Cisco, HP ratchet up data centre battle

Data centre showdown as each company invades the other's territory.

Enhancements for the Catalyst 6500 line include an in-service software upgrade and support for long-range integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet optics to reduce the time needed for planned network maintenance and facilitate virtual machine mobility across data centers. The Catalyst switches will also be getting some new IOS software that allows them to control the energy usage of attached devices.

Called EnergyWise, the software was developed under the code-name Big Bang.

EnergyWise is designed to proactively measure, report and reduce the energy consumption of IP devices such as phones, laptops and access points. The software includes application programming interfaces to Cisco third-party partner packages that will enable the management of power consumption for entire building systems, such as lights, elevators and air conditioning/heating, Cisco says.

"By attaching more things to the network it allows you to make better decisions around energy," says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with The Yankee Group. "This can be extended to security as well -- you can turn cameras on in certain areas. So there's a lot of benefits for it."

Cisco EnergyWise will roll out in three phases. In the first phase, it will be supported on Catalyst switches and manage the energy consumption of networked IP devices such as phones, video surveillance cameras and wireless access points.

In the next phase, there will be expanded industry support of EnergyWise on IT devices such as personal computers, laptops and printers. In the final phase, Cisco EnergyWise will be extended to management of building system assets such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, elevators, lights, employee badge access systems, fire alarm systems and security systems.

Cisco last week acquired Richards-Zeta, a company that develops middleware designed to allow computers and building systems to be controlled by switches and routers in an IP network.

Cisco EnergyWise is a free software upgrade to existing Catalyst switches and will be available in February. It will support fixed-configuration switches initially, with chassis-based systems -- the Catalyst 4500 being the first -- to follow on later.

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