I had been looking forward to revisiting one of my favorite data center’s.  We had done this first back in 2011 and that video continues to do pretty well.

We had a chance to go back this year and one of the first things I noticed when we returned…it was filling up.  All the open floor space we shot the open for in 2011 was now filled and their were crews still pulling in fresh cable, racking new equipment and more. It was a busy place all night long.  (Watch the full tour)

TechWiseTV Allen Data Center Cable Pull
TechWiseTV Allen Data Center Cable Pull

One of the biggest reasons we returned was the growth in cloud services and the extensive use and build out of UCS of course, but now also ACI. The flexibility of this entire network relies upon the very use of technology that Cisco is developing. Its certainly on the mature side of course since this is one of Cisco’s primary production centers. As you would probably notice, its a beautiful, roomy layout that makes it desirable for touring. This is not common of course but it was built as a showcase for customers who want to see how things look when they all come together. The site is mirrored in Richardson, just a 20 minute drive South from this Allen location so that either site could take over and maintain operations for Cisco.

I am a big fan of all the physical facility innovation present here. These visual aspects would be appealing to a visual storyteller of course, but they also have not really changed since 2011.

Doug Alger on TechWiseTV's Allen Data Center Tour
Doug Alger on TechWiseTV’s Allen Data Center Tour

Our challenge became telling this part of the story in a bit more depth, yet in a more efficient manner. I write out what I am going to say when I do this so that I can do this effectively. I don’t always speak to exactly what I wrote but it gives me the ability to share my preparation, crazy ideas and mistakes early with the smarter people I get to work with. I have worked with Doug Alger  and Tony Fazackarley before and once again they were incredibly informative AND helpful throughout. We featured their voices in what I refer to as the ‘long’ version of this updated 2015 tour.

Doug has written the book on Data Center design and so he was a natural to use for those more visual sections of this.

Tony knows Data Center and Cisco’s network technology that we continue to evolve here. He would be one of the guys to call on if you were coming in for a tour. This giant of a man with the funny accent loves to share the innovation and I really like learning from him.

Tony Fazackarley on TechWiseTV's Allen Data Tour
Tony Fazackarley on TechWiseTV’s Allen Data Tour

We pick out a few of the more interesting elements that make this all come together using Cisco’s Domain 10 framework as a model to encompass all the critical elements needed.

Advanced structural engineering using the latest developments to efficiently support cooling, power and modularity to this LEEDS certified facility.

  • Unified Computing to create shared resource pools for efficient virtualization
  • Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) that uses profiles to enhance portability and security for business critical applications
  • Cisco’s IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) that eliminates need for employees to seek cloud services outside of the corporate network.

(Watch the full tour)

Robb Boyd explains UCS and ACI working together in the Allen Data Center
Robb Boyd explains UCS and ACI working together in the Allen Data Center


We also created a shorter version of this as an introduction to how public, private and even hybrid clouds can be used together to create a ‘cloud of clouds.’ Cisco is now acting as service broker, not only for ourselves of course, but for our customers too. This allows us to quickly and securely launch and manage new services, in any cloud with any virtual machine.

Hybrid cloud has emerged as the preferred method for harnessing the value of cloud. The ability to exchange workloads with a SINGLE public cloud provider is a good start hampered with too many limitations. Cisco Intercloud expands this narrow concept with choice and control encompassing an entire eco-system of Cloud providers. Customers can now automate a policy-based movement of workloads where all the same controls from the private network are extended to the ‘public’ as well. This can call be done without limitation or lock in to a hypervisor vendor or a cloud provider.

Employees provision workloads that can spin up within minutes instead of days or weeks, all within the policy constraints established by Cisco IT. Those workloads are free to grow as needed with the virtually unlimited capacity enabled by the Intercloud.

The Cisco Allen Data Center became our showcase for showing HOW Cisco’s Intercloud can accelerate the benefits of a nimble hybrid cloud. Watch: “Intercloud.  Any Workload. Any Time.”

Jim Grubb explains the need for more than just hybrid clouds
Jim Grubb explains the need for more than just hybrid clouds

Thank you for watching.



By the way…

I found a lot of interesting articles and background on the technologies and the history here. Most of it could not be covered in our timeframes unfortunately. But if you like to read as much as I do…check this stuff out.

Cisco on Cisco

White Paper: Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure (CITEIS)

Private Cloud at Cisco

Private Cloud Aids Software Upgrade

Domain 10 2.0

What’s New in Cisco Domain Ten Framework 2.0

IT as a Service Progression



Third Party

It’s the Application Economy, Stupid

How to work out the Kinks in the Cloud (Computer World/Dec 18, 2014)
– Software Defined Data Center (SDDC)

40 Percent Of IT Spending Is Outside CIO Control

The Need for IT Transformation

Cisco Blog

Cisco Blog: Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence?

Is IT Automation the Key to Operational Excellence? Industry Analysts Think So

Cisco Blog: Pros and Cons: Do-It-Yourself Approaches to Monitoring Shadow IT

Pros and Cons: Do-It-Yourself Approaches to Monitoring Shadow IT & Cloud Services

Sydney Morgan Blog: The Road to ACI Readiness

Cisco IT’s Road to Application Centric Infrastructure: Organizational Readiness and the Program Team

Cisco’s John Manville on ACI

How Cisco is Using Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivery and ACI

Blog: Early Stage Nexus 9K and ACI customers Step up to Share their Stories

Early Stage Nexus 9K and ACI customers Step up to Share their Stories

Take One small step with the ACI Simulator, Make a giant leap in ACI Fabric deployments

Take One small step with the ACI Simulator, Make a giant leap in ACI Fabric deployments

Pro and Con of Shadow IT

Pros and Cons: Do-It-Yourself Approaches to Monitoring Shadow IT & Cloud Services


How Cisco UCS reinvents the data center (InfoWorld 2009)

UCS – Brad Hedlund Abstracting the Logical Infrastructure

Understanding Cisco Unified Computing System Service Profiles

Video, Joe Rinehart: UCS Demystified

Joe Onisick on UCS (before he became our go to ACI Expert…)

Why Cisco UCS is my ‘A-Game’ Server Architecture


Cisco’s ACI in Building K

White Paper: Application Centric Infrastructure

Joe Onisick – Intro to ACI

ACI Whitepaper: Integrate Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure with Existing Networks

Infrastructure and Environmentals

Comparison of Static and Rotary UPS

Busway Power Distribution

Improved High Density Power Distribution

How cooling towers work

Using Airside Economizers to Chill Data Center Cooling Bills

Intercloud (YouTube)

Cloud Consumption Services


Robb Boyd

Producer, Writer, Host