Cisco Systems is targeting public and private sector organizations with its new transportable data center unit – a containerized and modular data center system that will feature 44RU of mountable rack space.
The modular data center container system is built in the United States as a weatherized outdoor container, but it can also be installed inside. Built to order in 90 to 120 days, the Cisco Containerized Data Center offers an alternative to building an entire brick-and-mortar data center and an easy solution to adding onto an existing data center, said Keith Siracuse, product marketing engineer at Cisco Systems.
“The key values of what we’re trying to do here is if you look at Cisco today with our switching and networking gear, we offer this whole solution. We go in and provide a network architecture to our customers,” Siracuse said.
As something aimed at large enterprises and government departments and agencies, how does the channel factor into Cisco’s go-to-market plans?
“The idea here is that we’re working with certain master integrators. … They have the expertise in the infrastructure piece. They can provide that. They work on data center applications,” Siracuse explained.
Cisco will only be working with a handful of channel partners and master integrators in taking the Containerized Data Center to market. Integrators need to have the appropriate data center certifications in place, of course, but even so, the vendor is going to keep a small cap on the number of partners it’ll authorize to sell the solution.
The Containerized Data Center unit builds on the data center expertise Cisco has been building out over the last several years. Designed to be security and provide connectivity and an easily maintainable data center facility in its own housing, the Containerized Data Center features technology from Cisco and several of its technology partners, including the VCE Vblock.
“The idea is that it’s a one-stop shop where you come to Cisco and we provide all the pieces to provide the total solution of what you’re looking for,” Siracuse said.
Building a new data center is a time- and resource-intensive process. The modular approach that containerized data centers provide means a lower time and resource investment, but it also means getting a data center up and running quickly. It also consolidates a lot of data center gear into a smaller space, Siracuse said.
“This is designed and built in the US. This is a big factor from our government customers. They don’t want to see something designed outside the US. However, it makes it more flexible for us to provide additional functionality later,” Siracuse said.
Cisco is building the system based on customer needs. Although there are elements that are standard, Cisco can integrate third-party equipment, including legacy equipment, that businesses and government agencies require in their data centers.
With 16 racks, the Containerized Data Center provides an enclosed rack system for each rack. With a chilled water cooling system, each individual rack can be given different operational temperatures and thresholds. Siracuse stressed that the solution was built from the ground up, rather than taking an existing container and modifying it.
This is Cisco’s first foray into the containerized data center market, and the company plans to take what it’s learned in constructing its first unit and using that knowledge to provide different configurations in the future, Siracuse said.