Cisco Data Center Initiative to Seize VMworld Spotlight

Cisco will tout its collaboration with VMware on provisioning integration.

Cisco Systems on Sept. 12 will try to create momentum behind its recently outlined Data Center 3.0 initiative at VMworld when the company announces the integration of its new VFrame Data Center provisioning appliance with VMwares Virtual Infrastructure 3.

The integration, which Cisco CEO John Chambers will discuss in his first keynote address at VMworld, is intended to facilitate the addition of VMware ESX Server capacity on demand, orchestrated with the configuration of network services.

It is intended to allow IT administrators working in different technology silos such as storage or security to collaborate to provision resources for virtual machines faster. The integration enables the VFrame Data Center appliance to provision the required network services for Internet-oriented applications running on VMware Infrastructure 3. Those services include firewall security, content load balancing, switch and server trunks, and access control lists. The provisioning is executed through a common GUI-based service template that acts as a common design interface.


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The aim is to bring the provisioning of physical resources on a par with the provisioning of new virtual machines, which can be set up in minutes. Today it can take days or weeks for different IT groups to reprovision or add new firewalls, load balancers and so on.

Thanks to their integration efforts, spurred by joint customers looking for better integration between Cisco Catalyst and MDS storage offerings to support growing VMware Infrastructure deployments, the VFrame Data Center appliance can dynamically load the VMware ESX Server onto bare-metal hardware and configure the physical server I/O to use the Cisco data center switches.

The two vendors also collaborated to create a two-way policy API with VMware VirtualCenter to coordinate the configuration.

Cisco officials claimed that VFrame Data Center can load VMware ESX Server onto hardware from a SAN (storage area network) in 10 minutes. It automates configuration of the SAN back end based on predefined templates created jointly by the storage and networking groups within IT.

Although VFrame Data Center, launched in late July, today is very "Cisco-centric," Cisco recognizes the need to expand support for more third-party devices and link to existing management tools through the API, according to Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of data center, switching and security technology at Cisco in San Jose, Calif.


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The API, based on SOAP and XML, "is a natural [integration point] for a number of applications well certify," she said.

"This is the first proof point of our joint collaboration. This is a strong endorsement of each other, and the first of many collaborations you can expect between the two companies," she added.

Ullal did not rule out future partnerships with other virtualization companies such as Citrix or Microsoft.


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