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Cisco's Data Center 3.0 stresses virtualization, automation

Cisco outlines vision for the new data center.

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July 24, 2007 07:08 PM ET - ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Cisco this week unveiled its next-generation data center strategy along with a range of products to support that vision.

Called Data Center 3.0, the plan is intended to enable customers to better utilize their data center resources, build less expensive storage-area networks and enhance data security. Among other features, it involves melding disparate data center networking technologies – Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand – into a single fabric for connecting and virtualization network elements.

Cisco launched Data Center 3.0 at its Networkers user conference here. It comes on the heels of HP’s $1.6 billion acquisition of data center automation vendor Opsware. HP says Opsware will enable it to offer its customers a "comprehensive and fully integrated solution for IT automation."

Whereas Cisco’s Data Center 1.0 and 2.0 strategies focused on data center consolidation, 3.0 targets virtualization and automation, says Jayshree Ullal, Cisco senior vice president of the Datacenter, Switching and Security Technology Group.

“This is an important day for Cisco,” Ullal says of the Data Center 3.0 launch.

The fabric is intended to provide real-time, dynamic orchestration of infrastructure services from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources, Cisco says. Data Center 3.0 is also aimed at optimizing application performance, service levels, efficiency and collaboration, Cisco says.

Cisco plans to flesh out its Data Center 3.0 vision over the next two years. But the company rolled out a raft of new products this week to help kick it off.

Among them are:

VFrame Data Center: A hardware and software platform for provisioning resources together as virtual services. VFrame DC is the embodiment of the Data Center 3.0 single orchestration fabric for linking compute, networking and storage infrastructures. VFrame DC includes a policy engine for automating resource changes in response to infrastructure outages and performance changes, which can be controlled by external monitoring systems through an “open” Web services application programming interface (API). (Read more about the VFrame offering.)

"Trusted WAN Optimization" Software: Part of Cisco’s Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) software, this release is designed to offer secure WAN acceleration and application performance management. The software encrypts data stored on Cisco WAAS devices and enables IT departments to deploy WAN optimization across their organizations while preserving branch security, Cisco says.

Enhanced Cisco ACE XML Gateway Software: This release is designed to provide customers with better management, visibility, and performance of their XML applications and Web 2.0 services secured by Cisco’s ACE XML Gateway.

18/4 Multiservice Module: This provides 18 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports and four Gigabit Ethernet IP storage services ports for Cisco’s MDS 9500 and 9200 SAN switches. It can be used to offer virtual SANs (VSANs), inter-VSAN routing, Fibre Channel over IP remote SAN extension, iSCSI connectivity to Ethernet-attached servers, and other applications designed to optimize WAN resources for backup and replication.

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