alphadogg writes "Cisco, HP and others are waging an epic battle to gain more control of the data center, but at the same time they are joining forces to push through new Ethernet standards that could greatly ease management of those increasingly virtualized IT nerve centers. The IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh specifications are designed to address serious management issues raised by the explosion of virtual machines in data centers that traditionally have been the purview of physical servers and switches. In a nutshell, the emerging standards would offload significant amounts of policy, security and management processing from virtual switches on network interface cards (NIC) and blade servers and put it back onto physical Ethernet switches connecting storage and compute resources. 'There needed to be a way to communicate between the hypervisor and the network,' says Jon Oltsik, an analyst at Enterprise Systems Group. 'When you start thinking about the complexities associated with running dozens of VMs on a physical server the sophistication of data center switching has to be there.'"