Cisco, IBM Target Data Centers

Cisco and IBM have integrated their data center architectures in an effort to further on-demand computing.

Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM have teamed up to integrate their respective data center architectures to further advance on-demand computing.

The two vendors integrated several of their technologies, created a joint reference architecture, and tested and documented specific combinations of their technologies. In addition, IBM Global Services will offer integration services for both vendors offerings.

"We reduce the customers risk, because the integration is done by Cisco and IBM. Weve already done the testing and documentation to make the job simpler for our customers. Its no small task to bring together the network, servers and storage into a consolidated architecture," said Pierre-Paul Allard, vice president, enterprise marketing at Cisco in San Jose, Calif.

Toward that end, Cisco developed a Layer 2 Gigabit Ethernet switch module for IBMs eServer BladeCenter chassis. The new Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module is an 18-port edge switch intended to allow customers to aggregate servers together. The eServer BladeCenter chassis can accept up to four of the switch modules, which officials expect will be linked to a Cisco Catalyst 6500. The modules "leverage the same quality of service and security" functions available in Ciscos IOS software for its switches, Allard said.

In addition, the IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager can now be used to configure Cisco gear, including the Cisco MDS 9000 SAN switch, the Content Switching Module for the Catalyst 6500 and the new Intelligent Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module, as well as Cisco firewall and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) services modules.

The Cisco Content Switching Module will also work with IBMs Enterprise Workload Manager to share application-level load and performance data using a new Server Application State Protocol or SASP.

At the same time, IBM integrated its SAN (storage area network) virtualization software with Ciscos MDS 9000 SAN switch and certified the Cisco SAN switch for the Tivoli SAN Manager tool.

The goal of such integration is to increase the utilization of the storage devices to improve the customers return on investment, Allard said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCisco and IBM see network-hosted storage applications as a means of enabling enterprises to build larger, smarter SANs. Click here to read the full story.

But the ultimate goal is to allow the data center to more dynamically adapt to changing business requirements. While the IBM/Cisco partnership is a good first step, enterprises still face organizational and political issues because of the traditional silo approach to managing technologies, according to Stephen Elliot, an analyst with IDC in Framingham, Mass. "It is a necessary step because the integrations are required for dynamic architectures," he said.

The integrated products and services offerings will be available beginning in June.

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