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The path to Data Centre Zen – Part 1

2 years ago Cisco announced it’s future Data Centre vision “Data Center 3.0”.  Since then we have seen a plethora of products emerge in the marketplace aimed towards the enablement of this vision; the most recent of which is the Cisco Unified Computing System or UCS.  The UCS in perhaps the most powerful and feature rich system released to date, but it is merely part of the bigger picture.

Data Center 3,0 is about far more than just Virtualisation.  It’s goal is to enable IT to become a service, not a cost-centre by making it agile, fast to deploy and easy to manage.  This will enhance end-user experience and enable the network as a platform for collaboration.  There is also a large saving to be made in the running costs of the “Data Center 3.0” model which will please both tree-huggers and bean-counters.

Cisco’s vision is great.  I do not disagree with the principles in the slightest.  The only issue I have is the premium that is paid by the customer and the vendor lock-in.

So my vision for the future is Data Centre Zen.  It is a vendor-neutral architecture with the same underlying principles.
The path to achieving Data Centre Zen is simple:

  • Consolidation
    Consolidation uses a Unified Fabric, which has been enabled through the development of FCoE and loss-less Ethernet (DCE), and CNA’s or Converged Network Adapters that have been developed to consolidate HBAs and NICs.
  • Virtualisation
    Well established solutions are already in place for Server and Desktop Virtualisation but Network Virtualisation is a key part of the overall picture.
  • Integration
    The network must become integrated with VM’s and Applications to be able to dynamically respond to their needs
  • Service Orchestration
    The final step to achieving Zen is enabled though automated provisioning, intelligent network management and integrated security.

Over the coming weeks I will be elaborating on each phase of the model and associated technologies with a view to helping all take one step closer to Data Centre Zen.

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