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«The Data Center: Powering Research and Extending Collaborative Reach What You Will Learn Researchers, campus IT data center teams, and administrators ...»

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The Data Center: Powering Research and

Extending Collaborative Reach

What You Will Learn

Researchers, campus IT data center teams, and administrators increasingly rely on networked capabilities for

achieving their higher education missions. Traditionally, high performance computing (HPC) and storage

deployments have been separate from networks running a wide range of administrative and learning applications.


Cisco Unified Computing System and data center fabric solutions deliver high-powered computing capabilities to every service and application on demand, and enable rich collaboration within – and beyond – the walls of the

institution. In this paper, you will learn:

● How a unified data center fabric simplifies IT management and accelerates provisioning of new applications ● How virtualization can reduce costs while extending access ● How combined unification and virtualization power research and extend collaboration ● How a unified HPC and administrative infrastructure can help win funding and prestigious new opportunities for the institution Increasing Research Strength and Collaborative Reach Higher education institutions increasingly find themselves having to make difficult decisions about balancing computing resources between the diverse needs of their research communities, administrators, faculty members, and students.

Research activity brings the university more visibility and opportunity for partnerships with government and private-sector partners, and powerful data center computing and storage resources enable researchers to effectively create, model, collaborate, and interact. However, research computing resources cost a premium to deploy and maintain.

At the same time, budget reductions are placing nonessential programs at risk and accelerating tuition and fee increases, just when prospective students are becoming more discriminating about the colleges or universities that they choose to attend. Students expect around-the-clock connectivity and technology-enabled learning. Faculty members want to take advantage of next-generation learning features and a rich collaborative environment to connect students with experts and opportunities around the world. And administrators want to empower teamwork, simplify operational processes, and reduce costs while meeting the needs of the university community.

These conflicting priorities are placing the data center at the heart of an institution’s ability to achieve its mission. The data center has the highest potential to empower research and to connect researchers, faculty, administrators, and students with information – efficiently and cost-effectively. New advances in computing now enable institutions to move from traditional IT environments, which typically have been comprised of multiple, disparate technologies and applications, to powerful, unified computing environments that dramatically improve efficiency and capabilities.

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In addition, layered on top of specific departmental applications are a range of new Internet-based tools such as video portals, podcasting, blogs, wikis, and discussion forums. These tools appeal to students who rely on continuous connectivity to a wide range of computing platforms and mobile consumer devices. Figure 1 shows the different applications that have become standard communication tools for internal and external collaboration.

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The challenge for administrators and IT teams is to simplify communication and collaboration across their own institutions, between institutions, and with public and private partners. More than ever, colleges and universities are expected to support these tools and provide broader access, more network bandwidth, and new applications while maintaining network integrity, security, compliance, scalability, backup capabilities, and disaster recovery readiness.

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A consolidated data center supports high scalability for unpredictable HPC needs without added provisioning or management complexity. A unified data center fabric requires fewer switches, fewer adapters, and less cabling, all of which significantly reduces cost. Cisco Unified Data Center solutions have been deployed across numerous universities and research facilities, including some of the largest compute clusters in the world.

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Unification and Virtualization Empower Collaboration A unified, virtualized architecture breaks down barriers between content formats, individual tools and services, and organizations. A unified data center fabric extends virtualization beyond just computing and storage resources, making it possible to deliver network resources with on-demand capacity for applications across the institution.

Virtualization across a unified data center fabric also provides IT with unparalleled visibility into the network and with policy enforcement capabilities to help ensure network security and service-level agreements for various groups of users. By extending virtualization throughout the infrastructure, secure new services, such as cloud-based applications, can be deployed to support research, administrative applications, next-generation learning, and rich collaboration environments.

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Figure 3 illustrates how a unified, virtualized infrastructure supports collaboration services and applications. The infrastructure layer of the architecture unifies virtualized computing, network, and storage resources, which are available on demand for the entire network. Policy and security management in the collaboration services layer allows an institution to securely extend collaboration beyond the firewall to other institutions and research partners.

The collaboration services layer also delivers a comprehensive set of network-based services, such as presence, tagging, and content management services that simplify and enrich collaboration.

Figure 3. Supporting Collaboration Services and Applications Through a Unified, Virtualized Infrastructure Communication and collaboration applications on the top layer tap network services and infrastructure to provide a seamless collaboration experience to users.

Through these applications, institutions can provide interactive media conferencing, video-based services, social media applications, and mobile applications that serve any user, anywhere, with any device. As the numbers of users and devices increase, collaboration tools can easily be added to support users’ needs without requiring significant infrastructure overhaul.

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Simplify the Data Center Environment A unified infrastructure delivers improved application availability, security, performance acceleration, and performance monitoring for all network services. It also accommodates almost any IT system form factor, such as Cisco dedicated appliances, embedded modules, and VMware virtualized platforms, giving higher education institutions great flexibility and providing compatibility with existing investments. Services can be delivered from the network core, computing edge, or both, for superior flexibility to support both traditional and virtualized data center environments.

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Intercompany Cisco TelePresence:


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© 2010 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 11 of 11

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