As part of its unified data center strategy, Cisco has released a number of new products, including what it calls the highest density 40 Gigabit Layer 2/3 fixed switch, simplest hybrid cloud management, and a new Open Network Environment (ONE) software controller. These announcements are around scale, extension and opening the fabric up, said Omar Sultan, Data Center Senior Marketing Manager.
Of the five vendors in the Strong Performer arena of a new data center networking study from Forrester Research, Cisco and HP dominated two or more of the S’s while laying out a vision that hits on the five areas of a virtual network infrastructure. The other six vendors in the study were Alcatel-Lucent, Arista Networks, Avaya, Brocade Communications Systems, Extreme Networks, and Juniper Networks.
Not only does Cisco offer the largest breadth of hardware products and features, but its offerings also allow I&O professionals to start thinking about enabling hybrid clouds, wrote the report’s author, Andre Kindness.
‘As one of the first to recognize the data center revolution, Cisco now has the largest breadth of data center networking products and capabilities. Cisco’s Nexus series of switches, Data Center Network Manager, and Virtual Network Management Center offer a holistic approach to data center networks: They tie physical and virtual worlds together; create logical units of data centers; converge Fibre Channel onto the Ethernet; and weave XaaS into the enterprise resource pool. Its wide array of options allows companies to scale linearly and offer the lowest cost solution for each size data center. Cisco solutions also require the fewest number of components needed to support small, medium, and large data center environments. The server-to-networking hardware ratio was the highest. However, Cisco solutions require the most discrete management systems, which in turn increase operational complexity.’
Kindness recommended that customers looking to have the networking team manage a virtual world in a Vmware-centric environment, a diverse set of data center hardware needs, and looking to create a seamless infrastructure across multiple data centers should place Cisco on the shortlist.
The growing complexity and interdependency of storage, network, server and software in virtualized environments is driving interest in ‘integrated infrastructure’ solutions, which include unified computing, converged and appliance-oriented infrastructure, according to the report on servers and virtualization, according to a new report from TheInfoPro, part of The 451 Group. General-purpose offerings – especially those that are composed of multi-vendor components – are gaining favor, with offerings from Cisco and its array of partners being the most widely mentioned by respondents.
In January Gartner named VCE, the Cisco-led data center consortium, the market share leader for integrated infrastructure systems with a 57.4% revenue share in the second quarter of 2012. The group’s Vblock systems bring together technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware into a single, integrated and pre-configured converged infrastructure system.
A study from IDC found that while the number of US data centers is declining, they are being required to do more. “CIOs are increasingly being asked to improve business agility while reducing the cost of doing business through aggressive use of technologies in the datacenter,” said Rick Villars, VP Datacenter and Cloud Research. “At the same time, they have to ensure the integrity of the business and its information assets in the face of natural disasters, datacenter disruptions, or local system failures. To achieve both sets of objectives, IT decision makers had to rethink their approach to the datacenter.”
Cisco said the Nexus 6000 is the world’s first 96-port, line rate 40-Gigabit fixed form factor (4 RU rack unit) switch with Ethernet and Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and 1-microsecond latency across all ports. The company also added services modules to its Nexus 7000 Series with the first services blade, the Network Analysis Module (NAM), with application awareness and performance analytics. Also new are the Nexus 5500 40GE module for customers looking to deploy 40GE uplinks in their existing Nexus 5500 to reduce over-subscription, along with the Nexus 2248PQ switch, which provides a 10GE top-of-rack switch with 40GE uplinks.
The hypervisor-agnostic Nexus 1000V InterCloud is intended to orchestrate hybrid cloud environments by extending enterprise environments into the provider cloud. Cisco said it preserves existing networking capabilities, L4-7 services while bringing manageability of the enterprise into the provider cloud. New capabilities with the Virtual Network Management Center (VNMC) InterCloud include a single policy point for network services across both enterprise and provider domains; the ability to manage virtual machine lifecycle across multiple hypervisors in an enterprise cloud; and the ability to manage multiple provider clouds via APIs.
Cisco’s Software-Defined Network alternative, ONE, – “we think of it as SDN-Plus”, said Sultan – has gotten a new software controller to support multi-protocol interfaces with One Platform Kit (onePK) and Openflow; consistent management, troubleshooting and security features; and built-in applications that include network slicing functionality for enabling logical partitioning of network resources. In addition, the controller will interact with Cisco networking applications such as Custom Forwarding and Network Tapping.