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Cisco's data center technology enables server consolidation, providing customers with tremendous cost savings not only on equipment and management but also on power consumption, said Peter Castaldi, principal at Kovarus Technical Solutions, a Cisco partner in San Francisco that also teams with data center players such as VMware, EMC, Network Appliance and Symantec.
"We're working to help customers self-fund these projects with [power company] rebates and hardware cost savings. They're also saving on the software licenses they would need for each server, the tape costs and the overall management," Castaldi said.
Many customers are also able to redeploy the servers they no longer need in the data center. In many cases, customers are using those servers to build the disaster recovery solutions they've always wanted but haven't been able to fund, Castaldi said.
In addition to VFrame, Cisco is enhancing several existing products. Among them is the latest release of its Wide Area Application Services software, which adds new security features, while new software for its Application Control Engine (ACE) adds an XML gateway. Cisco also is beefing up its MDS storage switch family with new modules and new branch-office and midrange models.
Cisco plans to fill out its Data Center 3.0 strategy with additional products over the next 24 months.
On the channel front, Cisco is building out a data center specialization strategy that focuses on network infrastructure, storage networking and application networking. The new specializations do not count toward a partners' certification status but do provide training and technology badges for partners that are building data center practices, said John Growdon, director of data center solutions for worldwide channels at Cisco, adding that additional elements of Cisco's data center channel strategy will be added over time.
"We want to focus on the technologies that have a large enough revenue streams to build a practice around, and a profitable practice at that," Growdon said. The new Advanced Data Center Networking Infrastructure Specialization focuses on Cisco's Catalyst switches and its security portfolio. It includes some components of Cisco's existing Advanced Routing and Switching specialization but adds content on large-scale data center architectures.
The Advanced Data Center Storage Networking Specialization is a revised version of Cisco's existing Storage Networking Specialization. In its new form, the specialization adds training for the vendor's latest SAN technology.
Still under development, the forthcoming Data Center Application Networking Specialization will focus on Cisco's ACE technology for load balancing and content switching.
"If partners are going to effectively go out and take advantage of the changes and the growth we're seeing in data centers, they have to have sales people that can sell across the breadth of tracks," Growdon said. "We're looking for partners to bridge all three specializations."
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