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Data center market shift brings Cisco channel changes

The data center market is changing, and Cisco is looking to position itself as the main data center consolidation platform by strengthening partner and distributor relationships.

Systems Channel News Roundup for the week of April 26-30, 2010.

Cisco focuses on partner relationships in data center market

As the data center market continues to evolve, and with rival Hewlett-Packard lurking in the wings, Cisco has pledged to improve partner and distributor relationships and certifications.

Cisco Systems is looking to its partners to help overcome competitors in the data center market and make Cisco the main data center consolidation platform.

At the Cisco Partner Summit this week, the company introduced a new bundle that includes its Unified Computing System C250 with VMware vSphere and its Nexus 1000V distributed virtual software switches, according to Cisco and VMware have also tried to boost their data center market presence by financing pre-approved virtualization assessments -- a reward for partners that have earned Cisco's Data Center Networking Infrastructure Specialization.

Distributors were critical for Cisco during the recent economic decline and will be equally important to Cisco's Virtual Computing Environment Coalition, a virtual infrastructure partnership with VMware Inc. and EMC Corp. In June, Avnet Technology Solutions will become the only distributor in North America to carry the Vblock 1 system, which will enhance data center management and usage.

Other changes that will affect Cisco partners include a focus on specializations for certifications, instead of product-focused designations, and the creation of a Global Partner Network in fiscal year 2011. That will create a more formal structure for multi-partner collaborations, the company said. Cisco has also launched the Teaming Incentive Program, which encourages partners to invest in pre-sales activities.

Linux community gives Xen the cold shoulder

KVM appears to be the virtualization infrastructure of choice for the Linux community as more hosting providers and Linux kernel developers discontinue Xen implementation, maintenance and guest updates.

Red Hat recently released a beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 last week that uses Kernel-based Virtual Machines (KVM) instead of Xen. Hosting providers, including IBM and NTT Communications, have voiced their intent to offer KVM-based services instead of Xen. KVM is also supported by Canonical's Ubuntu and will be supported in Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 Service Pack 1, according to

Some experts say that Xen has been on the down slope for quite some time. The Linux community was unable to integrate the Xen Domain 0, or Dom0, into the mainline Linux kernel. (Not having Dom0 directly in the Linux kernel led to slower development and longer testing times.) KVM, on the other hand, has been integrated into the mainline kernel since September 2007, with the release of Linux 2.6.20.

And although KVM suffers from inadequate management support, many experts in the Linux community praise it for it for being a part of Linux, because it does not require an additional layer to install and maintain, and Linux guests easily run on KVM.

CloudLinux to be part of Parallels Plesk Panel 9.5 control panel

Parallels will include CloudLinux as a Linux operating system option in the new Parallels Plesk Panel 9.5 control panel.

The Parallels Plesk Panel 9.5 control panel is designed to decrease downtime, increase control of the operating system and assist solutions providers with server management.

CloudLinux was attractive to Parallels because of its Lightweight Virtual Environment (LVE) technology that offers solutions providers more stable shared hosting environments. LVE is kernel-based and allows solutions providers to control the CPU and I/O demands to ensure that a single site will not prevent a server from running at full speed.

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