Cisco Unveils Its Data Center 3.0 Vision

When Cisco Systems Inc. unveils a new plan to transform enterprise data centers, it doesn't just pay lip service to transformation. The networking giant this week announced a bevy of new data center products and solutions designed to help customers get more out of their existing data center resources, develop more robust business continuity practices, implement affordable storage area networks (SAN) and - finally - enhance data security.

Cisco's data center revitalization push even has a fancy new name: Data Center 3.0, which the networking giant says describes a vision in which infrastructure services are dynamically allocated (and orchestrated) from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources.

"Cisco's success is built on listening to our customers and partners and on understanding market transitions," said Cisco CEO John Chambers, in a statement. "Because the network is uniquely positioned to be the platform for the data center, we are investing in innovations to help our customers transform their data centers for improved efficiency and increased business productivity."

Cisco unveiled a number of new Data Center 3.0 deliverables, including VFrame Data Center (VFrame DC), an orchestration platform that can use network intelligence to provision resources as virtualized services. The idea, Cisco says, is that customers can use VFrame DC to link their compute, networking and storage infrastructures together as virtualized services.

Elsewhere, Cisco announced a new Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) software release that boasts highly secure wide area network (WAN) acceleration and application performance management capabilities. The revamped WAAS provides tight integration with NetQoS application monitoring products, officials said. Cisco also unveiled an enhanced version of its Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) XML Gateway software. The revamped Cisco ACE XML boasts improved support for secure Web services, along with enhanced management, visibility, and performance for XML applications and Web 2.0 services.

Other deliverables include the Cisco MDS 18/4 Multiservice Module, which provides eighteen 4-Gbps Fibre Channel ports and four Gigabit Ethernet IP storage services ports. It supports virtual SANs (VSANs), inter-VSAN routing (IVR), remote SAN extension with high-performance Fibre Channel over IP, integrated Cisco Multilayer Datacenter Switch (MDS) Storage Media Encryption (SME) as a distributed fabric service, advanced Fiber Connectivity (FICON) services, cost-effective Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI) connectivity to Ethernet-attached servers, and other capabilities designed to optimize WAN resources for backup and replication.

There's also the Cisco MDS 9134 Multilayer Fabric Switch, which Cisco says is designed for midrange to large enterprise customers. It provides line-rate 4-Gbps and 10-Gbps ports in a compact one-rack-unit (1RU) chassis, is expandable from 24 to 32 ports (and includes two optional 10 GigE ports), and supports VSANs, PortChannels, quality of service (QoS), FICON protocol integration, and security for cost-effective departmental and enterprise SANs.

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