ons to fully utilize the functionality.""The technical support could use some improvement.""The training costs a minimum of $3,000, which is expensive and should be reduced.""In the future, the solution should be compliant with internet NIC.""Everybody needs a network to connect to, and VMware doesn't readily provide one.""We have been satisfied with the technical support. They were able to solve our problems. However, they could be faster.""VMware NSX only supports some platforms like KVM."

More VMware NSX Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "This is an expensive solution."
  • "I don't believe there is any licensing required."
  • "Once you sign for the start kit implementation, you have to go all the way through to the implementation, even if you are experiences issues."
  • "It is quite expensive. It is not at all on the cheap or medium side."
  • "Cisco is much more expensive than other vendors, especially when it comes to the licensing."
  • More Cisco ACI Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The licensing fees are expensive and we pay on a yearly basis."
  • "It is an expensive product, but cheaper than some competing solutions."
  • "The price of this product is too high."
  • "This solution requires a licence."
  • "VMware NSX is expensive and everything is licensed. We have to pay for each individual feature."
  • "The price is based on the virtual desktop infrastructure(VDI) side and also is dependant on the size of the environment. The price is expensive and it could attract more purchasers in smaller organisations if it was reduced."
  • "I was not involved in the purchase of the solution but I hear it is on the expensive side."
  • "There is a license required for this solution, we pay annually."
  • More VMware NSX Pricing and Cost Advice →

    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Network Virtualization solutions are best for your needs.
    563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Answers from the Community
    author avatarSaurabh Bhattacharya
    Real User

    There are some very major differences between both the Products and to name a few.

    -Cisco ACI have physical network gear (9K Switches) where the Code runs in ACI Policy Mode & the UCS server where APIC software runs.

    -VMware NSX doesn't have any physical network gear of its own, VMware NSX software runs on ESXi hosts(Any Vendor) & even NSX Bare Metal Edge runs on any Vendor hardware(check compatibility)

    -Cisco ACI offers both Underlay & Overlay functionality

    -VMware NSX is a software and it builds an Overlay tunnel for (VM/Container) communication on top of an already established IP network which can be build on hardware network gear (Cisco Legacy/ACI/Juniper etc.)

    -Cisco ACI: To use micro-segmentation on a VM or Container level you will need some other Cisco products

    -VMware NSX: Micro-segmentation can be done Out of the Box because DFW Distributed Firewall are applied on the vnic of a VM i.e. on the ESXi kernel.

    Being different in many manners but they still define the SDN realm with L2-L7 Network services and what you choose over the other may depend on many other factors like what network gear you already have or if its Green or Brownfield deployment. For example if your infra already have something other than Cisco 9K switches and is well configured then it will make more sense to use NSX to make use of all the SDN functionalities. This is just an example not a recommendation.

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: 
    There are some very major differences between both the Products and to name a few. -Cisco ACI have physical network gear (9K Switches) where the Code runs in ACI Policy Mode & the UCS server where… more »
    Top Answer: 
    Once you know your way around the Cisco ecosystem, using Cisco ACI is not so difficult. It is a global product, so when you change one interface, changes are automatically reflected on every switch… more »
    Top Answer: 
    The most important aspect of Cisco ACI in my opinion is the ease of management. Other solutions, like traditional solutions and pricier solutions—or even fabric and PAT—you have to do many… more »
    Top Answer: 
    I really like the management dashboard, the tailor-made assurance, the telemetry, and the ease of integration with all other solutions of VMware, such as vSphere.
    Top Answer: 
    I can't speak to the exact licensing costs of the solution.
    Top Answer: 
    It's very complex. However, I don't work directly with it typically. We had started two projects for integration with OpenShift and OpenStack with NSX. It was declared by VMware that this is possible… more »
    Average Words per Review
    Average Words per Review
    Also Known As
    VMware Nicira
    Learn More
    Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments. It accomplishes this using a business-relevant Software Defined Networking (SDN) policy model across networks, servers, storage, security, and services.
    VMware NSX is the network virtualization platform for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC). By bringing the operational model of a virtual machine to your data center network, you can transform the economics of network and security operations. NSX lets you treat your physical network as a pool of transport capacity, with network and security services attached to VMs with a policy-driven approach.
    Learn more about Cisco ACI
    Learn more about VMware NSX
    Sample Customers
    Bowling Green State University, du, Qatar University
    City of Avondale, Lumeta, Kroll Ontrack, Heartland Payment Systems, Baystate Heallth, Exostar, Tribune Media, iGATE, NTT Communications, Synergent, California Natural Resources Agency, Bloomington Public Schools, Columbia Sportswear, Join Experience S.A, Schuberg Philis
    Top Industries
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Computer Software Company9%
    Comms Service Provider38%
    Computer Software Company24%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Financial Services Firm22%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Computer Software Company25%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Company Size
    Small Business14%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise74%
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise56%
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise67%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco ACI is ranked 2nd in Network Virtualization with 7 reviews while VMware NSX is ranked 1st in Network Virtualization with 25 reviews. Cisco ACI is rated 8.0, while VMware NSX is rated 7.8. The top reviewer of Cisco ACI writes "Stable, scalable, and easy to manage". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware NSX writes "A flexible option for managing security, but setup is complex and documentation is lacking". Cisco ACI is most compared with Nuage Networks, ECI Mercury and Cisco Elastic Services Controller, whereas VMware NSX is most compared with Cisco Secure Workload, Nutanix Flow, Guardicore Centra, Cisco SD-WAN and Illumio Adaptive Security Platform. See our Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX report.

    See our list of best Network Virtualization vendors.

    We monitor all Network Virtualization reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.