Saturday, May 18, 2024

Cisco Opens Up a New Type of Data Center

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This week Cisco officially opened its new data center in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, in the oldest building on the campus. The new RTP data center has 18,500 square feet of space, which can fit up to 438 racks.

Going a level deeper, the RTP data center has the capacity for more than 5,000 UCS server blades, which could potentially deliver more than 125,000 virtual machines. UCS is Cisco’s server platform, providing integrating networking and virtualization capabilities.

In addition to the UCS deployments, the RTP facility uses the Cisco Nexus 7000 switches, providing a further layer of virtualization capability.

All of that capacity is being deployed with a dual-purpose.

“The primary role of the data center is application development for over 1,300 Cisco applications,” James Cribari, program manager for IT Services at Cisco told “But in the event of a declared disaster, by using the capabilities of UCS and Nexus, we can transform this data center to a disaster recovery center.”

Cribari noted that typically disaster recovery and application development requires separate discrete hardware systems. UCS has stateless blade computing capabilities, which is what enables the dual-nature of the RTP data center.

“In UCS we can create server profiles. These profiles describe how networking and storage are used, and can be easily deployed in the event of a disaster to go from one business process to another,” Cribari said. “In addition, we use the Nexus on the network side to assist in changing the data center from application development to backing up a data center in Texas.”

Cisco recently opened up a new 30,000 square foot Data Center in Allen, Texas as part of a Metro Virtual Data Center (MVDC) pairing with another Cisco data center in Richardson Texas.

While the RTP data center can be changed from an application development facility to a disaster recovery site, it is something that Cisco has had to plan for in the facilities’ equipment. In order to be able to do both tasks, Cisco has had to overprovision storage capacity.

“Yes, there will be some over provisioning to support disaster recovery and application development but it’s not a doubling,” Cribari said. “It’s an additional 20 percent capacity, to have enough storage available to do that transition.”

The new RTP site is part of Cisco’s overall data center consolidation effort that is reducing the overall footprint needed to service Cisco’s needs.

“Before we used to do application development at multiple sites including San Jose and Raleigh and now we’re consolidating all of that work into Raleigh at RTP,” Cribari said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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