Cisco's new data center in Texas will be a showcase for the vendors data center technologies and offer a range of features designed to drive down power and cooling costs while increasing efficiency.
is opening a new data center
that is going to take on multiple
roles for the networking giant, from acting as a showcase for its wide-ranging
data center technologies to driving down costs through its multiple
which officially opened April 15 in Allen, Texas, will serve as a key step in
Cisco's cloud-computing and virtualization ambitions. I will also help the
company pare down the number of data centers it's currently running and will support
Cisco's internal operations.
It will be
paired with a Cisco data center in nearby Richardson, Texas, in an
active-active model to enable the two facilities to create a virtualized and
dynamic IT services cloud and to serve as backup sites for each other,
according to Cisco officials.
"We are using
all the relevant Cisco technologies" in the facility, John Manville, vice
president of IT at Cisco, said in an interview with eWEEK before the opening.
center players, like IBM and Hewlett-Packard, have been using their own
facilities to not only drive down costs and consolidate multiple data centers,
but also to showcase for customers
the capabilities of their
technologies. HP officials in 2006 announced plans to consolidate 85 global data centers
using their own technologies to create highly flexible, energy-efficient
, scalable and virtualized
facilities that can be used as a proof-point for customers. They also have said
that the project gave them greater credibility when talking to customers about
data center transformation.
the new facility in Texas would do the same for Cisco. Company officials
conducted a study three years ago taking a look at Cisco's data centers and
determined that the vendor needed to make its data centers more efficient and resilient,
and needed to change how IT operated.
effectively needed to become an internal service provider," Manville said.
Over the past
two years, the networking giant has aggressively expanded its role in the data
center, particularly with the introduction of the UCS (Unified Computing System)
, a converged data
center offering that puts (Cisco-branded) servers, networking, storage,
virtualization and management software into a single package. And as with the
UCS and other data center effort, partners like VMware, EMC and NetApp also
will have technologies running in the new data center.
will integrate UCS, Cisco's united computing, fabric and network services
offerings into a single package that will offer cloud computing capabilities,
creating a scalable and secure platform that can move applications within the
data center, between data centers or into the cloud, according to Cisco. Among
the Cisco technologies in the data center are the UCS, Nexu 5000 and 7000
switches, Nexus 1000V virtual switch, MDS storage networking switches, Data
Center Manager and NX-OS, the vendor's data center operating system that runs
on Cisco's data center offerings.
capabilities are enhanced via what Cisco calls a MVDC, or Metro Virtual Data
Center, pairing the new data center with the one in Richardson. Both data
centers will run applications simultaneously, increasing resiliency and
creating an IT services cloud.
Cisco would look to continue this pattern with other new data centers,
particularly as the company moves to consolidate its global data center
operations. He estimated that Cisco currently runs between 70 and 80 data
centers worldwide, with many of them coming to the company via acquisitions.
acquired many companies, and most have come with some sort of data center
facilities," Manville said.
is working on plans for another MVDC setup in Europe, and is considering a
third somewhere in Asia, he said. The goal is to use the three pairs of
production data centers as the foundation for Cisco's private cloud, called
Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services, which not only will serve employees,
but also customers and partners. IT services will range from video and mobility
to security and collaboration.
services operation also will help drive down power, cooling, space and operational
costs, according to Cisco. The company also was able to incorporate a range of
green IT features in the new data center that will help drive down power and
cooling costs while increasing the facility's energy efficiency, according to
technology side, the company's United Fabric reduces the number of switches,
adapters and cables that are needed by bringing together storage and data
traffic. For the uninterruptible power supply room, Cisco opted for rotary
flywheels instead of batteries, saving costs and reducing the flow of batteries
into the environment. The data center can use outside air as much as 65 percent
of the time to cool data center equipment-driving down power and cooling
costs-and has a lagoon that collects rainwater to be used for irrigation and
landscaping. Solar cells on the roof generate 100 kilowatts of power, which is
used to cool the offices in the data center.
can be significant, according to Cisco. With the United Fabric, Cisco is saving
$1 million in cabling, and less cabling means better airflow through the data
center, which reduces cooling costs, according to a Cisco spokesperson. Using
outside air is expected to save Cisco $600,000 a year in cooling costs.
The result is
a PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) rating of 1.35. The PUE metric was created by
the Green Grid group to measure data center energy efficiency, with the
ultimate goal of businesses to reach a PUE of 1.0.