A New Management Approach from Cisco

Arthur Cole

One of the immutable laws of business is that there is never a shortage of people telling you they have a better way of running your business. But sometimes you have to listen because they may be on to something.

 

It's not every day when a giant like Cisco embarks on a new business venture designed to capture the hearts and minds of the data center, as explained by internetnews.com. But that's the plan with the launch of the new VFrame Data Center, the heart of the Data Center 3.0 (ugh, couldn't they have come up with something else?) initiative designed to muscle into your x86 network.

 

The VFrame is aimed at virtualization management, offering the ability to quickly virtualize network services like firewall deployment and virtual LAN/WAN configurations. As a stateless appliance without an IP address, you can easily move services around without adding additional hardware to each application group.

 

For Cisco, says The Register, this is a fairly dramatic move from the back plane to the forward side of the house. But is it truly as revolutionary as the 3.0 moniker would suggest? Early reports from people who saw it at Tuesday's Networks conference were positive, with talk of automated load balancing and systems reconfiguration in an easily installed appliance.

 

One of the more intriguing features is unified storage provisioning, a single fabric that can accommodate Ethernet, Fibre Channel and Infiniband, according to eWEEK, which I assume would allow you to select the proper SAN for your particular data load. Although one drawback could be multivendor environments, populated by some folks who may or may not be eager to bring Cisco's APIs into the fold just yet.


 

Cisco is getting ready to bring out other components of the Data Center initiative: a multiservice modular switch for deploying SAN extensions, media encryption, new test services and WAN acceleration, to name a few. In fact, the company envisions a steady stream of advances over the next two years to forge an entire new means of network connectivity.

 

That's pretty big hype to live up to, but we'll have to reserve judgment on that until the entire system is ready. If this can all happen on a simple appliance, what's not to like?

 

And if that's the plan, then management was probably the best way to start. This way, you have the means to plan your new environment from the beginning.



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