FlexPod Express

By Nate Antons, Solutions Marketing Manager, NetApp

At NetApp Insight in Las Vegas, the FlexPod team met with our customers and partners to celebrate five years of converged infrastructure leadership.  Aside from noting the incredible momentum that FlexPod has earned in the marketplace, we introduced a set of next generation capabilities for FlexPod. Capitalizing on significant solution investments made by Cisco and NetApp almost a year ago, these next generation capabilities give FlexPod customers an almost unfair advantage when it comes to realizing impactful business outcomes.

FlexPod now not only accelerates deployments to reduce risk, but also optimizes enterprise applications, supports any cloud strategy, and simplifies IT deployment and operations. Some highlights include:

Optimizing Applications

Optimized enterprise application performance enables faster decisions and better business outcomes.  FlexPod delivers high performance capabilities across the entire platform of network, compute, and storage. NetApp storage delivers scalable, non-disruptive operations for critical and shared workloads with Clustered Data ONTAP.  All Flash FAS combines these capabilities with the ability to run database applications up to 20 times faster.  Applications are served on Cisco UCS Servers, with over 100 world-record performance benchmarks.  Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) reduces TCO, automates IT tasks, and accelerates data center application deployments.  This functionality simplified automation with an application-based policy model that unifies isolated network, security, application, and cloud teams through the entire application lifecycle.  With easily mapped connections between applications and system policy, time to service can be reduced from weeks and days to minutes.

Two new designs validate orchestration and automation of SAP HANA solutions with Cisco ACI and Vnomic Automation.  FlexPod for SAP Applications with Cisco ACI enables organizations to rapidly deploy SAP HANA based applications while also meeting critical performance requirements.   FlexPod for SAP Applications with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure Using Policy-Based Automation and Vnomic dramatically accelerates and simplifies the deployment and operation of large-scale SAP applications and SAP HANA databases, eliminating error-prone processes, and aligning network behavior with application requirements.

Another of our newest validated designs showcases the introduction of NetApp All Flash FAS storage systems into the FlexPod platform.  All Flash FAS brings together enterprise class data protection, non-disruptive operations, unified storage, and with the high performance of a Flash storage system. All Flash FAS is also validated with VMware vSphere 6.0 and Cisco ACI for extended best practices in the deployment of virtualized application infrastructure on our high performance platform.

FlexPodTranscend Cloud Constraints

FlexPod deliver consistent capabilities with common network and server components for a trusted platform at core datacenters as well as the edge.  Clustered Data ONTAP delivers common data management capabilities in flash, disk, and cloud environments.


The benefits of Clustered Data ONTAP become evident when multiple FlexPods are deployed across the data center and remote locations, allowing the enterprise to move data between storage systems without having to interrupt the application. With these capabilities, the FlexPod platform transcends the constraints of traditional data centers.  Enterprises looking to deploy new applications at their network edge, or to extend their resources into hybrid clouds, can do so with the foundation of a consistent FlexPod platform.

Last Spring, we introduced a technical report for Hybrid Cloud by combining NetApp Private Storage with Cisco Intercloud Fabric.  FlexPod also delivers the ability to deploy a public-cloud-compatible private cloud with an OpenStack validated design.  NetApp, Cisco and Red Hat have teamed together to validate an OpenStack-based data center infrastructure solution.   Applications can be deployed on Red Hat OpenStack in either public or private cloud environments, and moved more easily as organizational needs change.  This option changes the economics for organizations looking to move or scale applications in house as they mature.

FlexPod also extends the capabilities of scalable offerings across the enterprise with a new design for Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop 7.6 on the FlexPod platform.  With this offering, Citrix-based virtual applications and desktops can be scaled across an enterprise with a modular pre-validated design.  Additionally, FlexPod validates the use of a NetApp AltaVault backup solution, increasing the choices available for cold storage with validated cloud backup.

Simplifying Converged Infrastructure

FlexPod liberates constrained IT resources through accelerated deployments, but also through the simplification of deployment and ongoing operational tasks.  FlexPod also simplifies deployment at remote offices through consistent, prescriptive solutions with a similar infrastructure as in the data center, through FlexPod Express and FlexPod with UCS Mini designs. Centralized management and orchestration support, including Cisco UCS Director, has been another key component of simplifying and automating operations with FlexPod Datacenter.

At Insight, the FlexPod team introduced several new capabilities and designs that simplify the deployment and operations of FlexPod solutions.   With advances that make FlexPod simpler to buy, simpler to deploy, and simpler to own, we address simplicity and agility across the FlexPod lifecycle.  A solution that makes FlexPod simpler to buy is the new FSA One Frameworks offering.  This is a new collaborative offering from Cisco, NetApp, and Avnet offering a family of pre-validated, pre-integrated FlexPod configurations available for purchase through reseller partners. This extends the convenience of pre-validated solutions through the option of pre-assembled configurations.  FlexPod Express solutions have made FlexPod simpler to deploy with prescriptive templates targeted for remote offices and midsize businesses.  These solutions are extended with new designs for FlexPod Express, simplifying deployments for current releases of VMware and Microsoft virtualization.

FlexPod will also deliver more tools to protect your FlexPod investment with augmented management for the lifecycle health of FlexPod.  With expanded assessment tools and documented practices for partners, FlexPod partners will be able to delivers services to manage FlexPod at a platform level and help customers preserve the asset value of the FlexPod investment over time.

Read more about the newest validated designs with FlexPod on NetApp.com.


Nathan Antons