Virtualization Spurs Growth and Savings

By Stan Gibson  |  Posted 2009-09-29 Print this article Print

The ultimate goal of Cisco’s IT organization is to enable business growth and capabilities that range from faster time to market to identity management.

Virtualization Spurs Growth and Savings

Cisco’s approach to virtualization encompasses both data centers and applications. By virtualizing servers in its data centers, Cisco is getting the same number of servers to do the work of many more. At the application level, a service- oriented architecture enables Cisco to deploy many applications across a common infrastructure via Web services.

The ultimate goal of the IT organization is to enable business growth. “We take a broad view,” Jacoby says. “We take resources and put them together architecturally and get the best usage out of those resources.” That means delivering fundamental IT services, such as compute power, storage capacity and network bandwidth, which, in turn, enable business capabilities that range from faster time to market to end-user identity management.

And the savings are significant. “If my utilization goes up, my cost of ownership goes down,” Jacoby says. “We see the potential for a four-fold increase in the number of virtual machines we can operate in the same data center space with the same amount of power. The savings inherent in that are pretty incredible.”

A key building block in Cisco’s data center virtualization strategy is its Unified Fabric, which consolidates data, storage and server clustering networks into a single system. “By taking an overall architecture approach, we save a bunch of money just in cabling by using our Unified Fabric,” says Jacoby.

Cisco’s virtualized environment makes the company more flexible. “The virtual environment done right has inherent resilience, which helps IT manage risks to the organization,” says Jacoby. Downtime can be mitigated by shifting processing tasks. Computing and storage capacity can be allocated to those who need it most. Spikes in demand can be tamed by marshaling virtual resources on the spur of the moment, and resources can be provisioned to support new business models as they emerge, she explains.

The company is executing its virtualization strategy as it builds out a new generation of data centers. Cisco’s data center strategy calls for a pair of facilities in Richardson, Texas, as well as a pair in Europe and one in Asia. One of the Richardson data centers is currently under construction.

Stan Gibson is Executive Editor of eWEEK. In addition to taking part in Ziff Davis eSeminars and taking charge of special editorial projects, his columns and editorials appear regularly in both the print and online editions of eWEEK. He is chairman of eWEEK's Editorial Board, which received the 1999 Jesse H. Neal Award of the American Business Press. In ten years at eWEEK, Gibson has served eWEEK (formerly PC Week) as Executive Editor/eBiz Strategies, Deputy News Editor, Networking Editor, Assignment Editor and Department Editor. His Webcast program, 'Take Down,' appeared on Zcast.tv. He has appeared on many radio and television programs including TechTV, CNBC, PBS, WBZ-Boston, WEVD New York and New England Cable News. Gibson has appeared as keynoter at many conferences, including CAMP Expo, Society for Information Management, and the Technology Managers Forum. A 19-year veteran covering information technology, he was previously News Editor at Communications Week and was Software Editor and Systems Editor at Computerworld.

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