Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cisco's Unified Computing Cuts Costs and Power

Cisco is increasing the efficiency of the data center with its new technology called Unified Computing. Acknowledging that virtualization is here to stay, Cisco is embracing as much virtualization as possible to improve performance and reduce costs. As a result of the synergies involved, power consumption goes down as well.

If Unified Computing has a familiar ring to it, you may be thinking of Unified Communications. UC is an approach to integrate all forms of business communications, such as landline phone, cellular telephone, email, FAX, voice mail and instant messaging. The idea is these traditionally separate communication systems can be combined or unified through a common infrastructure. A simple example is the FAX and Voicemail to Email capability of Kall8 toll free services. Implemented throughout a company, Unified Communications can offer an efficiency improvement that results in faster response and higher productivity.

Unified Computing is also a business oriented approach that is designed to offer efficiency improvements by integrating formerly separate technologies. Cisco's Unified Computing System has at its core a new UCS Blade Server with blades based on an upgrade to the Intel Xenon processors called Nehalem which offer a 30% power reduction for the same performance. The blades have extended memory to support more virtual machines per server.

For networking, Cisco has settled on 10 Gbps Ethernet for everything, including storage area networking that has traditionally had its own Fiber Channel networking. This commonality simplifies cabling and switching, and decreases power and cooling requirements according to Cisco. They have provided the capability to connect to other networks such as Fiber Channel and Infiniband to support existing equipment installations.

So how much savings can be realized by moving to a new consolidated architecture with software tools designed to maximize the advantages of virtualization? Cisco says up to 20% CAPEX (capital expenditures) and 30% OPEX (operational expenditures) can be expected. That's pretty significant in these days of squeezed corporate profit margins. If you are interested in exploring new IT approaches or upgrades to your systems, you'll find Value Added Resellers serving your area through the VAR Network.

The final piece in the puzzle of higher performance for the data center is WAN bandwidth. Traditionally, prices have been high and bandwidth limited. But new offerings, especially in the area of Metro Ethernet Services, are opening the door to WAN connections that can transparently keep up with the bandwidth of the internal network fabric.

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