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Cisco and NetApp celebrated their three-year FlexPod partnership by teasing the cloud-enabled upgrades that that companies have planned for the platform.
In a brief statement, the companies said that they are preparing "several technology enhancements to better enable IT and service providers to become cloud providers." FlexPod is an integrated system offering (compute, storage and networking) meant to speed IT infrastructure deployment and configuration in enterprise computing environments.
Their joint FlexPod solutions have caught the attention of data center operators, according to Marcus Phipps, senior manager of Data Center Solutions Marketing for Cisco. He noted in a blog post that during the past three years, "we've experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally."
Last year, the companies said they had attracted 1,300 to the platform by October. In January, they announced that they had 2,100 customers on board. ISI Group analysts Brian Marshall and Stephen Patel observed in a research note that gaining 800 new customers in just a few months suggested "strong momentum for FlexPod/ExpressPod has continued in recent months."
Cisco and NetApp plan to keep that momentum going by revamping FlexPod with new features. "These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures," said Phipps.
The next generation FlexPods will offer deep integration of UCS Director 4.1 and NetApp's Data ONTAP clustered storage operating system. Also in the works are FlexPod Datacenter editions with NetApp MetroCluster, a data protection platform, and Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3, the networking giant's private cloud-enabled reference architecture.
Cisco is adding more potent server processors into the mix. "The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset. We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers," stated Phipps.
FlexPod support services now have a new technology partner, Citrix. The company has been added to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program. "Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues," boasted Phipps.
Patrick Rogers, vice president of Solutions and Integrations at NetApp, revealed a new proof of concept, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform (RHEL-OSP) on FlexPod. The designs brings the increasingly popular open source cloud software foundation to the FlexPod ecosystem, which already includes "Microsoft System Center, VMware vCenter Orchestrator, CA and BMC," noted Rogers in a separate blog post.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation.
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