Major systems management vendors have already been calling Cisco Systems with a view to integrating its VFrame virtualization device with their products, the networking giant has said.
Launched only last week, the VFrame is appliance that automates the configuration of network connections to blade servers that have been remotely booted, in order to speed the provisioning or re-provisioning of those blades to different applications.
That might sound like it would overlap with other automation products such as IBM’s Tivoli Provisioning Manager, but Cisco said that while IBM and others have focused on the server side of provisioning, Cisco is focusing on the networking side of the task.
Cisco demonstrated the box publicly last week. At that stage it said that the VFrame includes an API that will allow it to take commands from high-level systems management tools. Those might be monitoring application performance, and could instruct the VFrame to help provision more servers to a slow-running application.
Yesterday Cisco’s product manager Bill Erdman said: We showed the VFrame working with Tibco’s Active Matrix, because we’ve got a strong relationship with Tibco. Without specifically naming names, he added: We’ve also been getting calls from the HP, BMC and IBM’s of this world.
According to Cisco, there are around 15 to 20 network configurations that have to be set before the remote or network boot of a blade server. Erdman said that these include configuration of firewalls, content load balancers, layer-2 logical partitions for VLANs and VSANs, and trunk attributes between blade servers and network switches
Because those take a long time to configure manually, businesses wanting to easily and quickly re-allocate multiple blade servers from one application to another have had to simplify their networks, according to Cisco.
That’s been the issue – orchestration of the network connections. Some customers will even flatten out their systems because of this, for example by not having any content load balancing, he said. You may not need firewalls for every application, but the minute you put up an ecommerce application, you need it, he said. If we’re not allowing for that, we’re not giving customers what they really need.
The VFrame list at $60,000 for a system that covers 25 servers, and can scale to 500 servers at a list price of $500,000.