Cisco Joins Microsoft For Data Centre Solutions Push

data centre

Cisco and Microsoft have partnered up in an effort to offer new products tailored for the modern data centre

Cisco Systems and Microsoft are working together to offer new products designed to make it easier for businesses to virtualise their data centres.

The two companies are also aiming to reduce complexity and leverage cloud computing technologies.

Data Centre Focus

Cisco is combining its Unified Computing System (UCS) converged data centre solution with Microsoft’s Fast Track 3.0 architecture offerings to give businesses integrated solutions that will make it easier for them to provision, deploy and manage their data centre environments, according to the two companies.

In addition, Cisco is offering new Microsoft Fast Track 3.0 packages that can leverage options from either EMC and its year-old VSPEX integrated virtualisation solution or NetApp and its FlexPod technology.

“The intersection of computing, networking, virtualisation, and software is at the centre of a new era of innovation,” Satinder Sethi, vice president of data center solutions at Cisco, said in a statement. “Alliances like the one we have with Microsoft allow us the opportunity to jointly develop innovative and integrated solutions to help drive out data centre complexity, in turn delivering simplified operations, and improved information technology productivity and data centre utilisation for our partners and customers.”

Microsoft Alliance

During an 11 April conference call regarding Cisco’s software-defined networking strategy, Dave Ward, CTO of engineering at Cisco, pointed to the Microsoft alliance as an example of the networking giant’s efforts to partner with other vendors to create comprehensive data centre solutions that leverage virtualisation technology, programmable software and dynamic networking and infrastructure hardware.

Cisco UCSIn its alliance with Microsoft, Cisco is giving customers programmatic access to UCS, which lets them have more insight and control over how the converged data centre solution works with Windows Server and application software.

The initiative also calls for combining Cisco’s Nexus 1000V Series extensible virtual and cloud networking platform with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Extensible Switch and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1, both of which are part of Microsoft’s larger Cloud OS effort. The combination will let customers virtualise some aspects of their data centre networks alongside their physical networking and cloud computing infrastructure, according to Cisco officials.

“Microsoft’s Cloud OS approach, based on Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1, gives customers a comprehensive platform for implementing their infrastructure on premises, with a hosting service provider, and in the cloud,” Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows Server and System Center, said in a statement. “Combining the proven Microsoft Fast Track architecture with Cisco’s innovative Unified Data Center architecture provides partners and customers with a first-class option for navigating their way through today’s new age of data centre deployment and management.”

Typical Deployments

Cisco also is using the manager open API in its UCS and its PowerTool for Microsoft’s PowerShell technology with System Center 2012 SP1 managing and provisioning tools, enabling businesses to provision configure and manage physical and virtual infrastructures and Windows Server and application software.

Via Cisco’s UCS Management Pack for System Center 2012 SP1 Operations Managers, businesses can manage their UCS through a single interface, while Cisco’s UCS Integration Pack for System Center 2012 SP1 Orchestrator offers greater UCS management through out-of-the-box run-books, according to Cisco.

The networking company also is giving users access to UCS management controls from within System Center Virtual Machine Manager thanks to a UCS UI Extension Add-in for System Center 2012 SP1 Virtual Machine Manager.

Both of the solutions Cisco is offering for Microsoft Fast Track – the EMC solution and NetApp one – have been validated for Microsoft’s Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 program and offer support for Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1. The VSPEX Solution for Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 gives businesses a Microsoft-based private cloud offering that is fully integrated and quickly deployable.

“With the increasing interest in Microsoft-based private clouds, we wanted to deliver a solution to customers that was not only validated by EMC and Cisco, but also certified by Microsoft,” Chad Dunn, director of VSPEX business operations for EMC, wrote in an 10 April post in the Cisco blog. “Just like what we did with the ‘small’ Microsoft private cloud Fast Track implementation – but bigger. So that’s exactly what we’ve done: EMC and Cisco have just certified a new VSPEX configuration as a Microsoft private cloud Fast Track solution for enterprise implementations.”

FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud is a solution designed by NetApp and Cisco and built for infrastructure-as-a-service environments based on Microsoft platforms.

Along with the new products, Cisco and Microsoft are developing go-to-market strategies for channel partners that resell both Cisco data centre and Microsoft Cloud OS technologies.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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