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Cisco Systems is opening a new data center that is going to take on multiple roles for the networking giant, from acting as a showcase for its wide-ranging data center technologies to driving down costs through its multiple environmentally-friendly features.

The facility, which officially opened April 15 in Allen, Texas, will serve as a key step in Cisco’s cloud-computing and virtualization ambitions. I will also help the company pare down the number of data centers it’s currently running and will support Cisco’s internal operations.

It will be paired with a Cisco data center in nearby Richardson, Texas, in an active-active model to enable the two facilities to create a virtualized and dynamic IT services cloud and to serve as backup sites for each other, according to Cisco officials.

“We are using all the relevant Cisco technologies” in the facility, John Manville, vice president of IT at Cisco, said in an interview with eWEEK before the opening.

Top data center players, like IBM and Hewlett-Packard, have been using their own facilities to not only drive down costs and consolidate multiple data centers, but also to showcase for customers the capabilities of their technologies. HP officials in 2006 announced plans to consolidate 85 global data centers into six, using their own technologies to create highly flexible, energy-efficient, scalable and virtualized facilities that can be used as a proof-point for customers. They also have said that the project gave them greater credibility when talking to customers about data center transformation.

Manville said the new facility in Texas would do the same for Cisco. Company officials conducted a study three years ago taking a look at Cisco’s data centers and determined that the vendor needed to make its data centers more efficient and resilient, and needed to change how IT operated.

“We effectively needed to become an internal service provider,” Manville said.

For more, read the eWEEK article: Cisco’s New Data Center Offers Cloud Capabilities, Green IT.