By Troy Mangum, Sr Manager Technical Marketing, NetApp
We’ve all heard the buzzwords around “agile IT” and “agile infrastructure.” But let’s face it, true IT agility is hard to come by. To take advantage of the latest technologies, some vendors require expensive forklift upgrades, while many cloud vendors advocate a complete/wholesale change in procedures.
Today, customers with FlexPod data center solutions are making agile IT a reality without these restrictions. That’s because FlexPod is a flexible IT building block, which allows your data center to adapt to innovations such as flash and hybrid cloud without requiring new architecture. In other words, FlexPod lets you future proof your investments today, while planning for the innovations of tomorrow.
Adding Flash to Your FlexPod
Flash is a hot topic, and many vendors are bringing their point products to market and designing fast silos within data centers. By using NetApp’s operating system, Data ONTAP, you can seamlessly add all-flash arrays to your FlexPod. IT can target all-flash arrays to applications or departments using our secure multi-tenancy technologies provided by Storage Virtual Machines. This allows for large leaps in application performance at incremental cost to your current FlexPod.
Additionally, unlike many point products on the market, NetApp’s flash products are enterprise grade, which means your operations have both the speed and enterprise-grade features you need. FlexPod data centers with NetApp all-flash FAS also have the following benefits:
- Move your data from flash to disk to cloud
- Multi-data center business continuity with MetroCluster® software achieving zero recover time objectives (RTO) and zero recovery point objectives (RPO) that your critical applications require.
- Non-disruptive operations. Seamlessly upgrade, add, or decommission hardware components with no down time to your business.
- Proven application integrations such as NetApp SnapCenter® and NetApp SnapManager® for SQL, Oracle, and Exchange make sure all your recovery data is application consistent
- Inline deduplication and compression with 8.3.2 RC1 shows up to 30:1 efficiencies savings for certain applications like VDI and impressive savings with databases.
Next Let’s Talk About Hybrid Cloud
Did you know that as soon as you install your FlexPod, you are ready for the hybrid cloud? With FlexPod, customers can extend their layer 2 networking into the cloud and access their data from either in the cloud or from a colocation facility in less than 1 millisecond.
Our customers can leverage OTV (overlay transport layer), LISP, EoMPLS, etc., to extend their layer 2 networking into the cloud. The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) that comes with your Nexus routers allows for tunneling to the cloud so your data can reside securely in a colocation data center with response times of less than 1 millisecond.
Each FlexPod unit also supports NetApp’s vision of a Data Fabric. This includes a powerful feature from ONTAP called SnapMirror® that allows you to asynchronously replicate your data directly to the cloud via Cloud ONTAP in AWS or to a colocation facility “next to the cloud” called NetApp Private Storage.
Cloud ONTAP can be used as BaaS (backend-as-a-service) for Robo or small dev/test environments when your compute is hosted on AWS, Azure, SoftLayer, or Google. NetApp colocation facilities hosted by Equinix and others allow FlexPod customers to keep control of their data while leveraging the benefits of cloud computing. We take the risk out of hybrid cloud with FlexPod. We have colocation facilities set up with Google, AWS, Azure, and SoftLayer today and you can start using this today via ONTAP SnapMirror technologies.
How about SDN?
There’s lots of buzz around software defined networking. FlexPod was one of the first converged infrastructures to incorporate ACI (application centric infrastructure) technologies from Cisco. We have built ACI automation into Cisco UCS-Director workflow engine. We have also released the ACI toolkit to ‘roll your own’ automation around ACI.
Other examples of new technologies being quickly integrated into FlexPod solutions abound. These include Dev/Ops, OpenStack, IaaS automations via Puppet, and many others. With FlexPod as your foundation, you have an agile IT base from which to expand quickly into new technologies with incremental investment.