Unification: A Gradual Evolution

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print

Cisco Systems and solution providers believe demand for unified data centers will accelerate as technology and designs mature. Value, they say, will come from designing efficient, lasting computing infrastructures.

The path to a wholly unified network will be gradual, Middleton says, so while Cisco forges ahead, he’s focused for now on helping customers design and build networks that are smarter, faster and more efficient.

John Growdon, director of Cisco’s Go to Market Technology, Worldwide Channels group at Cisco, says easing customers into a unified strategy will help them achieve growth and efficiency now, and also help prepare them and Cisco’s solution providers for new technology enhancements still to come.

"We do want partners to be able to deliver these high-end technologies all at once, so they don’t have to go out and do them piecemeal," Growdon says, but there is a fine line to walk between helping foster growth and advocating a costly 'rip-and-replace’ mentality.

Gourlay says Cisco solution providers who can help customers extend the lifecycle of their networking and data center infrastructure benefit now by helping customers consolidate, cut infrastructure, energy and management costs. Partners are also helping plant the seeds of innovation by preparing customers for the time when they do have to make significant upgrades to their infrastructure.
"It’s about buying [customers] enough time with the infrastructure they already have as well as preparing them and the solution providers that service them for enterprise class networking, data center and cloud computing services on those infrastructure investments," says Gourlay.

The data center is a key area where solution providers can do both, says Gourlay, since the data center is hardly ever seen as a discretionary expense, even in today’s economy.

"Data centers are a $200 million black hole of cash–they are not cheap, there’s a huge initial expense of frontloaded capital that’s expected to last 10 to 15 years," Gourlay says. The reality, however, is that the IT assets that go inside a data center are rendered obsolete about every five years, putting companies in a bind.

"Every five years, that $200 million building you built is unusable, or at least not usable in the capacity you need it to be," says Gourlay.

By leveraging consolidation and virtualization, Growdon says solution providers can deliver 30 percent more compute power from servers while reducing end user’s power expenditures, infrastructure and other physical costs. These kinds of efficiencies can help solution providers and customers drive new business opportunities now and pave the way for future investments, he says.

This pragmatic approach to these technologies doesn’t disrupt customers’ existing business and also helps to create efficiencies and savings and to drive new business, he says.

"Rip-and-replace isn’t the way to go – but in areas where customers are looking at growth opportunities and making new infrastructure investments anyway, here’s how partners can help them achieve that by implementing new technologies," says Gourlay.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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