Datacenter SolutionsToday’s Datacenters bring network, compute, storage, and virtualization platforms closer than ever. After years of distributed systems the trend is turning back and IT is consolidating equipment and facilities back to a more efficient, controllable, centralized model. The biggest datacenters house hundreds of rack units of servers, storage and networking equipment, kilometers of cabling and vast AC fans. As a consequence several new problems arise:
But these challenges are not without solutions: Cisco has developed Data Center 3.0 framework to align IT resources to business needs and requirements. It improves the efficiency, responsiveness, resilience, and useful to extend the lifespan of data center assets.
The typical data center environment supports two to three parallel networks: one for data, one for storage, and sometimes one for server clustering. In addition, servers often have dedicated interfaces for management, backup, or virtual machine live migration. Supporting these interfaces imposes significant costs related to interfaces, cabling, rack space, upstream switches, and power and cooling.
Unified fabric consolidates these different types of traffic onto a single, general-purpose, high-performance, highly available network that greatly simplifies the network infrastructure and reduces costs. To do all this, a unified fabric must be intelligent enough to identify the different types of traffic and handle them appropriately.
In addition to reducing total cost of ownership, unified fabric supports broader data center virtualization by providing consistent, ubiquitous network and storage services to all connected devices.
There are two primary approaches to deploying a unified data center fabric: Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Internet SCSI (iSCSI). Both are supported on Unified Fabric, which provides a reliable 10 Gigabit Ethernet foundation.
The Nexus Family was designed to support unified fabric. Currently, the Cisco Nexus 5000 supports DCE and FCoE, while support on the Nexus 7000 is forthcoming, as is FCoE support on the Cisco MDS family.
The Unified Computing System is the next-generation data center platform that unites network, compute, and virtualization resources in a seamless system. Unified fabric plays a central role in the design of the platform.