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Summary:

Cisco is no stranger to the green IT scene. It has publicly announced its smart grid intentions and, for years, has touted the carbon-cutting benefits of its teleconferencing technologies. But when it comes to data centers, Cisco has been outgunned by its rivals. While IBM mounted […]

Cisco is no stranger to the green IT scene. It has publicly announced its smart grid intentions and, for years, has touted the carbon-cutting benefits of its teleconferencing technologies. But when it comes to data centers, Cisco has been outgunned by its rivals.

While IBM mounted huge campaigns like Big Green and Smarter Planet, the computer networking giant has kept a comparatively low eco-profile. So far, Cisco’s green efforts boil down to dabbling in energy management, moving into the smart grid, cutting the energy consumption of its network hardware and reducing packaging — an odd state of affairs considering the company’s position as a prime supplier of data center–focused IT equipment.

But in recent weeks, Cisco has been demonstrating that it does indeed have a green data center strategy, even if it isn’t shouting it from the rooftops. This week’s roll out of EnergyWise 2.0 — an upgraded version of its network energy management tool — expanded its reach into a network’s nooks and crannies and opened up the platform to developers to help lay the groundwork for energy-aware networks. The company is also making a play for the containerized data-center market, centered around fast and efficient Lego-style data center builds.

I think Cisco’s on the right track, and I’ve laid out my reasoning over at GigaOM Pro (subscription required). What about you? Can Cisco catch up in this market, or are its efforts too little too late?

By Pedro Hernandez

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  1. Cisco’s EnergyWise 2.0 doesn’t really call out a plan for a green data center. EnergyWise is positioned as more of an enterprise energy control tool, interfacing with PoE devices, VoIP phones, desktops, and some network switches. (see http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps10797/index.html)

    As far as the data center is concerned, this week’s announcements were primarily around the hardware — switches, routers, etc, and their ability to communicate power information (http://blogs.cisco.com/innovation/comments/round-up_of_new_cisco_borderless_networks_technologies/). This concept is not new, HP (with iLO & Insight), Dell (with their BMC), IBM (with their BMC & Director), and Sun (with ALOM) have been doing this on their high end servers for years. It also isn’t a comprehensive “green data center strategy”, since they’re not addressing the thousands of other pieces of equipment in a data center and the management of those pieces — infrastructure, cooling, power distribution, servers, and storage to name a few. The question is, how does EnergyWise actually play into UCS, the main Cisco data center initiative?

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