NX-OS Features Enterprise-Level High Availability

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-03-31 Print this article Print


Sultan said Cisco's NX-OS data center operating system not only runs the unified data center fabric and all its virtual machines, but it also features enterprise-level high availability. Cisco NX-OS has added support for multihop Fibre Channel over Ethernet, which enables multiple points of management to increase the scalability of unified fabric data centers. 

Developing, tuning and deploying home-developed operating systems for new-generation data centers and mobile device networks may be a minitrend of sorts.  

Hewlett-Packard, a fierce Cisco data center systems competitor, has said in no uncertain terms that it will be using its webOS operating system in all its upcoming PCs, servers, printers and mobile devices. A data center webOS is the next logical step. 

VMware has had a de facto data center OS with its ESX hypervisor for a few years, and its parent company, EMC, is folding that in to run its newest storageware. Thus, EMC also has its own in-house data center OS.

Can It Run Nonrelated Systems? 

But can this new systems management software run everything it needs to run? Data centers are famous for being nonhomogeneous. 

"First and foremost, this is all open and standards-based, allowing customers the freedom to deploy the technology they want to use," Sultan told eWEEK. "We certainly have a big footprint in the data center, but we don't do everything. We think it's important that customers use the vendors [meaning storage, mostly, which is one thing Cisco does not do] that they already have established relationships with." 

This statement stands in direct opposition to what others in the data center market believe: that Cisco's UCS is really a closed-loop system that is run like a dictator by the company's network-centric servers.

Since the launch of the UCS back in March 2009, Cisco's competitors, naturally, have had some interesting reactions to it. 

"Would you let a plumber build your house?" Jim Ganthier, HP's vice president of Infrastructure Software and Blades, asked eWEEK at the time. "Cisco's network-centric view of the data center is great for bandwidth management, but leaves a lot to chance in terms of service-level delivery as well as data reliability and accessibility. 

"The architecture does not unify management, but uses proprietary network-based management structure as the point of control. This is not 'unification'; this is a change of control," Ganthier said.

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 Salesforce.com 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 DevX.com 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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