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Cisco SVP Takes Five

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Storage Networking World -- Data center technology is moving toward a new world in which storage, computing devices, and networking gear can be unified to serve common application goals, according to Jayshree Ullal, SVP and general manager of the Security, Switching, and Data Center Technologies Group at (Nasdaq: CSCO).

"My dream and vision is one in which consolidation is not just on one level; security turns from a noun to an adjective; virtualization is reality; management is inherently built; and applications can be seamlessly delivered," said Ullal, in a talk at Storage Networking World today.

Ullal made five predictions about the future of data center technology. Here's a rundown:

  • Consolidation: In Ullal's view, data centers are only just starting to see the benefits of consolidation. Today's "post-9/11" focus is on regrouping data center gear physically, with a central site and one or two redundant ones. This shift is evident, Ullal maintains, in the adoption of blade servers instead of server farms and in the use of denser storage arrays and larger, more director-driven SAN fabrics.

    Over time, the physical consolidation everyone's focused on will become a move toward virtualization and other management techniques. Where storage networking has relied on port-level information and MAC addresses, products are moving to block-level provisioning, which will help untie physical resources from their actual locations.

  • Security: Security can't be about perimeter control alone, Ullal says. An "onion layered" approach needs to replace point solutions, and the industry needs to tie security to application and content. She speaks of an "anti-x engine" embedded in applications, which will be able to detect anomalies before malware can do any damage. "The industry is moving to more embedded security solutions."

    SANs will play a key role in security by detecting policies about content handling. A SAN could detect whether email and IM policies are being followed and deny service or access to certain protocols or apps. The goal is to check at every step of the way in the network infrastructure.

  • Virtualization: "Virtualization is a loaded term that means different things for different technologies," Ullal says. There's virtualization of memory, wherein a pool of memory is assigned to a range of CPUs; network resources, where bandwidth is assigned as needed to different applications; servers, where processors are allocated to CPUs according to specific applications; and virtualization of storage.
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