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A lot has happened in five years. From the back of a napkin in Starbucks to $5.6 billion in revenues, the dream that Cisco and NetApp shared of simplifying and modernizing enterprise IT has been realized. Today more than 6,300 customers and 1,100 partners bet on FlexPod. But we are not stopping here. Like any five year old, the future for FlexPod looks incredibly bright.


We have more than 100 validated designs supporting enterprise applications that, on average, run 20 times faster on FlexPod. We are also making it easier and simpler to buy FlexPod by complementing our CVDs with post-implementation validation tools. Cisco and NetApp are continuing to invest to make FlexPod the right choice for every enterprise.


Over a Cup of Coffee, an Idea Takes Shape

The idea for FlexPod came about when David Scoppa (Cisco) and David Yeary (NetApp) met for coffee. They realized that Cisco and NetApp partners were often selling into the same customers in siloes. Their conversation sparked a concept – what if Cisco and NetApp worked together to create a combined solution? If the idea worked, it would be game-changing for our industry.


Partners Made the Difference

A great idea is one thing, but to transform it into execution, it needed the backing of cross-functional, multi-disciplinary teams of people spread across numerous companies. For Cisco and NetApp, our alliance and partner community had to get on board.


In speaking with one of our partners earlier this week, he shared with me that he was at the very first meeting when Cisco and NetApp decided to present the FlexPod vision to our partner community. He told me that we (NetApp and Cisco) had booked a room for fifteen people and forty partners crowded in. “The room was packed and hot but no one would leave. We, (the partners), had been doing this on our own already – building converged infrastructure solutions for customers. When we heard about the FlexPod vision, we gave a resounding thumbs up.”


With the partner community behind us, we had both a game plan and a team eager to execute.


Alliance Support

Our alliance community quickly endorsed FlexPod as well. Validated designs for VMware, Citrix, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Red Hat, Epic, NVIDIA, Hortonworks and Cloudera meant that we were able to support all the leading enterprise workloads, reducing risk for partners and customers, accelerating deployments and collecting stories along with way of incredible business transformation.


Stories, Solutions and Awards

Stories like iForium, an on-line gaming company who saw performance improvements of 208% on their mission-critical applications. Or ING Direct Australia, whose transformational success with Bank-in-a-Box gave them the confidence to move their entire production environment onto a FlexPod private cloud with Project Zero Touch.


There have been awards as well with both customers and partners receiving accolades from a variety of industry award programs. Only a few days ago, NetApp was honored with an IDC Financial Insights FinTech Rankings Real Results award, which recognizes IT providers that made possible real, measurable, and future-enabling change at a client financial institution.


Thank You

FlexPod has become the integrated infrastructure of choice for many of the largest enterprises around the globe. We are incredibly grateful to our customers and partners who trusted us to get it right. And while we did get it right, it is because our partners and customers collaborated with us, providing feedback and always pushing us to deliver more. FlexPod has become a solution that we have all contributed to. It is a testament to what we can achieve when we work together toward a common goal. Thank you to our partners and to our customers. We can’t wait to see what the next five years will hold.


For more information on the five-year anniverseray of of FlexPod, check out the infographic below:



Maria Olson

Maria Olson is Vice President, Global & Strategic Alliances for NetApp, and has responsibility for worldwide go-to-market with Alliance partners. Maria and her team have oversight for teaming with the company’s portfolio of Alliance partners and internal teams to bring to market a variety of storage and data management solutions. Her responsibilities include creation of business strategies and plans, strategic alignment within the partner ecosystem and global execution that increases revenue.

Prior to NetApp, Maria was at SAP as Sr. Director of Global Business Development and was instrumental in on-boarding PwC to become a SAP Global Service Partner, and recruited over 50 PwC countries while increasing revenue and doubling pipeline. Maria has also held senior management positions at BEA Systems (acquired by Oracle), Acta Technology (acquired by Business Objects/SAP) and Hewlett Packard. She has extensive experience in business development, alliance management, product management, procurement, and supply chain operations across a variety of lines of business – from printers, interactive TV, cable modems, telecommunications — to storage products, enterprise software and solutions.

Maria earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University.