Cisco Systems introduced a new technology this week that provides what it says is a simpler method to transport large volumes of information across data centers.

The technology, called Overlay Transport Virtualization (OTV), is a new feature of the Nexus 7000 switch operating system and essentially allows data centers to dynamically allocate resources across multiple data center locations via gigabit speed Ethernet links.

Cisco says the technology will make the challenge of transferring large payloads, such as virtual machines, between data centers simpler and opens up new possibilities in such areas as data center consolidation and disaster recovery.

“As its name suggests, [OTV] is really an overlay technology that can be deployed across data center sites,” Cisco Data Center Solutions Architect Max Ardica said in a Cisco video blog explaining the technology.  “It can be deployed without changing the design principles of the data center network … you maintain the network as is, by following the best practices, and you overlay this technology on top.”

The new technology is part of what Cisco calls its Data Center 3.0 strategy. Cisco says OTV works by creating a control plane through authenticated links between Nexus 7000 switches (called edge nodes). LAN traffic can then be routed transparently over any IP-based infrastructure.

Telecom service providers, data center hosting and co-locations specialists are expected to become early adopters of the technology. Cisco noted that Norwegian telecom provider Telenor Group plans to use the technology to consolidate 22 data centers down to four. Using OTV, Telenor plans to create what would be essentially one large “logical” data center.




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