Inside Cisco’s Sydney data and technical support centre

Networking giant Cisco Systems has a secret gem hidden within its global operations – a $120 million technical assistance centre (TAC) in the northern Sydney suburb of Chatswood. One of only four such centres in the world, the Sydney TAC handles Cisco’s customer support load for six hours of each day. Support calls are answered by the multi-lingual team and can be escalated to the company’s tier-1 engineering operations if required. Cisco has invested some $270 million on TAC labs in the Asia-Pacific (including Japan) region. Globally, the Sydney TAC joins North Carolina and San Jose in the US and Brussels in Europe for 'follow the sun' support. The Sydney location also has a data centre which is used for development, problem solving and interoperability testing. The data centre is the first in Australia to demonstrate Cisco’s entrance into the server space – the Unified Computing System. Computerworld went on a tour of the TAC and data centre and spoke with Cisco engineers about the role of the centre and the new technology it houses.

  • Cisco's $120 million technical assistance centre (TAC) in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. One of only four such centres in the world.

  • Cisco's technical services director Carl Marning runs the engineering component of the support service. The "flag room" is where people take support calls from around the world.

  • Inside the data centre. Shelves and shelves of space Cisco cards and other components.

  • Cisco's Dylan Morrison proudly shows off the new Unified Computing System (UCS) announced earlier this year.

  • Up close with the new UCS. It fits into a 6U space. This one is half-full with blades.

  • The UCS rear end. Less power is required by using SFP+ 10Gpbs cabling.

  • The giant patch panel links up the data centre's network.

  • Cisco enterprise and carrier routing equipment.

  • A few Sun servers being used for software and interoperability testing.

  • A movable rack can be used for testing.

  • Cables, cables and more cables. The data centre has many types of connection equipment.

  • More servers and networking infrastructure.

  • Digital media encoders.

  • Spaghetti anyone? Being a networking vendor's data centre you won't be short of cabling.

  • Where would we be without cables?

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