The data center of the future must deliver bandwidth-intensive applications at Internet speed. That's the view of Cisco Systems (CSCO), which today announced updates to several key products to accelerate applications in Data Center 3.0, Cisco's vision for a virtualized data center tied together by a unified network fabric.
Today's announcements at Cisco Live in Orlando, Fla. also featured new tools and training to help networking professionals master the complexity of virtualized data centers.
The event comes nearly a year after Cisco launched its Data Center 3.0 initiative, featuring new Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5000 series switches. While today's announcements include a number of key product updates, Cisco is providing a roadmap for people as well as technology.
"We recognize there's a huge amount of innovation and new technology being introduced by Cisco and other companies, said George Kurian, Vice President and General Manager for Cisco's Application Delivery Business Unit. "We're trying to help our customers digest this in bite-size chunks. The virtual data center requires a significant enhancement of skills, and will also provide our partners with career advancement opportunities."
Today's announcements from Cisco Live include:
- A software update for Cisco's Application Control Engine (ACE) appliance, which uses switching, traffic management and load balancing to accelerate the delivery of virtualized applications. Cisco has used software compression to enhance the throughput of the ACE 4710 appliance from 2 Gbps to 4Gbps.
- An update of VFrame Data Center, Cisco's device for orchestration of virtualized IT assets, to allow it to leverage the enhanced capabilities of the ACE 4710 appliance.
- An update of Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS), a fast-growing technology to accelerate applications over a Wide Area Network. The latest updates focus on improving delivery of apps to remote branch offices, and better support of video and rich media. Cisco said it is working with a growing list of vendors to ensure speedy delivery of popular business apps.
- A Data Center Assurance Program to provide customers with access to Cisco-designed blueprints for implementing new apps and configurations.
- New training and certification to help networking professionals and Cisco channel partners understand and master the new technologies from Cisco and its partners.
- Web-based tools to provide energy efficiency information on Cisco products and technologies.
The first year of Cisco's data center push has seen the company outline its vision for a unified fabric running atop Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), an emerging protocol that can connect LAN-based servers with Fibre Channel storage networks, creating a flexible high-speed data center infrastructure.
"The unified fabric is in its early stages, but we think it's a dramatically important technology in the data center," said Kurian. "We've got a long-term view of how the data center gets built. Virtual data centers present a transformational new paradigm for the management of infrastructure, and the network plays a critical architectural role. We think it's a multi-year journey, and Cisco has a pragmatic adoption path."
"Pragmatic" means helping data center operators use the network protocols, cabling and equipment that are already in place in data centers - which in most cases means Ethernet and Cisco gear.