Brownfield data centers: Cisco sees the opportunity

Cisco's opportunity in data center transformation is greater in legacy "brownfield" data centers than it is in new greenfield installations, says Senior Vice President Rob Lloyd.

That's because the network architecture Cisco is proposing for transforming data centers via virtualization and a unified switching fabric is "optimized" for solving the challenges presented by heterogeneous, legacy data centers, Lloyd says. Lloyd's view differs slightly from that of Cisco CEO John Chambers, who said Cisco's not yet sure if its data center transformation opportunity is greater in brownfields or greenfields.

Lloyd says over 70% of installed data center servers are still 1 RU rackables as opposed to blades -- which can be addressed by Cisco's Catalyst 6500 switch with the Virtual Switching System 1440, which scales the Catalyst 6500 to 1.44Tbps. As for Cisco's new Nexus 7000, that's designed for backbone and core data center network redesigns. The Nexus 7000 is in "hundreds" of customer evaluations and trials, Lloyd said.The Nexus 5000, meanwhile, is shipping into production networks, he said. It's also in 250 customer trials.

The VFrame Data Center coordination and orchestration appliance, which is designed to pool and provision server, storage, network and application resources, is in 25 customer trials, Lloyd said. Cisco plans to implement policy and improve security in a virtualized data center environment, according to Lloyd. Cisco plans to policy-enable its VFrame appliance to provision data center services and resources via user and department profiles, and other metrics; and secure the environment on a per virtual machine basis rather than per port, Lloyd says.

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