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Data Center Newsletter: Convergence in the Data Center

July 27, 2009
at 12:00 pm PST

For more of the latest content from the Data Center teams, please check out the full version of the Data Center Newsletter, July 2009 Edition.By Peter Linkin -- Data Center Solutions MarketingConsolidation is everywhere. People are moving back to cities to escape suburban sprawl. Industries are consolidating to a small number of mega-brands. And after years of distributed systems anarchy, IT is consolidating equipment and facilities back to a more efficient, controllable, centralized model. Sound familiar? People are even talking about the ‘virtual mainframe’, VDI to thin clients, and water cooling.It’s not about pastel-colored, refrigerator-sized boxes this time. The average data center houses hundreds of rack units of servers, storage and networking equipment, miles of cabling, and aircraft-engine class AC fans. And that’s a challenge — actually, several:Inefficiency: Explosive growth in underutilized servers and storage is stretching the limits of power, cooling, and floorspace, while the cost of capital needed to support this growth is increasing.Obsolescence: Data centers are expected to last about 10 to 15 years, but new technology and business demands are rendering them obsolete in just 5 years.Operations: Infrastructure sprawl has led to disproportionate IT budget spend on operations and maintenance rather than innovation.Compliance Risks: Fragmented, siloed infrastructure with low levels of governance and siloed organizations have raised the risk of unplanned downtime or compliance breaches.But these challenges are not without solutions.Cisco Data Center 3.0 is designed to provide the solutions your IT organization needs to address these challenges by using a familiar resource — your data center network — to improve the efficiency, responsiveness, resilience, and useful lifespan of your data center assets.Infrastructure consolidation is one of the most potentially impactful IT projects — especially in an economy when new build-outs and resources may be hard to justify. One of the most popular and powerful techniques is ironically another throwback to the mainframe era: Server virtualization.By virtualizing your servers (and other supporting infrastructure) with VMWare hypervisor technology, you can consolidate workload to many fewer boxes, dramatically increasing utilization rates, cost efficiency, power and cooling, availability, responsiveness, and just about everything else on your IT Wish List.However, it’s not just a matter of installing VMWare. For instance, each individual Virtual Machine needs to be configured and connected to the appropriate network, storage, security, and other infrastructure resources, just as a single hosted application was before. Whereas the components and services were previously configured on a ‘per-server’ basis through physical addressing, they now need to be configured on a ‘per-VM’ basis using logical addressing. Virtualization also increases bandwidth demands to both servers and storage with higher VM densities. And you have to ensure all the infrastructure components and policies still line up with a VM when it moves between physical servers or crosses VLANs.Which brings us to this edition of the Data Center Newsletter and a new thematic format. Inside this new-style newsletter you’ll find lots of pragmatic information on how the network helps answer those questions, including using technologies such as the Nexus 1000V, VN-Link, 10GbE, 8GFC, and NPIV that have been developed specifically with the new virtualized and consolidated data center in mind.Each future edition will focus on another aspect of the story (i.e. branch-office infrastructure consolidation, network-fabric consolidation, or Unified Computing). We want to help show you how to evolve to the next-generation data center infrastructure with a set of safe, incremental steps that start to put IT back in control, supporting the business.We hope you find the new approach informative and interesting. As always let us know what you think, and we wish you the best for a successful deployment

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