Cisco fleshes out data center vision

ORLANDO – Cisco this week added details to its Data Center 3.0 plan by enhancing products to participate in the virtualized environment.

The announcements were made at the CiscoLive! customer conference here. Last year at this event, Cisco unveiled Data Center 3.0, a strategy to virtualize data centers for greater operational and energy efficiency by orchestrating application delivery networks, servers, computing and storage.

The products enhancements include:

* Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) software release 4.1, which features virtualized application hosting services, improved application acceleration and video delivery for the branch office.

* Application Control Engine (ACE) software release 3.1 for the ACE 4710 application switch, which offers as much as 4Gbps of throughput and as much as 2Gbps of compression capability, and multimedia support. (Compare application acceleration and WAN optimization tools.)

* VFrame Data Center software release 1.2, for end-to-end infrastructure provisioning with ACE and VMware ESX.

* Data Center 3.0 professional services to support customers with data center deployments.

WAAS is designed to optimize application availability, performance and security over the WAN while ACE does so within the data center.

WAAS 4.1 supports network-embedded virtualization, enabling customers to deploy services such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 locally at the branch office on a Cisco WAAS appliance, reducing server hardware requirements, Cisco says. In addition, version 4.1 is designed to simplify customer deployments and provide application-specific acceleration features for Microsoft Exchange, Web applications, live and on-demand video, centralized printing and Unix/Linux file sharing.

ACE software release 3.1 doubles the device’s performance. Cisco says it also enhanced ACE to support virtualized load balancing and security services across unified communications, collaborative technologies and video applications through improved support for Session Initiation Protocol and Real-Time Streaming Protocol.

VFrame is a network-driven service orchestration provisioning platform. VFrame 1.2 offers integration with Cisco ACE and VMware ESX, including the ability to virtualize servers to ACE virtual devices, or to select a server out of a utility pool and configure it end-to-end with ESX.

Cisco WAAS 4.1 is scheduled to be available for download in the third quarter. WAAS Live Video Streaming and WAAS Virtualization are separately licensed features with pricing starting at $2,500 per device. Other WAAS 4.1 features included in the WAAS Enterprise License are available at no charge to Cisco WAAS Enterprise License customers with Cisco SmartNet Software and Support with Upgrades Contracts.

Cisco ACE software release 3.1 for the ACE Appliance is also scheduled to be available in the third quarter and is offered at no charge for Cisco SmartNet customers; the additional Cisco ACE Appliance 2G to 4Gbps upgrade throughput license is priced at $15,000. The Cisco ACE Appliance compression license is priced at $20,000 for a 2Gbps compression license; $10,000 for a 500 M to 2Gbps compression upgrade license; and $5,000 for a 1 G to 2 Gbps compression upgrade license.

Cisco VFrame Version 1.2 is scheduled to be available on both primary and secondary appliances with a base starter kit of $59,995 list; VFrame 1.2 will be available in the third quarter.

The new professional services offerings are available now.

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