Cisco Systems and one of its frontline storage partners, NetApp, said July 30 that they have updated their co-developed FlexPod data center system--which is based on Cisco's Unified Computing System--to work for specific use cases.
FlexPod, which uses NetApp storage arrays to go with Cisco servers and networking, is designed for heavy-duty cloud computing workloads involving hundreds of servers. It is a head-on competitor to the VCE VBlock (a partnership of EMC, VMware and Cisco) unified server-storage-networking system, which also uses Cisco servers and networking.
Does that squeeze Cisco Systems in between two huge storage competitors--EMC and NetApp--in an ostensibly uncomfortable triangle? You bet it does, but the world's largest IT networking company has proven it can play nicely with competing customers for a long time, so there's no reason to think arrangements like this cannot continue.
Good sales numbers always triumph in the end; if all three companies profit, egos will remain silent.
FlexPod Sales Have Been Good
Indeed, the sales have been good. In a bit over two years since the FlexPod launch, Cisco and NetApp now have sold them to 2,400 customers globally and have amassed more than 70 public references; channel partners have exceeded 900 and are expected to surpass 1,000 soon.
The key value-add here? NetApp and Cisco contend that FlexPod is the first secure multi-tenant storage architecture that integrates across a high number of platforms. That case may be arguable by several other storage companies, including Dell Compellent, HP 3PAR and CommVault.
Back to the new product. Specifically this week, Cisco and NetApp broadened the FlexPod portfolio with new validated use-case designs across the entire portfolio; the most important one is FlexPod Select for dedicated data-intensive workloads. Another is a configuration for Hadoop batch analytics workloads.
FlexPod Select with Hadoop helps minimize the risk in deploying Hadoop by validating the open-source analytics platform for storage, compute, connectivity and management, NetApp Vice President of Marketing Brendon Howe told eWEEK.
What Choices Does FlexPod Offer?
The FlexPod portfolio now includes FlexPod Datacenter (formerly FlexPod) for core enterprise data centers and service providers, FlexPod Express (formerly ExpressPod) for medium-size businesses and branch offices, and FlexPod Select for those aforementioned data-intensive workloads.
FlexPods, which come pre-configured as a single block unit, are designed to satisfy the current industry requirement for unifying storage, networks, applications and analytics (such as big data) into a more automated system. The new offerings fit into the joint strategy of Cisco and NetApp to unify IT in branch offices, core data centers, service providers and dedicated application infrastructures, Cisco Vice President of Unified Computing Systems Jim McHugh told eWEEK.
Specifically, FlexPod Select combines high-performance NetAppR E-Series and FAS storage systems, Cisco UCSR C-Series servers, Cisco NexusR switches, and CiscoR management software. FlexPod Select is the first solution in the FlexPod design portfolio to feature patented NetApp E-Series platform as an option for data-intensive workloads, McHugh said.
The new FlexPod Selects are available now. Go here for more information.