Cisco extends Microsoft support in data center portfolio

Integration of Windows Server 2012 hypervisor and management in UCS servers

Cisco last week extended its data center product line to support Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 hypervisor and VM management features to more tightly align their respective data center and cloud architectures for joint customers.

The integrated products are intended to help enable simplified deployment and operations of data centers utilizing products adherent to Cisco's Unified Data Center and Microsoft's Fast Track 3.0 architectures. By giving Microsoft customers programmatic access to the Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco is looking to give customers more insight and control over how Cisco Unified Data Center elements work with Windows Server and application software.

[ GETTING CLOSER: Windows Server 2012 embraces the data center ]

Cisco is now supporting Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Extensible Switch and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 in its Nexus 1000V virtual switch. This is intended to allow customers to virtualize certain aspects of their data center networks alongside physical networking and cloud computing infrastructure, Cisco says. It also brings VM awareness to the physical network through integration with the Cisco UCS VM-FEX capability on its virtual interface card.

With UCS VM-FEX administrators can treat the physical and virtual elements of their networks as a single infrastructure for provisioning, configuration, management, monitoring and troubleshooting.

Through the UCS Manager's XML-based Open API, users of Microsoft's Systems center 2012 SP1 application can access Cisco's PowerTool of Microsoft's PowerShell utility to provision, configure, orchestrate and monitor physical and virtual infrastructures, and Windows Server and application software running on UCS servers.

The Cisco UCS Management Pack for System Center 2012 SP1 Operations Manager allows customers to monitor and manage their Cisco Unified Data Center with a single interface, Cisco says. And the Cisco UCS Integration Pack for System Center 2012 SP1 Orchestrator also improves Cisco UCS management from a Microsoft perspective, the company says.

Lastly, the Cisco UCS UI Extension Add-in for System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager allows access to Cisco UCS management controls from within System Center Virtual Machine Manager.

The companies offered a similar integration arrangement with Windows Server 8 less than two years ago.

Cisco says it is also offering customers a choice of integrated reference architectures combining Microsoft Fast Track and Cisco products with EMC storage under the VSPEX program, or NetApp through the FlexPod initiative. Both have been validated for the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 program, Cisco says.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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