Cisco, NetApp, VMware Map Out Unified Data Center Architecture

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-02-09 Print this article Print

Cisco and VMware have now teamed up with EMC's sworn enemy, NetApp, to provide similar functionality: new and improved hardware and software for next-generation, unified-protocol data centers that make full use of cloud computing as needed.

Back on Nov. 3, 2009, Cisco Systems, VMware and EMC came to the media with an announcement that they would collaborate on a new joint venture, the Virtual Computing Environment, to produce cloud computing systems called vBlocks that integrate hardware and software from all three companies.

Three months later, two of those players-Cisco and VMware-have now teamed up with EMC's sworn enemy, NetApp, to provide similar functionality: new and improved hardware and software for next-generation, unified-protocol data centers that make full use of cloud computing as needed.

Off the top, it looks like the networking kingpin Cisco-the ringleader behind these new partnerships-and virtualization market leader VMware simply swapped out the storage vendor, just in case potential customers prefer NetApp, or perhaps don't like EMC.

Or maybe it's just Cisco, which gets along with most non-networking companies in a nice way, like Switzerland gets along with all countries.

In all fairness, both EMC and NetApp were the exclusive storage partners for Cisco when it first introduced its Unified Computing System concept back on March 16, 2009.

So they've both been there from the beginning, and both certainly have their loyal clienteles and strengths in different market segments.

You can't have too many partner-friends in the data center business. You never know which vendor a customer or potential customer may want to add to the IT stack.

Look at it any way you want, but another big storage bundle is in the offing for enterprises looking to upgrade their data centers in 2010. According to virtually all the research houses, this coming year will be better for buying new IT products than was 2009, when many IT managers simply bit their lips and rode out aging equipment for as long as they could to save money.

Into this encouraging business scenario, Cisco, NetApp and VMware recently announced their new collaborative blueprint for building what they are calling "Secure Multi-Tenant IT Infrastructures." This is a long, tongue-twisting phrase meaning, for all intents and purposes, "cloud computing."

The new reference architecture, officially documented as a Cisco Systems Validated Design, "lays out the recipe for linking the capabilities of the three companies together to create a shared server/network/storage infrastructure that can securely host multiple workloads or 'tenants' with confidence that none will interfere with the other," NetApp exec Jay Kidd told eWEEK and later wrote in his blog.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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