But unlike some of the older approaches, the spokesman explains, Cisco OTV does not require any network redesign or special services in the core, such as label switching. OTV is simply overlaid onto the existing network, inheriting all the benefits of a well-designed IP network while maintaining the independence of the Layer 2 data centers being interconnected.
Terremark, a cloud service provider based in Miami, uses Cisco OTV to link 13 data centers in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. The company says there is a significant savings compared with taking a "do-it-yourself" approach to linking data centers, due to reduced complexity and OTV's automated fail-over system that helps multiple data centers act as one if disaster strikes.
"Implementing the ability to balance loads and/or enact emergency fail-over operations between data centers traditionally involved a dedicated network and complex software," says Norm Laudermilch, Terremark's senior vice president of infrastructure. "With Cisco OTV, Ethernet traffic from one physical location is simply encapsulated and tunneled to another location to create one logical data center."
Virtual machines from one location can now use VMware's VMotion, for instance, to automatically move to another physical location in the event of a failure.
5. Priority-based e-mail storage
Communication is what drives a business, but too often the bits and bytes of an e-mail exchange are treated in the data center as just another data set that needs to be archived. Messagemind automatically determines which e-mails can be safely archived onlower-cost systems.
The tool analyzes all company communication -- tracking which messages end users read, delete or save -- and then groups them according to priority level.
Data center administrators can use that information to store e-mail based on priority level, which in turn can save money. For example, instead of storing all e-mails in one high-cost archive, messages marked as low priority -- based again on the end user's clicking behavior -- can be stored in lower-cost storage systems. High-priority e-mail can be stored on higher-performance, and higher-cost, media.
That same behind-the-scenes analysis can be used outside the data center, rolled up into a dashboard that managers and end users can view to help them on projects. For example, business units can view e-mail diagrams that show who is communicating effectively on a project and who seems to be lagging behind and rarely contributing.