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Network World - Cisco bet big on its UCS products for data centers – and now it's going "all in" with a massive, resilient and green data center built on that integrated blade architecture.
In fact, the company as a whole is migrating to the year-old Unified Computing System – Cisco's bold entree into the world of computing -- as fast as possible. Plans call for 90% of Cisco's total IT load to be serviced by UCS within 12 to 18 months.
The strategy - what Cisco calls "drinking its own champagne" instead of the industry's more commonly used "eating your own dog food" - is most evident in the new data center the company is just now completing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (exact location masked for security) to complement a data center already in the area.
Texas DC2, as Cisco calls it, is ambitious in its reliance on UCS, but it is also forward leaning in that it will use a highly virtualized and highly resilient design, act as a private cloud, and boast many green features. Oh, and it's very cool.
But first, a little background.
John Manville, vice president of the IT Network and Data Services team, says the need for the new data center stemmed from a review of Cisco's internal infrastructure three years ago. Wondering if they were properly positioned for growth, he put together a cross-functional team to analyze where they were and where they needed to go.
The result: a 200-page document that spelled out a wide-ranging, long-term IT strategy that Manville says lays the groundwork for five to 10 years.
"It was taken up to the investment committee of Cisco's board because there was a request for a fairly substantial amount of investment in data centers to make sure we had sufficient capacity, resiliency, and could transform ourselves to make sure we could help Cisco grow and make our customers successful," Manville says. (Manville talks data center strategy, the migration to UCS, cloud TCO and describes a new IT org structure in this Q&A.)
The board gave the green light and Manville's team of 450 (Cisco all told has 3,100 people in IT) is now two and a half years into bringing the vision to reality.
"Part of the strategy was to build data centers or partner with companies that have data centers, and we bundled the investment decisions into phases," Manville says.
The company had just recently retrofitted an office building in the Dallas area –- what Cisco calls "Texas DC1" -- to create a data center with 28,000 square feet of raised floor in four data halls. The first phase of new investments called for complementing Texas DC1 with a sister data center in the area that would be configured in an active/active mode – both centers shouldering the processing load for critical applications -- as well as enhancements to a data center in California and the company's primary backup facility in North Carolina.
The second investment round, which the company is in the middle of, "involves building a data center and getting a partner site in Amsterdam so we can have an Active/Active capability there as well," Manville says.