Cisco ACI Naming convention thoughts

As you might know, Cisco ACI is a object related product. Every object you will create has to be named with a unique name so it can be identified later. Because of the simple fact that you cannot rename objects (it’s not implemented yet) it’s highly recommended to think of a good naming convention before you start creating the first one.
If you really want to rename an earlier created object, you have to remove and recreate the object and link it again to all other linked object.
To give you a head start on the naming convention, you have to think about the following objects:

Fabric naming

  • SPINE / LEAF switch naming
  • APIC Naming
  • VLAN-pools
  • Domains
  • Attachable Access Entity Profile
  • Link Level Policy
  • Interface policy group
  • Interface Selector
  • Switch Selector
  • Switch Profile

Creating a naming convention is network specific, but try to take the following tips in consideration:

VLAN Pools
Make sure the words “Static” or “Dynamic” are mentioned in the pool name, depending on the type of pool
There are a couple of types of domains, physical, virtual, L2 and L3. Make sure the type is part of the name
Attachable Access Entity Profile
No comments on this one, a relation to the devicegroup is a minor recommendation.
Link Level Policy
In this policy, you’ll set CDP, LLDP and Speed/duplex settings. The name of the policy should be clear on the function itself
Interface Policy Group
An interface policy is a policy which specifies whether a particular feature will be enabled. Examples of features controlled by interface policies are LACP, CDP, LLDP and Storm Control. Interface policies, plus the AAEP are tied together using an interface policy group.
Interface selector
Make sure the fabric switch ID is in the naming convention (mostly something like 111, 112, 211, etc)
Switch selector
Same as interface selector, make sure there is a relation with the switch ID
Switch Profile
Same is switch selector and interface selector.

Tenant naming

  • External Routed Network
  • External Bridged Network
  • Logical Node Profile (component of External Routed Network)
  • Logical Interface Profiles (SVI’s)
  • Protocol Policies

These are even more network specific. The only common recommendation is to mention the tenant name in all these object.

My thought

It is really important to start an Cisco ACI implementation with a good and complete naming convention for every possible object. Don’t forget to think about Security Policies, Contract naming, Subject naming and Filter naming. Renaming of these objects would be very useful but not available yet. The only way to rename these objects is to delete, recreate and re-link the object. As you can understand, this is nearly impossible once the ACI fabric is up and running (because it will also give you downtime during the renaming proces).

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