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Cisco Expands Virtualization Across Data Center Portfolio

New Virtualized Cisco Data Center Products Increase Operational Efficiency and Agility, Reduce Power Consumption

Continuing to fulfill and expand the Cisco Data Center 3.0 initiative, Cisco announced new products and professional services that will help customers virtualize data centers for greater operational and energy efficiency. The new offerings make the virtual network a highly efficient platform for delivering data center services-accelerating, providing security, and orchestrating application delivery networks, servers, virtualized computing, and storage, while providing greater responsiveness and resource conservation.

"Real-time collaborative applications, energy concerns and the need to achieve greater efficiency from assets are driving IT managers to transform their data centers through new technologies," said John McCool, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Data Center, Switching and Services Group, and co-chair of the Cisco EcoBoard . "By providing virtualization technologies across the data center, Cisco aims to help businesses achieve the agility and resiliency they need to compete on a global scale."

Cisco Data Center 3.0 announcements include:

  • Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) software release 4.1, offering virtualized application hosting services, greater application acceleration and video delivery for the branch office;
  • Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) software release 3.1 for the ACE 4710 application switch, offering up to 4 gigabits per second (Gbps) of throughput and up to 2 Gbps of compression capability, and multimedia readiness on a virtualized platform;
  • Cisco VFrame Data Center software release 1.2, offering end-to-end infrastructure provisioning with Cisco ACE and VMware ESX;
  • New Cisco Data Center 3.0 professional programs and services to better support customers with data center deployments.

Cisco Application Delivery Networks: Providing Virtualization and Application Fluency
Cisco's application delivery networking portfolio optimizes application availability, performance and security over the wide-area network (Cisco WAAS) and within the data center (Cisco ACE). Cisco is announcing new capabilities in the application networking portfolio that expand application fluency and performance, as well as delivering end-to-end application delivery network support for real-time applications such as IP telephony, video and multimedia from the data center to the branch office.

Cisco WAAS software release 4.1 supports network-embedded virtualization, enabling customers to deploy platforms such as Microsoft Windows Server 2008 locally at the branch office on a Cisco WAAS appliance, reducing server hardware requirements. In addition, version 4.1 simplifies customer deployments and provides application-specific acceleration features for Microsoft Exchange (MAPI), web applications (HTTP), live and on-demand video (RTSP), centralized printing (Windows Print), and Unix/Linux file sharing (NFS).

Cisco ACE software release 3.1 increases the capacity of the ACE 4710 application switch up to 4 Gbps of throughput with up to 2Gbps of compression capability, doubling the device's virtualized performance in a compact form factor. Software license-based scalability from 1 Gbps to 4 Gbps dramatically extends customer investment protection, and provides customers with a highly scalable, yet low entry-point application switching solution. Cisco has also enhanced the Cisco ACE appliance 4710 and module to leverage its virtualized load balancing and security services across unified communications, collaborative technologies, and video applications through its increased ability to understand the popular Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Real-Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP).

Pacer International, a leading freight transportation provider headquartered in Concord, Calif., has deployed Cisco WAAS throughout its network. "Pacer has hundreds of mobile users, agents and agencies that access our business systems daily," says Jim Ward, CIO, Pacer International. "Many of these users access Pacer systems over low-quality DSL, broadband lines and wireless cards that degrade application performance. Cisco WAAS WAN optimization allows our users to gain the benefits of an optimized WAN without incurring extra infrastructure costs. We also definitely see a need for the high-quality video delivery capabilities integrated into this new version of Cisco WAAS, which will help collaboration efforts at our company."

New Version of Cisco VFrame for Improved Virtualized Data Center Provisioning
Cisco VFrame is a network-driven service orchestration provisioning platform. IT managers can optimize virtual, compute, storage and network resources with near real-time deployment agility, based on the provisioning intelligence within VFrame. VFrame 1.2 offers integration with Cisco ACE and VMware ESX, including the ability to virtualize servers to ACE virtual devices, and/or to select a server out of a utility pool, and configure it end-to-end with ESX. Cisco VFrame provisions resources intelligently, with policies and an advanced rules-checking engine, and securely, with a multi-layer, roles-based access-control interface.

Improved Cisco Data Center 3.0 Services
Cisco announced both new and enhanced programs to help customers successfully deploy and manage advanced data centers, including the new Data Center Efficiency Assurance Program, extensions to the Data Center Assurance Program (DCAP) 4.0, and DCAP for Applications.

For advanced data center technology deployments, Cisco is offering the Efficiency Assurance Program (EAP), a web-based tool that helps customers better analyze data center power use and establishes energy benchmarks across facilities and infrastructure. Additionally, Cisco's Data Center Efficiency Services help customers identify the appropriate power and cooling infrastructure to support a highly reliable network, while identifying steps to make the infrastructure more accessible, efficient and sustainable.

Cisco has updated its Data Center Assurance Program (DCAP) to include large-scale data center validation, design and implementation guides, including an enhanced Service Provider section containing an updated baseline architecture and new overlays for video streaming and mobility services. DCAP also now supports Cisco ACE and Cisco MDS blade server fabric switches, and solutions including Oracle 11i E-Business Suite, Microsoft Exchange 2003, Tibco Rendezvous and active-active disaster recovery. Cisco has also extended its related DCAP for Applications program for the Cisco Application Delivery Networks portfolio by offering new tested and validated delivery solutions for Oracle E-Business Suite R12 and Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.

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SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.

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