Tips You Need to Know About: ACI Clustering & Sharding

At the heart of the Cisco ACI lies a critical component known as the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). This powerhouse controls the policy management and the network configuration, forming the brain of the ACI. But what makes it truly fascinating is the concept of “ACI Clustering & Database Sharding“.

In this video, I’m going to explain how the Cisco APIC Cluster works and what database sharding is all about. We’ll see how it drives scalability, redundancy, and resilience within the ACI fabric management plane.


  • Cisco ACI fabric scalability depends on the APIC appliance type (M/L) and the APIC cluster size (3-APICs/5-APICs .. etc).
  • The ACI database is replicated and broken up into smaller database units called shards.
  • The larger the APIC cluster we have, the more scalability we gain, NOT high availability
  • A failure of two APICs will cause some shards to be in the minority state, and losing three APICs will cause some/all shards to be lost.
  • For more information about the scalability of Cisco APIC, check the Verified Scalability Guide for Cisco APIC.

I hope this article was useful; feel free to leave a comment or a question.

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