Unique data center readied

Cisco built for R&D, disasters

Staff WriterSeptember 10, 2011 

Cisco Systems, one of the region's biggest employers, is set to open a new $100 million data center in Research Triangle Park that CEO John Chambers touted as a major commitment to this region during his visit here last year.

Cisco plans to use the two-story lab to develop and test software applications. It will double as a data recovery center during emergencies. Cisco, the nation's largest computer networking company, hopes to sell its customers on buying its routing and switching equipment to build similar data centers for themselves.

The Silicon Valley company, which employs 4,800 in RTP, is so high on the data center's potential it's hosting an open house next week to show off the facility. The company says the dual function - R&D lab and disaster recovery - are unique in the industry.

"It's not the biggest data center, or the baddest or the greenest," said Cisco spokeswoman Lee Davis. "It's just a humble data center, but this dual nature is really unique. It's a way of using the plumbing in a new way that no one has been able to do."

The new data center did not require hiring employees; its workforce is distributed throughout Cisco's global office network. Cisco last month laid off 170 in RTP as part of a companywide reorganization that will result in the elimination of about 6,500 positions in a bid to cut $1 billion in annual operating expenses.

The RTP center is one of six in Cisco's empire, but the only one that can switch to disaster recovery mode.

Cisco will use the center to develop software it uses to run its own business. The software automates such functions as billing, shipping, product orders and human resources.

The data center is in Building One on Cisco's RTP campus, the first building the company occupied here in the 1990s.

The 18,500-square-foot site will use 2.8 megawatts of power when fully operational.

john.murawski@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8932

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