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Cisco And NetApp To Expand Their Partnership To Deliver New Converged Infrastructure Innovation


Written by  Sorab Ghaswalla | 28 January 2013
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flexpod architectureThe over 2,100 global FlexPod customers of Cisco and NetApp will now find it even easier to deploy and access next-generation cloud infrastructure solutions following the decision by both companies to expand their partnership to unify branch office, data centre and public cloud infrastructures under the FlexPod architecture.

A press release said both Cisco and NetApp had decided to enter into an alliance for a unified data centre with stress on technology integration, solution development and continued go-to-market collaboration. This would allow for the simplification of deployment, management and the orchestration of connecting enterprise clouds to service providers, enterprises to branch offices, consumers to enterprises, and clouds to clouds.

In the present scenario, IT architectures comprise a fragmented combination of infrastructure along with public, private and hybrid clouds offered by different organizations and addressing distinct customer needs, but the new partnership would lick this problem. A deeper integration across computing, networking, storage and orchestration components of FlexPod, combined with broader support for its open ecosystem of partners, will greatly simplify data centre deployment and management, deliver greater budget efficiency, reduce risk, and increase agile business responsiveness.

By building on this tie-up, Cisco and NetApp now plan to deliver greater innovation, including:

  1. Deeper FlexPod Architecture Integration across Cisco Unified Data Centre solutions, NetApp FAS Storage Systems and the FlexPod ecosystem technology partners to create a common foundation for data centres and service providers, from branch office implementations to cloud-scale, multi-data centre deployments.
  2. The ability to manage up to 10,000 servers, allowing organizations to aggregate several FlexPod racks and enable multihop Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCOE).

FlexPod is one of the leading platforms offering the integration of infrastructure management tools and will support Cisco UCS Manager 2.1, UCS Central and Cisco’s recently acquired Cloupia products. Deeper integration across FlexPod at the platform level, as opposed to at the component level, will enable FlexPod to be seamlessly orchestrated by partner solutions, including Microsoft System Centre and Citrix Cloud Platform powered by Apache CloudStack.

According to Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco, the past decade of partnering with NetApp had proven to be successful in bringing a Cisco validated, FlexPod architecture to Cisco customers. The expanded partnership will help deliver deeper technology integration and broader solution development across the unified data centre for an open, scalable, multicloud infrastructure.

Cisco and NetApp will also integrate Flash technologies at the host and storage levels to accelerate performance across all areas of the converged infrastructure. At the server level, applications running on Flash-optimized Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers can be further accelerated with NetApp Flash Accel, while at the controller and array levels, technologies such as NetApp Flash Cache and Flash Pools can be used to access cached data faster.

To accelerate momentum in the service provider market, Cisco and NetApp are developing flexible, massively scalable FlexPod solutions capable of handling multi-data-centre service provider architectures. These solutions will use Cisco’s Virtualized Multiservice Data Centre (VMDC) architecture and will include management and orchestration solutions from Cisco and from ecosystem partners such as BMC Software and, in the future, from open source providers.

The partnership will also see the extension of the capabilities of ExpressPod to meet the compute, network and storage needs of branch offices. ExpressPod shares a similar converged infrastructure approach as FlexPod, and as a result, it is ideally suited to branch office deployments with an easy upgrade path to FlexPod as the needs of the branch grow, said the press statement. This easy-to-deploy architecture can be configured to offer greater interoperability with the core organizational data centre, enabling branch locations to take advantage of some of the biggest cost-saving trends in IT, such as virtualization and cloud computing.

Cisco and NetApp are also expanding solution coverage to add more mission-critical applications and private cloud solutions for the data centre. Mission critical solutions include Oracle Database and applications, SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence and the SAP HANA platform, and private cloud offerings include Microsoft private cloud and Citrix CloudPlatform.

[Image Credits: Cisco]

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla

Sorab Ghaswalla is the Founder of India-based digital world consultancy firm, New Age Content Services LLP, an Internet Entrepreneur & Consultant, a journalist, and owner/Editor of 2 websites. In his free time, he contemplates the larger implications of digital life.

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