Coles checks in collaboration software

IT helps physical store development

Retail giant Coles Group has entered the collaboration foray by procuring software to allow interactive application sessions and conference calls.

Coles has purchased and is deploying Cisco's MeetingPlace Web-based collaboration suite to streamline the process of setting up new retail stores.

Cisco Australia and New Zealand managing director Les Williamson said the new software allows Coles to hold collaborative sessions and conference calls for up to three or four days at a time when it is setting up a new store.

"MeetingPlace has audio conferencing capability, is integrated with Outlook, runs over the internal network, and can maintain calls over a long time," Williamson said at Cisco's annual Networkers event this week.

Coles was unwilling to comment about the new software.

In other Networkers news, Cisco is continuing its aggressive push into the data centre management space by touting a "data centre 3.0" revolution.

Cisco's data centre group senior vice president, Jayshree Ullal, said although the comapny began with routing and switching, it is moving to "end-to-end orchestration" of the data centre so IT can be a strategic tool for the 21st century.

"Data centre 1.0 was the era of mainframes and highly centralized environments, data centre 2.0 went to client/server computing, and 3.0 is the best of 1.0 and 2.0 with central control and many virtualized end points," Ullal said.

Data centre 3.0 is "building intelligence into the network fabric" and one key principle is how to build a network attached data centre.

"The network consolidation effect brings peripherals, disk and processing power to be integrated into the network," Ullal said, adding organizations need a highly-scalable network that can deal with the heterogeneity of the applications.

Ullal also spruiked Cisco VFrame provisioning software which she claimed can be used to increase server utilization from below 30 percent to above 60 percent.

"VFrame is typically deployed as an appliance, and support for Vmware is coming later this year," she said.

"Data centre 3.0 is an evolution that can be applied to an existing data centre and we are spending 1 billion a year in my group alone to make this possible."

Cisco claims to have saved $200 million as a result of its data centre 3.0 initiative.

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