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Cisco fleshes out Data Centre 3.0 strategy

Network equipment supplier has revealed the next two years' upcoming products, plus its strategy to revitalize the data center.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Cisco launched a new appliance on Tuesday to help in provisioning systems. The equipment supplier also made a stack of software announcements as it put some meat on the bones of its data-centre strategy, which it is now calling Data Center 3.0.

The new appliance is the VFrame Data Center (VFrame DC). According to Cisco, the appliance is "an orchestration platform that leverages network intelligence to provision resources together as virtualized services".

The approach will cut the time taken to deploy systems, according to Cisco, as well as improve overall resource utilization. Cisco is hoping to attract other companies which want to use the VFrame DC platform by including an open API that can integrate with third-party management applications and other vendors' server and storage virtualization products. The aim is to help companies link their computer infrastructure and networks together.

Chairman and chief executive John Chambers said: "The network is uniquely positioned within the data centre [to do this]. We are investing in innovations we believe will help our customers to transform their data centers to achieve improved efficiency and increased business productivity."

Cisco is claiming that the VFrame DC has all that is needed to put together a unified network strategy. New features include a policy engine for automating changes in resources, including reprovisioning, as well as changes in response to infrastructure outages and performance changes. The changes can also be controlled by external monitoring of systems via integration with the VFrame DC web services API.

The key difference in the new software, according to Cisco, is that it offers managers a comprehensive view of the components within a network's architecture so that, instead of getting an isolated view in which individual components exist in a silo, managers can see the network at once and change components relatively easily.

Cisco's trusted WAN optimization software, also introduced on Tuesday, is being billed by the company as the "first trusted WAN optimization solution", which includes WAN acceleration and application performance management. It also offers encryption of data stored on Cisco WAAS devices, to help IT teams deploy WAN optimization across their organizations securely, the company says.

Cisco is working with monitoring firm NetQoS to provide customers with detailed analysis of the performance of their WANs.

Also introduced was the Application Control Engine (ACE) XML gateway software which delivers web services, and the MDS 18/4 Multiservice Module which provides 18 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports and 4Gbps Ethernet IP storage services ports.

The MDS offers virtual SANs (VSANs), inter-VSAN routing (IVR), remote SAN extension with high-performance Fibre Channel over IP, integrated MDS Storage Media Encryption (SME) as a distributed fabric service, advanced fiber connectivity (Ficon) services, and cost-effective Internet iSCSI links to Ethernet-attached servers, as well as capabilities for optimizing WAN resources for backup and replication, Cisco said.

In a wide-ranging announcement, Cisco also introduced a number of other switches, as well as more software. The VFrame is scheduled for launch later this year and, according to Chambers, the company will roll out the remaining products over the course of the next two years.

No pricing was made available.

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