Unified Computing Demands Unified Management

cscoThe big news in the networking world today is of course Cisco's Unified Computing announcement. We applaud any kind of innovation that aims to make the lives of IT easier, and given Cisco's heft in the market place, this one certainly has the potential to shake things up. Some thoughts and reactions from the ExtraHop perspective:

  1. Unified Computing is a great vision, and a great evolutionary step for the data center. The concept is not new of course, other IT giants have been talking different variations for a while. (HP's Adaptive Enterprise and IBM's Grid Computing comes to mind) Unified fabric, integrated management, ability to scale up or down elegantly to support changing needs of the enterprise are those "motherhood and apple pie" type of features that everyone has been touting for a while now. What's different this time is with the mass adoption and relative maturity of virtualization technologies, they may no longer be just pies in the sky.

  2. Unified Computing Demands Unified Management. As Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala said, "the key to unified computing is manageability". I think it's fair to say that the primary goal of the unified computing model is to lower IT costs, and we all know that the bulk of the cost over the lifetime of any IT asset is the management cost. We won't be able to realize true IT cost nirvana until we've reined in the manageability monster. Cisco is acutely aware of this, hence their introduction of the Cisco USC Manager. While a unified UI for provisioning and configuration is much needed and we wish Cisco great success in bringing this to market, another crucial piece is unified performance management. This is another area where we need the old silos to be broken down, so that IT can manage networks, storage, applications etc. in a holistic, integrated way. With ExtraHop's application-aware delivery assurance platform, we believe we can bring a lot to the table here.

  3. New switching solutions mentioned in this release promises to bring more visibility to the virtual networking layer, which has been sorely needed. Becoming more like its more mature physical cousins will shed light into application behavior when it's entirely within the boundaries of the virtual layer. Then management solutions like ExtraHop can take advantage of this visibility and provide a more complete picture, unifying the physical and virtual infrastructure layers, and knocking down another management silo in the process. We'll all have to wait and see the full implications of today's announcement as it ripples through the data center world, but certainly, this is a harbinger of things to come. - Helen

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