Cisco (CSCO) today unveiled its data center strategy, announcing a collection of products to manage networks and data center assets. With its "Data Center 3.0" initiative, Cisco will focus on a holistic approach to managing increasingly virtualized data centers.
"Cisco's success is built on ... understanding market transitions," said John Chambers, Cisco's chairman and CEO. "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 anticipates that the data center market will be transformed by virtualization, and will roll out a series of products and solutions over the next 24 months to address that trend. That includes VFrame Data Center, an "orchestration solution" to link computing, networking and storage infrastructures together as a set of virtualized services.
While Cisco is the dominant player in networking, its foray into the data center comes at a time of growing competition to provide software and services to address the changing enterprise data center. "Cisco's journey into the data center wasn't overnight," said Jayshree Ullal, Senior Vice President of Cisco's Data Center, Switching and Security Technology Group. "We've been in it for the last decade."
Doug Gourlay, Cisco's Senior Director for Data Center Solutions, said the difference is that until now Cisco has focused on specific opportunities in and around the data center. "Our goal was to get footprint," in each of those areas, Gourlay said. "Today we're talking about how we bring all those systems together."
Not surprisingly, Cisco is advocating the network as the central focus of the data center management effort. Its announcement featured a lengthy list of planned solutions to address various aspects of the data center opportunity. Cisco said its products and services will work with a variety of vendors, including IBM, EMC Corp., VMware and Hewlett-Packard.