Chad Sakak, the Virtual Geek, had a very good post the other day, primarily talking about the use of Ethernet tags (VN-Link) to support cross functional management in Cisco\VMware UCS environments.
I like the whole idea of network tags as a mechanism for federating distributing systems - and by that I'm referring to servers and the SAN storage they use. If the Fibre Channel industry had done it right back in the nineties, they would have included tagging - at least for Fabrics. VLAN tagging was already a known technology and I'm sure the FC fabric people understood it, but it was not included. I suppose the reason tagging wasn't included was the desire to make fabrics as compatible with FC loops as possible. Whatever, if there had been tags with FC fabrics, we probably wouldn't have had to deal with zoning, LUN masking and all the pains of change management in large SANs. In short, the promise of SANs would have been realized by many more customers than it has been.
One of the coolest things I see with Cisco's leadership role in virtualization is their desire to exploit tagging as a way to manage and operate the networks. If they are able to create standards that work across functional boundaries it will make the whole industry much more efficient. Using tagging between local datacenter and utility (or cloud) data centers would probably make it much easier to build out transparent, distributed compute infrastructures.
I find myself being very very excited by Cisco's vision for UCS, but doubting that they will be able to survive as a server manufacturer. If they don't make it as a server company, does that mean they would abandon some of their lofty plans? Repeating the phrase of the week - it's going to be interesting.