Cisco has announced that it's integrating its VFrame Data Center with VMware Virtual Infrastructure. The networking company called it "a key solution for the Cisco vision of next generation data centres, called Data Center 3.0".

Cisco server virtualisation marketing manager Bill Erdman said: "VFrame is about the integration of our provisioning platform that offers a level of virtualisation integrated with VMware. That integration is to provide the same kind of boot capabilities across the network as we've already been shipping for Windows and Linux. so the benefit is that the customer could build a utility farm of servers that they choose from when they want to boot a Linux server or a Windows server, or an ESX server.

"And if they have all these pre-configurations - we call them templates - then within a moment's notice they can bring up new capacity into any one of those compute groups, ESX included. And we've been working on the ESX environment to configure the boot from the SAN but also the shared LUN environment.

"You can take ESX and rather then load it on a per server basis that takes hours, you can take a bunch of boot images and based on the capacity required within an ESX cluster, we can bring the server up within five minutes," said Erdman.

According to Cisco, VFrame DC has four modular components: design, discovery, deploy, and operations, which are integrated together with a robust security interface that allows controlled access by multiple organisations. The system also offers a two way policy API with VMware VirtualCenter to coordinate the configuration, said Cisco.

Cisco said its integration with VMware's VI3 offers enhanced IT automation capabilities, including added VMware ESX Server capacity on demand, as well as orchestrated configuration of network services. It means increased IT agility and flexibility, faster coordinated provisioning of storage and network resources, and improved business continuance, reckoned Cisco.

"Cisco and VMware share a joint vision for driving and supporting a service-oriented approach for the data centre," said Cisco's server virtualisation VP Krish Ramakrishnan. "Together our efforts support the IT collaboration that will be required across organisations to streamline operations and take advantage of the data centre technology advancements to come."

Cisco said that the VFrame DC can provision network services for Internet-facing applications running on VI3, including firewalls, content load balancing, switch and server trunks, and access control lists, from a single GUI-based service template. This integration enables network, storage, and security IT groups to collaborate using a common design interface, said Cisco.

"VMware customers are used to being able to rapidly provision and configure virtual infrastructure," said Brian Byun, vice president of global partners and solutions, VMware. "Now, with Cisco's integration of VFrame DC, customers can also get similar benefits for their physical infrastructure. VFrame DC enables coordinated provisioning of physical resources (network, storage and server) to complement their virtualised infrastructure."

"Cisco and VMware are clearly viewing the data centre as a set of virtualised resources all orchestrated together," said FusionStorm CTO Vince Conroy. "Cisco VFrame Data Center is one of the first products to be released that begins coupling these together, including the integration of VI3 servers, with virtualised networking services. We are very interested in working with customers to help integrate these two very exciting products together."

The product release follows Cisco's $150 million investment in VMware just before the virtualisation company went public last month.