News Release

Cisco Extends Data Center Architecture to Include Compute Networking and Virtualization

New InfiniBand-based Server Fabric Switching Portfolio and VFrameTM Data Center Virtualization Software Enable First Network-Centric Approach to Utility Computing
Sep 28, 2005

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 28, 2005 - Cisco Systems, Inc. ® announced today general availability of the InfiniBand-based Server Fabric Switch (SFS) portfolio and new VFrameTM 3.0 data center virtualization software, the latest elements of its Data Center Networking Architecture portfolio.

Complementing the on-demand or utility offerings of system and storage industry leaders, these new technologies provide an intelligent data center backbone and control system designed to allow customers to flexibly interconnect and provision their data center compute, I/O, and storage resources on-demand across a programmable high performance network fabric or grid. Customers benefit through improved resource utilization, faster provisioning, and reduced downtime.

"While InfiniBand has received early acceptance in the high-performance clustered computing market, it is exciting to see the adoption of this technology now in mainstream enterprise deployments as well," said Vernon Turner, group vice president and general manager of IDC's Enterprise Computing. "Combining InfiniBand with the virtualization capabilities of VFrame, Cisco has essentially delivered an open utility computing infrastructure that allows customers to get the benefits of on-demand computing with their individual server and storage platforms of choice."

Server Fabric Switch (SFS) Portfolio

The new Cisco SFS product portfolio utilizes InfiniBand technology to provide a high performance unified fabric for connecting servers together into grids of compute resources. Coupled with the SFS advanced Ethernet and Fibre Channel gateway technology, this combination helps seamlessly connect these server grids with shared LAN and SAN resources connected through Cisco Catalyst switches or Cisco MDS 9000 storage networking switches. The SFS portfolio includes:

  • Cisco SFS 7000 Series InfiniBand Server Switches
  • Cisco SFS 3000 Series Multifabric Server Switches
  • Cisco InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters

"InfiniBand is a compelling technology for our customers," said Jayshree Ullal, senior vice president of the Cisco Datacenter, Switching and Security Technology Group. "By taking advantage of its inherent security and control capabilities, in addition to its well publicized high bandwidth and low latency characteristics, we are able to deliver to our customers high performance networking combined with the economics of a unified fabric and the flexibility of data center virtualization."

Cisco InfiniBand customers span the high-performance computing (HPC) and enterprise data center markets, including financial services, entertainment, energy, transportation, and education. Customers include Airbus, Brigham Young University, Fitch Ratings, Georgia Institute of Technology, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and Ordnance Survey.

"We chose Cisco InfiniBand Server Fabric Switches as a high-performance, scalable solution to accelerate database server speed and reduce system response times," said Coert Oosterom, director database systems, Fitch Ratings. "We also expect to reduce costs and simplify our topology by using Cisco VFrame I/O virtualization technology."

Data Center Virtualization with VFrame

VFrame provides virtualization, orchestration, and provisioning services to address Cisco data center resources, including: switching, data network, load balancing, and security products. It will become the foundation for a Cisco virtualization software suite that will deliver end-to-end manageability, control, and virtualization across the data center network.

"By taking advantage of Cisco VFrame 3.0 server virtualization software and SFS products, we are able to deliver EDS Virtual Server Services (VSS) to our enterprise customers," said Larry Lozon, vice president, Hosting and Storage Services, EDS. "This collaborative effort enables us to connect standard server, storage and network components together into a highly flexible hosting fabric to enable utility-based computing services to our clients. We're excited to be the first global IT services company to bring this capability to market through the EDS Agility Alliance with Cisco."

VFrame offers customers and ecosystem partners a single interface to provision Cisco data center infrastructure rather than addressing each Cisco product and technology individually. Instead, VFrame makes system-wide intelligent decisions and then marshals the appropriate infrastructure resources that are required to provision a new application on-demand and deliver its required performance, security, and availability attributes. VFrame 3.0 supports applications on both Linux and Windows operating systems. For more information about Cisco server networking and virtualization, visit