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Cisco and VMware buddy up for VFrame Data Center

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Cisco put some flesh onto its scrawny "Data Center 3.0" virtualization initiative at VMworld today, by announcing the union of its VFrame Data Center provisioning appliance with VMware's Virtual Infrastructure 3.

Using VMware ESX Server capacity on demand, Cisco aims to give the provisioning of physical resources a kick in the pants to meet the speed of provisioning on virtual machines.

The VFrame can now provision all network services for internet-based applications running on VMware Infrastructure using a single GUI-based template. This includes firewalls, content load balancing, switch and server trunks and access control lists.

The integration allows the VFrame to load VMware ESX Server onto bare-metal computer hardware — something that previously could only be done with Windows and Linux — and configure the network and storage connections that ESX needs. The two vendors snuggled close to create a two-way policy API (based on SOAP and XML) to coordinate the configuration.

Cisco claims the VFrame can load ESX Server onto physical hardware from a SAN in under 10 minutes. The VFrame also automatically configures the SAN back-end, including SAN fabrics and shared LUNs (logical unit numbers), based on predefined design templates.

The VFrame was launched by Cisco in July as the headliner of its Data Center 3.0 campaign, which at the time, focused more on promises of future announcements than substance. The VFrame is a 1U appliance that links compute, storage and network resources as virtualized network services.

It's certainly no surprise that Cisco is going the VMware route. Not only is VMWare the current virtualization market leader, but Cisco invested $150m in the company's recent IPO. Despite this, Cisco is not ruling out similar deals with rival virtualization players such as Microsoft and XenSource. ®

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