Cisco's Chambers Predicts Big Future For Virtualization

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Cisco Systems Tuesday rolled out a far-reaching data center virtualization strategy that includes new products and several new specializations for channel partners.

Cisco's new "Data Center 3.0" strategy, unveiled at its Networkers at Cisco Live 2007 end-user conference in Anaheim, Calif., aims to boost the efficiency of data centers by upping server utilization rates, effectively enabling customers to get more out the equipment they've already got.

The strategy calls for real-time management of virtualized server, storage and network resources, all tied in with security and application delivery.

"The role of virtualization, when you talk about where the industry is going, is huge: [it's] the ability first to be able to communicate to any server, any application, any content in your data center, and then to take that concept and drive it all the way through your home," said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco, San Jose, Calif., during a keynote address at the event. He noted at the beginning of the address that his comments should not be seen as an indicator of Cisco's financial performance during its current quarter, which ends later this week on July 28.

Cisco's approach looks at and manages the data center as a whole rather than as individual technologies, said Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of the data center, switching and technology group at Cisco. In Cisco's view, the network is the ideal platform for the data center because it is pervasive, vendor- and device-agnostic and highly scalable, she said.

The vendor's strategy is built to take advantage of three foundational technologies: Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand, she said.

The new products include Cisco VFrame Data Center, a box that connects to the corporate Ethernet network and SAN. It provisions virtualized resources, dramatically reducing the time it takes to bring new equipment or capacity online, said Doug Gourlay, senior director of data center solutions at Cisco.

"If you need to add a Web server, today enterprises tell us that it takes best case 30 days, normal case 60 to 90 days to add," Gourlay said. With VFrame, the job can be cut down to a few minutes, he said. "When a reseller can bring a capability to a customer that the customer doesn't even know exists, that's a value-add."

VFrame is scheduled to ship in August.

NEXT: Big data center opportunities for partners

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