NetApp Extends FlexPod Alliance with Cisco

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In celebration of the third anniversary of their alliance, NetApp and Cisco have extended the range of systems they jointly offer the cloud while extending their management reach out to the branch office. Based on the Cisco Unified Compute System (UCS) and storage from NetApp, FlexPod systems are a set of pre-integrated integrated servers that can now scale from small office to hyper-scale cloud computing deployments.

Compatible with the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 series processors, a new FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3 platform provides a blueprint for service providers looking to build multi-tenant clouds, while FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster provides an implementation for traditional IT environments that need built-in disaster recovery and continuous availability capabilities.

In addition, the two vendors announced that UCS Director 4.1 and UCS Central management software has been integrated with NetApp clustered Data ONTAP in a way that extends the reach of both offerings from the data center to the branch office. And finally, Citrix has joined Microsoft, BMC Software and CA Technologies as a member of the FlexPod Cooperative Support program, which makes sure customer support representative dedicated to FlexPod from all those companies cooperatively work together simultaneously to resolve customer support issues.

These announcements come on the heels of the recent addition of support for 10G Ethernet networks for the FlexPod servers.

According to Mark Balch, director of Cisco data center solutions, unlike other providers of pre-integrated servers, Cisco is working with both EMC and NetApp to allow customers to choose what storage architectures should be integrated with Cisco UCS platforms.  In the case of FlexPod, says Adam Fore, director of solutions marketing for NetApp, that now means being able to manage instances of FlexPod from the branch office all the way to hyperscale cloud computing environments.

Pre-integrated servers are changing the way systems are both designed and managed. But as time goes on, it’s also becoming increasingly clear that those pre-integrated server architectures can be applied across technologies from multiple vendors just as easily as if one vendor had created the entire platform.