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Cisco Nexus 5000: The human side of technology

April 9, 2008 - 0 Comments

What a long day! At least for my team. The Unified Fabric launch and the introduction of the Cisco Nexus 5000 was a significant one for Cisco, and certainly had quite a big impact on my team. But this is not the “human” side that I wanted to talk about…One thing that has come up quite a lot in my briefings today is the human side of implementing a Unified Fabric in the Data Center, i.e. the impact that network unification would have on existing teams and ultimately on individuals.One thing that I believe to be a key differentiator for the Unified Fabric is its “transitionary” nature. Network convergence can not be a revoluton, but it needs to be a gradual evolution of Data Center networks. I certainly believe that the organizations that will be able to take advantage of this architectural evolution faster will also be the ones that will see the biggest returns and the biggest gains in competitive advantage, but at the same time I understand the concern that some people have expressed to me on how this technology might impact existing organizations.Out of the four main pillars that were presented by Soni Jiandani during the press conference this morning, there are two that certainly speak to backward compatibility and preservation of existing management best practices: Data Center Ethernet and Fibre Channel over Ethernet.Data Center Ethernet is a collection of standard-based extensions to Ethernet, while Fibre Channel over Ethernet is the simplest possible way to transport storage and data traffic on the same physical link. More specifically, FCoE is pure encapsulation of Fibre Channel into Ethernet packets and because of that, it does not change the existing management architectures.Because of how these fundamental elements of Unified Fabric have been designed and implemented, it will be possible for an IT organization to leverage the benefits of Unified Fabric while continuing to operate in the very same way they are operating today (storage admin manages storage, network admin manages the network.)Technology is important, but it will fail if it does not take into account the impact on people. With the Unified Fabric, this was part of the design.

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