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Cisco, better known for its networking knowledge than its server-side savvy, is leaping into the deep end of the latter pool with a virtual server option. The VFrame Data Center (VFrame DC) is a software/hardware platform that, seeking to whittle down the number of physical devices in corporate data centers, provisions services with the simple acts of point-and-click. Cisco is branding this as part of their Data Center 3.0 movement.Data Center 3.0 is Cisco's vision of the future of data centers. It implies real-time, dynamic orchestration of infrastructure services from shared pools of virtualized server, storage and network resources. According to the company, VFrame DC is an important step in delivering on this vision. As Internet News notes, reducing hardware in datacenters is a hot topic because, space issues aside, machines eat a ton of power, and neither power nor hardware are cheap. VFrame DC virtualizes network services with an 1U appliance and is stateless. This leads to the liberating ability to move services between servers and change the identity of each machine in a rapid, ad-hoc fashion. Mainly though, IT admins can expect to reap the rewards in power and space. Instead of setting up networks on hardware in a device-addled data center, networks can be prepared as a remote service. But while Cisco is more than happy to meet the growing demands of the hardware-weary, it also knows to mind its own core business. "We are not the virtualization engine of the datacenter; we are a middleware platform that can provision the networking components and work with these other endpoint systems," said Project Manager Bill Erdman of Cisco's datacenter technology group, during an interview with Internet News. Cisco plans to work hand-in-hand with existing server virtualization offerings like VMware, as well as storage virtualization tools like EMC's Invista. Additionally, VFrame DC includes an open API, and the company claims it will easily integrate with third party management applications. VFrame appears on the market in August with retail pricing kicking-off at around US$ 60,000 per appliance.