So, this blog post, introducing Data Center Business Advantage, is meaningful to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, my blogging career started with a post introducing Data Center 3.0, so its kinda cool to be introducing its successor. Second, it is kinda cool to see how much have accomplished in three years and how our vision and strategy has matured and evolved.
So, why change? Well, in short, we have accomplished most of what we set out to do with our original Data Center 3.0 strategy. Customers understand the benefits of virtualized data center and most, if not all, have consolidation, virtualization and automation an major elements of their strategic plans. Unified fabric and unified computing are firmly ensconced as part of the data center vocabulary. Finally, we see adoption ramping for both private cloud solutions such as Vblocks and SMT as well as public cloud solutions from a whole host of cloud providers.
So, what is Data Center Business Advantage?
In a nutshell: building upon the success of Data Center 3.0, Cisco Data Center Business Advantage is an architectural framework designed to help customers link their IT investment to tangible business outcomes.
The goal of Data Center Business Advantage is to make the data center a force for change and innovation by making the data center more agile, efficient and transformative. Specifically, we are looking to help the enterprise leverage their data center for three specific business outcomes: 1) accelerating the delivery of new services and revenue streams, 2) increasing profitability and 3) enabling transformative new business and IT models.
So, how will we do that? The illustration above illustrates the architectural framework behind Data Center Business Advantage. It is built in four, interlinked layers. The top layer is the business value or business outcomes I talked about in the previous paragraph.
Underpinning that is a set of solutions that will support those outcomes. Here you see the linkage back to Data Center 3.0–our technology vision has not changes and these four categories represent the types of projects our customers are undertaking. As I hinted in last week’s post introducing the Citrix VDI solution, you should expect to see more solutions like VDI, Vblocks and SMT that can be directly tied to our three goals for the business.
The next layer down identifies the three architectural pillars of Data Center Business Advantage–essentially the building blocks for data center solutions–both the ones we create as well are ones customers create for themselves. Two of these building blocks, unified computing and unified fabric, should be familiar to folks that follow Cisco. With today’s announcement of Data Center Business Advantage, we also introduce a new third architectural pillar: Unified Network Services (UNS). UNS is a new strategy for deploying services (L4-7 services and security) into the data center. With wider deployment of server virtualization and broader adoption of cloud services, traditional models for delivering services are starting to break down. UNS is designed to deliver services within the realities of the evolving data center. Stay tuned for a post or two dedicated to UNS–there is a lot of cool technology and vision underpinning the strategy.
Finally, we have the substrate that supports all this–product and technology innovation. This layer represents the innovative Cisco data center product portfolio, including Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus Switches, Cisco MDS switches, Cisco WAAS, Cisco ACE, and Cisco ASA.
So, a couple of things to point out. First, we see our partner ecosystem as central to Data Center Business Advantage. We have a world-class stable of development partners we work with for solution development (everyone from Intel to VMware to SAP to name a few). The fact that we have these open solutions stack is one of the advantages of Data Center Business Advantage–it gives customers flexibility and choice and allows them to work with the favorite vendors.
The second thing worth pointing out is the critical role of professional services. Whether it is services from Cisco Services, from one of our channel partners, or from a blend of the two, services are going to be fundamental to any successful data center strategy.
Needless to say, you’ll hear more details from me on this. For now, see what one of our customers has to say about Data Center Business Advantage.