With an eye toward providing an open utility architecture, Cisco Systems last week unveiled its new compute networking and virtualization architecture, VFrame. The architecture combines a set of InfiniBand-based SFSes (server fabric switches) with the VFrame virtualization software suite. Although much of this release finds its roots in Cisco’s acquisition of TopSpin, the company has gone to significant lengths to rebrand and extend the technology in time for this announcement.
“We feel VFrame represents a big step forward in utility and virtualization computing because it’s the first truly open utility architecture,” said Stu Aaron, director of the server virtualization business unit at Cisco.
Aaron bases this statement, however, on VFrame’s library of vendor-specific APIs. Thus, “open” in this context really translates into support for as many third-party APIs as Cisco can get its hands on, rather than on some new technology Cisco might have developed and released into the wild.
Even so, VFrame constitutes a significant step forward in terms of utility application deployment. By offering the VFrame library of APIs, Cisco makes it easier for developers of existing apps to port their software into an effective utility/grid model.
And by using VFrame as the “glue” between utility deployments and their hardware layers, Cisco offers one of the first intervendor utility and virtualization management suites in the industry. It is not strictly heterogeneous, as managed devices still need to be VFrame-compliant, but within its boundaries, it has one of the widest vendor libraries, including Altiris, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Tivoli.
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