The benefits of the “less is more” philosophy seem to be more and more evident lately. A quick look at two of my favorite tech tools, Twitter and the iPhone, demonstrates how keeping things simple and easy to use are essential design principles in today’s markets. If you transpose that philosophy into the data center, it’s easy to understand why the Nexus family of switches is a necessary step forward for our networks. Cisco’s Nexus 7000 (core) and 5000 (edge/top of rack) switches evolves the Cisco IT data center with an emphasis on simplified architecture, virtualization and greater energy efficiency, all of which makes the data center more efficient.
The Nexus switches support the Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol, which allows us to reduce cabling from 72 cables per rack to only 18 per rack on average. With this reduction, we’re lowering both the initial cost of cabling and ongoing electricity costs.
As part of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) platform, the Nexus switches benefit from having a single management suite allowing for quick and easy provisioning of virtual machines across our server farms. Cisco’s server farms grow at a rate of 25% every year, so any way to slow down that demand is a priority to us. The Nexus-enabled UCS platform allows a single server to run multiple virtual machines, maximizing the efficiency of each physical server. UCS also allows business applications to be moved between servers within minutes instead of days or weeks, which gives us an advantage when it comes to business agility and cost of maintenance.
All in all, simplifying our data centers with Nexus has allowed Cisco IT to cut energy usage by 20 to 30%, giving us the room to put 30% more servers in the same space with the same amount of power. Increasing the number of servers in our data centers can let us push back the need for a new data center by 12-18 months.
Consumer products and applications aren’t the only things becoming more simple and efficient. With the Nexus switches and Unified Computing System changing the data center, the IT world is about to see the benefits of “going simple” in the form of cost saving and easier management.