Cisco's added emphasis on the cloud also highlights Intel, which is developing a cloud building program. The goal of the program is to build reference architectures with its partners, including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Enomaly, Canonical, Joyent IBM and China's Huawei and PowerLeader. Citrix, Microsoft, Red Hat, Parallels and VMWare are also part of the program.
Cisco highlighted what it presented at a recent Intel Cloud Builder event. In a blog post, Cisco's Brian Gracely says the company is following the concept of the "now," meaning its emphasis is on helping the customer get from the great idea to the implementation of the concept as quickly as possible.
A core aspect of this approach is the Cisco UCS API, designed to provide granular automation into compute, network and storage I/O.
All of this automation and management functionality extends across multiple UCS chassis. But one thing that many people don't know is that the Cisco UCS Manager (UCSM), which ships with the UCS (via the Fabric Interconnect), is a Java implementation of the UCS API. So everything that can be done via the UCSM GUI can also be done by 3rd-party tools. Think about that for a second. That means that IT operations teams could get started with UCS + UCSM now to get familiar with the product and begin building Cloud Computing infrastructure today. Over time, they can begin automating all of this functionality without having to change any operational processes. Putting the power of "now" into their hands at the pace that best aligns their IT skills and business needs.
Here's the deck Cisco presented:
Cisco's data center architecture is now being used by OpSource, which announced new security features yesterday.
What caught my interest was the infrastructure underlying this offering. It's an all-Cisco hardware platform, part of the vendor's Data Center Business Advantage architecture. So all the firewall, VPN and load balancing surrounding the customer's server instances, as well as the instances themselves, are running on the same, shared, physical internal bus. The principal advantage of this is that it removes the latency inherent in other cloud platforms where servers are connected at LAN or WAN speeds. "We offer sub-millisecond latency speeds," OpSource's CMO Keao Caindec told me in a briefing last week. Whether tying a cloud infrastructure to a specific hardware architecture is truly in the spirit of cloud computing is a discussion I'd like to defer to a separate blog post; there are a number of angles to consider, and it's not as clear-cut as it might seem. One argument in favor is the other advantage that OpSource exploits, which is the ability to offer customized configuration and governance of a customer's cloud instances within the shared infrastructure.
Intel will focus on building out reference architectures and developing ways to better manage servers in a dynamic environment. This includes "cloud bursting," a term for how servers respond to changing work loads.
Intel is doing all of this in part to gain a greater share of the overall server market. According to an EETimes story:
Intel hopes to reap compound growth over the next few years of as much as 20 percent in its sales of silicon for servers and other infrastructure gear, said Jason Waxman, general manager of Intel's data center group. International Data Corp. said worldwide server revenue increased 11.4 percent to $48.1 billion in 2010, while unit shipments increased 15.3 percent to 7.6 million units.
This all adds up to a significant trend we will see in the server market, data centers and the hosting world.
Companies such as Cisco and HP are competing to provide the next generation networking technologies and infrastructure for the new, modern data centers. Intel is seeking to partner with these companies to build reference architectures that provide the capabilities to manage workloads and overall server management within these environments.
This is why the cloud computing market is expected to be so significant. We're looking at new architectures for automation and server networks with new requirements. The market is only beginning to burst.