Cisco Keeps Eye on Data Center, Cloud Computing

Cisco Systems has a number of projects under way designed to offer businesses solutions that will enable them to run their data centers more efficiently, according to Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior. Speaking at the Cisco Live event, Warrior says Cisco is changing from a product-driven company to a solution-driven one, and such Cisco products as UCS, TelePresence, WebEx and the Flip video camera will be key players in these solutions.

Cisco Systems has a number of projects under way that bring together its myriad products to create products to help businesses get more done, more efficiently, according to the company's CTO.

Speaking at the Cisco Live event in San Francisco July 1, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior said enterprises are looking to technology suppliers less for individual products and more for offerings that bring together these products to solve particular problems.

That move from products to solutions is a key part of Cisco's continuing evolution, Warrior said.

One example is in the data center, where Cisco is bringing together its Nexus family of network switches with its UCS (Unified Computing System) integrated infrastructure to create what Warrior called the Nexus Data Center Pod. The solution combines the converged infrastructure of UCS with that various features within the Nexus family, from VPNs and firewalls to load balancing and orchestration capabilities.

Cisco has used the solution within its own IT organization, Warrior said. In a 1-megawatt, 10,000-square-foot data center, use of the Nexus Data Center Pod solution cut power consumption by 30 percent, cut costs in areas such as cabling by 40 percent and cleared up enough floor space to add 50 percent more servers. In addition, Cisco is able to run four times the number of virtual machines that it would have in a more traditional data center.

"This is an example of how we're moving from great products to great solutions," Warrior said.

Cisco engineers also are working on a project called MediaNet, which Warrior described as a platform created on the network for video content, which would include everything from user-generated video created on such devices as Cisco's Flip video camera to high-end, high-density professional video to real-time video from such products as Cisco's TelePresence.

In keeping with the company's message, Warrior said video is going to be the key application that drives the way companies do business in the future, and that IT infrastructures will need to be able to handle the demands that will come with video.

She also pointed to the work Cisco has done at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium and the new Yankee Stadium, where the company outfitted the buildings with networking and video capabilities as well as unified communications and digital signage.

Warrior covered familiar ground during much of her hour-long speech, echoing what CEO John Chambers said June 30 during his presentation. With the convergence of technology in the data center, the growth of virtualization and cloud computing, and the convergence of consumer and commercial technology, the network will take on an increasingly important role, essentially becoming the platform upon which everything else is built.

She also touched on the various factors that are driving these technological changes, from rapid growth in the use of mobile devices-1 billion people worldwide are accessing the Internet via mobile devices, and half of the world's population has mobile phones-to the use of IP in sectors such as health care, education and energy delivery through the Smart Grid.

Dovetailing with that theme was an announcement Cisco made earlier in the day July 1, introducing its Smart Connected Buildings program. It's part of Cisco's larger Smart+Connected Communities initiative, one of 30 "market adjacencies" that Chambers outlined in his talk.

Warrior spent much of her time on stage talking about cloud computing, saying Cisco was going to be a key player in the development of the computing model, both for internal clouds and public clouds such as those offered by and Google, as well as for hybrid clouds. Echoing her message from a briefing June 29, she also said Cisco has no intention of competing with and Google by creating its own public cloud environment.