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Bringing Virtualized, Multi-Tenancy to Data Center Networks

November 17, 2010 - 2 Comments

Over the last few weeks you’ve probably seen several announcements about expanded delivery from Cisco and our ecosystem partners in the area of Integrated Compute Stacks; specifically around SAP and VMware View 4.5 support on VCE Vblock, and E-SMT support on FlexPod for VMware. These solutions are allowing companies to take the next step in a journey towards Private Cloud and delivery of Better IT services for their business and customers. By simplifying the ordering, sizing, deployment, automation and integration of virtualization within the Data Center, customers are beginning to see the transformation from a 70/30 environment focused on maintenance to one that can free up capital and human resources to drive new innovation.

As we talk to customers about delivering Better IT services from their Data Center, they frequently want to know how they can extend the power of Integrated Compute Stacks across the Data Center core and out to the edge. The use-cases range from delivering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), to isolating applications or departments for compliance reasons, to delivering differentiated levels of service to multiple customers. Demand is coming from Application groups, Dev/Test groups, Desktop groups, Backup and Recovery groups and Business Resilience groups. This usually isn’t a product-level discussion, but rather an architectural-level discussion.

The architectural starting point is a framework that extends Virtualized, Multi-Tenant capabilities across the core of the network, down to the VM, inclusive of storage. It’s built using a modular design (Large Pod, Compact Pod) that allows integration into existing networks, greenfields and “green patches”. This modular approach allows customers to add new services without having to disrupt or impact the entire Data Center core. This is a 2nd-generation architecture that we recently announced and co-validated with Intel as part of their Cloud Builder program.

As you review the Cisco Validated Design for this Virtualized, Multi-Tenant Data Center (VMDC), you’ll see various elements highlighted:

  • 2-Tier or 3-Tier architecture as required by your applications, built on proven switching platforms.
  • Intra-DC or Inter-DC mobility for VMs.
  • Integration with multi-vendor Integrated Compute Stacks, such as Vblock and FlexPod.
  • Multi-Tenancy across the Network layer using both Layer-2 and Layer-3 technologies, with all the associated Security.
  • Multi-Tenancy across the Storage layer, for block-based (FC, iSCSI, FCoE) or file-based (NFS, CIFS) protocols.
  • Virtualization flexibility to be able to support VMware, Citrix or RedHat environments, or a mixture (if needed).
  • A Reference Architecture for end-to-end provisioning, automation and monitoring. BMC and VMware highlighted in this CVD.

For customers that are moving along the path from Consolidation to Virtualization to Automation, with a goal of moving towards Better IT with cloud-based technologies, it’s important to be able to envision the end-to-end architecture. It should allow flexibility for future technologies and new deployment models. It should leverage existing IT skill sets (Networking, Virtualization, Computing, Storage) to reduce risk, and provide a framework to migrate elements as business needs change or accelerate.

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  1. I’d be VERY interesed in having CISCO sales contact me about designing and helping me build one of ‘these’ data centers for my company.

  2. nice article … with virtualization, data center is going green, yet more tenants will be coming in …