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Cisco jumps into portable data center market

James Niccolai | May 5, 2011
Cisco hopes the containers will be a vehicle to sell more of its server, networking and other products.

Cisco doesn't provide that infrastructure or the services to put it together. It has partnered with "master integrators," such as Johnson Controls, that will do that work for the customer.

Other vendors that already sell containerized data centers, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and i/o Data Centers, haven't disclosed shipment figures. It's not thought to be a big market -- IDC has estimated a few hundred units per year -- but the big IT vendors see enough potential that nearly all now have an offering.

"Over the past year we've really started to see this market gain traction," Siracuse said. There's a lot of interest from the health care market, oil and gas exploration companies, government agencies, and the education market, including academic research centers that are running out of data center capacity, he said.

Cisco's entry in the market steps up its rivalry with HP, IBM and Dell, which have already seen Cisco encroach on their server businesses with its Unified Computing System, which combines server hardware and network gear in a single package.

"We're trying to expand our data center applications, and we need this as part of the portfolio," Siracuse said. "This is our first product. We'll be looking at other solutions moving forward," he said.

Pricing will vary depending on how the product is configured and deployed, he said. In general, containerized data centers typically cost more than US$1 million, including the IT equipment inside.

 

 

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