FlexPod Success Drives Increased Investments by Cisco and NetApp

Today Cisco and NetApp announced an expanded partnership with the FlexPod platform. These investments build upon our shared goal to deliver a converged infrastructure that unifies enterprise clouds with branch offices and cloud service providers. With more than 2,100 customers in 35 countries and over 700 channel partners, FlexPod is leading the industry as the platform of choice.

“FlexPod is one of the most complete private cloud architectures available.” (IDC)

IDC 2011 white paper, “Accelerating Converged Infrastructure with the FlexPod Datacenter Solution and the Support Alliance With today’s announcement Cisco and NetApp are building on the momentum to deliver greater innovation with investments in technology integration, solution development, and go-to-market collaboration.

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Let’s look at what was announced…

  • Greater Performance: NetApp & Cisco have integrated Flash technology in the FAS arrays and UCS blades. Flash is available in a number of manners. On the array this includes hybrid storage configurations that combine flash with spinning disk to accelerate read and write access and dedicated flash storage pools for extreme I/O intensive application. Flash installed in UCS systems can be enabled as an I/O cache with NetApp’s Flash Accel. This software provides performance acceleration for both physical and virtualized workloads.
  • Greater Scalability: Increasing the scalability of FlexPod through more powerful compute, network and storage platforms highlighted by the addition of Clustered Data ONTAP to the platform. Clustered ONTAP allows a storage cluster to scale up to 24 controllers and virtualizes data access with software-defined storage profile technology.
  • Expanded Automation & Management: The FlexPod management portfolio has long been the strongest in the industry, with the broadest set of management partners. It was strengthened with the recent acquisition of Cloupia by Cisco and today was expanded with the addition of Microsoft System Center, Citrix Cloudstack and Openstack. These are enhancements highlight the flexibility of the platform by advancing the capabilities of managing multi-hypervisor environments.
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  • Enabling Branch Offices: ExpressPod, the entry-level version of FlexPod, has will expanded beyond support for VMware’s vCloud suite to include Microsoft’s Private, which will include Microsoft Windows 2012, Hyper-V 3 and Systems Center.
  • Accelerating Cloud Service Providers: Allowing greater simplicity for Service providers, the FlexPod platform will be supported by Cisco’s Virtualized Multi-Service Data Center (VMDC) architecture. This design includes common management and orchestration technologies, as well as continued support for open source cloud computing technologies, including CloudStack and OpenStack.
  • Increasing Validated Applications: Cisco and NetApp will be adding to the extensive list of critical application design guides validated for FlexPod. Application fuel the cloud and making them rock-solid, scalable, and easy to deploy and manage is the staple of a FlexPod CVD. Today’s library includes Oracle, SAP, Microsoft apps, Citrix, and more.
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With FlexPod, Cisco and NetApp are removing the restrictions and complications inherent in alternative technology offerings. Flexibility of scale and technology enable FlexPod to be in the unique position to enable enterprise clouds to scale beyond datacenters so that they encompass branch offices and cloud providers. He end result is a location-independent datacenter providing unparalleled scale and performance, application support and mobility, and security. In others words, we expect FlexPod to continue to be the pathway for customers to adopt and expand their enterprise cloud.

Additional details on these areas of investment and more will be available to attendees of Cisco Live Europe. The breakout session “NetApp & Cisco: Expanding the FlexPod Architecture” session # BRKSPS-2501 is on Tuesday 1/29 at 11:15 am. I’ll be in the audience; maybe I’ll see you there.

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