HP And Cisco Team On Utility Computing

HP's Utility Data Center supports several Cisco switches, firewalls, and routers, letting users dynamically route workloads within their data centers.
Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems on Wednesday strengthened their resolve to deliver utility computing to companies. HP's Utility Data Center provisioning software now supports several Cisco switches, firewalls, and routers, all of which are needed to let companies dynamically route IT workloads to different servers and storage devices in their data centers. The companies also have committed an unspecified amount of money and personnel to further link future generations of Cisco networking equipment with HP's UDC hardware and software.

UDC's package of servers, services, software, and storage lets users pull resources from a pool when they're needed to serve an application. In concept, UDC competes with IBM's on-demand computing and Sun Microsystems' N1 products and services. Cisco's contributions are significant to HP's strategy, because each piece of networking equipment in a utility-computing environment must be recognized by UDC software.

"A lot of customers are interested in the ability to provision network capacity and bandwidth on the fly," says Mike Thomas, director of Cisco's alliance with HP. Cisco's Catalyst 6500 Series switches, PIX 515 Series firewalls, and 2950 routers can all be recognized by UDC software. Thomas says Cisco plans to continue writing UDC interfaces into the networking company's high-end networking and security products.

While Wednesday's announcement between HP and Cisco is a "minor footnote" to the larger trend of utility computing, it does indicate an interest on both sides to further develop utility-computing technology, says Frank Gillett, a principal analyst at Forrester Group. "Everyone is going to have to work well with Cisco gear to create data centers built on standards, commodity hardware, and consolidated management software," he says, "but what's important here that Cisco is reciprocating HP's interest."

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