Cisco sets data-center vision based on virtualisation

New software management system to virtualise datacentre resources

Cisco Systems launched its annual Networkers Conference in Anaheim, California, by announcing a software management system to virtualise datacentre resources by pooling network, storage and computer resources.

Called Cisco VFrame Data Centre, the software is designed to bring a datacentre's resources together to improve the ability of a business to rapidly deploy applications, a Cisco spokesperson said in a preview of the announcement.

Cisco's concept of virtualisation meant that physical resources such as servers, application and storage hardware could function as needed to improve efficiency, increase power savings and manage resources to meet new business or IT policies, Cisco said in an overview of its new Data Centre 3.0 vision.

The company announced other new software and hardware, promising details about the products in a forthcoming press conference with Cisco officials. Pricing and availability were not provided in the preview.

- An MDS 9222i Multiservice Modular Switch was announced for deploying SAN extensions and to provide connectivity to remote and branch offices over multiple protocols.

- Storage Media Encryption was announced to integrate with Cisco SANs to secure data on legacy tapes and disks.

- A testing project, called Cisco Data Centre Assurance Program, was announced to assist IT managers in designing, implementing and operating a datacentre network.

- Improvements were also announced to software for the Cisco Wide Area Application Service, which provides secure WAN acceleration and performance management.

Cisco's 18-to-24 month vision for datacentre products and services would work with a variety of vendors, including IBM, EMC and HP, to streamline datacentre operations, simplify operations and create a network that connected all of a data center's technology, the spokesperson said.

An analyst at Yankee Group, Zeus Kerravala, said the VFrame concept was important for both Cisco and its customers. It would help customers in large businesses manage many thousands of servers, switches and storage devices, which could be a challenge to find as virtualisation grew.

"Managing virtual resources is very difficult," Kerravala said. "Without management, you can have competing services all vying for the same resources causing datacentre chaos."

The VFrame concept helped Cisco by making Cisco more IT relevant, rather than just network relevant, he said.

VFrame would be sold initially as appliance hardware for $US60,000, shipping in August, Kerravala said.

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