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Cisco Spouts Storage, Security

Cisco outlined its future storage roadmap today, unveiling a host of products, including 4-Gbit/s switches, an encryption service for storage media, WAN optimization enhancements, and a bunch of virtualization technologies. (See Cisco Unveils Data Center Plans, Cisco Intros VFrame.)

Built on technology acquired when Cisco bought Topspin in 2005, VFrame Data Center is an appliance that virtualizes server and storage connections. "It's an orchestration engine that will grab a virtual slice out of a piece of hardware [and] set up a virtual LAN or a virtual SAN," says Bill Erdman, marketing director of Cisco's server virtualization business.

Priced at $59,995, VFrame is available now, although Cisco is not the first mover in this space. "VFrame in its initial incarnation isnt a breakthrough, as Scalent Systems’ Scalent V/OE and parts of the Opsware and BladeLogic products do similar things," writes James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research, in a note today. (See Scalent Releases V/OE 2.5, Scalent, HP to Buy Opsware for $1.6B, and BladeLogic Looks to $80M IPO.)

The analyst nonetheless considers VFrame a significant move by the networking vendor. "What makes this product different is the brand name behind it," explains Staten, adding that this opens up the possibility of linking to the rest of the Cisco product line.

Users could also reduce their reliance on physical hardware through VFrame, according to Staten. "Moving to a virtual infrastructure model where software loads, virtual connections, and availability mechanisms are fully divorced from the physical will maximize data center ROI and efficiency."

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