A siloed approach complicates the environment

by Abhinna Shreshtha    May 26, 2010

Most relate virtualization with only servers but virtualization spans across many areas, opines Sumit Mukhija, national sales manager (data center) of Cisco India and SAARC.

What is the virtualization scenario currently? Are you seeing an increase in interest in other forms of virtualization like desktop, application, network, etc?

Customers have finally begun to understand what virtualization stands for. Penetration is increasing, with companies now having stopped questioning the need for virtualization.

The challenge is that though interest in virtualization has increased, most still equate virtualization with servers. Virtualization in data centers is not only about the servers. Every component in the data center can be virtualized in one way or the other.

So is a holistic view of virtualization the way forward?

Virtualization forces you to take a relook at your organization’s security policies and adopting a siloed approach can increase the chances of making the environment too complicated.

Many times you will find that with server virtualization, even some parts of your network fall under the control of the server administrator. This means that the network administrator will not be able to manage these parts if the security policies are not worked out properly.

Tell us something about what Cisco is working on currently?

We are trying to bring visibility to customers with solutions that provide a single window to the virtualized environment. One of the things we have come out with is a distributed virtual switching layer. When you deploy a virtual machine, there is no physical Ethernet or physical fiber channel, so visibility is zero. The administrator doesn’t even realize what data is getting exchanged between two virtual machines.

Our virtual switching layer lies embedded on the hypervisor. All policies like security, access control, quality of product, etc. will move with the data when it moves from one virtual machine to virtual machine.

Could you explain your unified computing system?

Unified computing is one of our key technologies for the data center. Based on industry standards, the Unified Computing System is a new computing model that uses integrated management and combines a "wire once" unified fabric with an industry standard computing platform to optimize virtualization.

With CPUs getting more and more powerful and with data center managers opting for virtualization, you will face memory bottlenecks earlier than CPU bottlenecks. All my underlying blade servers in unified computing system are abstracted from the state of the hardware and given to the centralized management console. What this does is keep my compute nodes clear, giving me the option to give them any identity.

For example, when it runs as a database server, I can give it the same parameters that a database server has.