Cisco data center onslaught targets telco ‘cloud’
Slate of new products and capabilities help cloud providers such as Savvis and others more flexibly offer data-center-delivered cloud services.
Telecom service providers run data centers to support their own businesses. They also increasingly run sophisticated data centers that are turning their last-generation hosting businesses into new "cloud-based" service delivery environments.
A slew of new products released by Cisco today targets both of those opportunities, focusing on bringing greater power, virtualization and connectivity options to large-scale data center environments.
In support of their own operations and on a service delivery basis, telecom operators today run some of the world’s most sophisticated data centers. That should make Cisco’s announcement of keen interest. At the center of the news is the second generation of the Cisco Unified Computing System, including new servers, switches and storage area network (SAN) capabilities – all key data center elements. The new products also including so-called “fabric extenders,” essentially gigabit Ethernet switches focused on data center requirements. The new switches and servers support Cisco’s FEXlink switching fabric extension architecture.
Overall, the new systems aim to enable data centers that offer more processing capabilities – and thus application performance – across a small physical footprint that consumes much less power via a more virtualized architecture.
Such products are suited for telco data centers, including emerging cloud centers that offer managed services and computing power to enterprise customers. One managed service provider, Savvis, is already working with Cisco to use its Unified Computing System to deliver so-called “private cloud” capabilities for enterprises that span a company’s own physical infrastructure and network-delivered capabilities. Cisco UCS is being used by Savvis to deliver Symphony, a virtual private data center Savvis is offering to its largest customers.
“If you look at the UCS architecture, what you have is the network access layer and the server layer unified into a single system,” said Kash Shaikh, marketing manager for Cisco Data Center Solutions. “That lets [service providers] provision services more quickly and saves them significant operational costs in rolling out new systems. They can stamp out a very regular set of [network and server] configurations very easily, allowing them to go after a much broader set of customers” for cloud-style services.
For service providers, the benefits in the Cisco UCS are around greater automation of data center resources, which reflects a decades-long effort to automate the delivery of network resources. In both cases, telcos need the ability to more readily provision computing and network resources to customers – whether they be enterprise private clouds or for simpler cloud-style services for the SMB market.
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