Cisco Systems Inc. on Wednesday moved to elevate its role in the data center with the launch of its Business Ready Data Center initiative.
The project pulls together partnerships, tested architectural design and deployment guides, Cisco networking products and advanced services as well as customer references to help enterprise customers build a shared network infrastructure for next-generation data centers.
It is intended to send Cisco into the on-demand computing fray and to help customers move away from costly, isolated silos of technology supporting a single application.
"Now, in the 21st century, were embarking on the network phase of the data center, with intelligence spread across the fabric of the network," said Christine Falsetti, director of enterprise solutions at Cisco in San Jose, Calif. "Customers need to put together networks that allow virtualization of storage and compute resources and allow for automation of the data center."
Falsetti said the initiative aims to fuel three trends Cisco sees in enterprise data centers: the pushes to optimize and protect resources, to reduce costs while improving resiliency and to create an "agile infrastructure to better support changes in the business environment."
The tested architectural design and implementation guides specify IP networks that support shared storage and identify data center interconnects capable of supporting business continuance activities between multiple, consolidated data centers.
"When you have a customer consolidating hundreds of data centers down to a few, they are always in pairs with connectivity between two data centers," said Jonathan Gilad, Ciscos manager of data center networking enterprise solutions. "As you consolidate, you can still provide performance, security and availability needs in business-critical data centers."
The foundation for the architectural design guide calls for virtualized network services such as security and application optimization; network-hosted application and storage services; standardized management interfaces based on the Common Information Model, XML and Web services; enhanced integration with blade servers and storage appliances as well as self-defending networks.
As part of the initiative, Cisco also created Cisco Advanced Services for the data center to provide customers with help in planning, design, implementation, operation and optimization of networks in specific environments.
Cisco also created initial partnerships with five partners, including IBM, Electronic Data Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. The IBM and HP partnerships will serve to provide a complete value chain of computing and services offerings coupled with Cisco networking, officials said. Cisco partnered with EDS for delivery and support services, and it teamed up with Microsoft and Intel for specific technology engagements.
Citing a forthcoming study from International Data Corp., Cisco said the worldwide data center networking market is expected to reach $7 billion by 2007.