In traditional infrastructure, the rollout of new applications or major software updates means re-engineering. A lot of planning and design sessions need to be held to understand and define the needs on compute, networking and storage. In today’s world, with sparse IT resources, IT leaders need to focus on what is important for internal and external customers. The key is to understand the business requirements , translate them into IT services that help support efficiency and growth. With Converged Infrastructure this is possible. FlexPod is a turn-key solution that reduces the engineering efforts by proposing reference architecture for the legacy workloads like database based workloads, VDI, Big Data and Analytics. This frees up resources for more strategic tasks.flexpod image.png


Today’s Converged Infrastructure solutions can be designed, sized and ordered easily. In the time of traditional architecture, a minimum of three IT architects (one for compute, one for networking and one for storage) have to sit together to understand the application requirements for the hardware components. With reference architectures, like the FlexPod Validated Designs, customers can directly find a reference architecture, and do not need to engineer their infrastructure like in the old days. Additionally, the application testing is much shorter since the most typical workloads (databases, server and desktop virtualization, Hybrid Cloud) have already been tested and validated by the vendors providing the validated design.


In the past, the weakness of converged infrastructure systems was orchestration. In the early days of Converged Infrastructure, customers had still to set up and configure each device on their own and do cumbersome testing. Today, these solutions can be provisioned and managed like a single system with a single pane of glass. For FlexPod, the full stack can be provisioned and managed within one single tool , the UCS Director from Cisco. This means faster time to market and ease of deployment, which is a top requirement for the majority of today’s IT organizations.


Some customers use these new tools to set up their full datacenters or their regional datacenter in a couple of hours instead of weeks or months. Linxdatacenter is an example of a service provider who built its data center on Cisco, NetApp and VMware and leveraged the automation of the solution to set up the datacenter in a short period of time. Zajit Telecom made the same experience with FlexPod. This automation, however, is not just important for service providers, but also enterprises with large remote offices or branches (sometimes also production plans) need exactly the same tools to be more effective in remote locations where they do not have local resources.


It is not just about the initial implementation though. Today, business requirements need to be mapped to  IT services quickly, and the orchestration tools need to also support the administrators to implement new applications or any kind of services on the existing infrastructure. Customers like Cyta Hellas report that this can be done with FlexPod in a matter of minutes. This means agility for the IT department, which is only possible by treating the full converged system as one entity, that can be managed by a single management as seen by Aegis Media.


Finally, with process simplification and automation Converged Infrastructure is getting as simple as Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) without the classical drawbacks: lack of flexibility and upgradeability regarding the components of the stack (compute, networking, storage).


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Christian Lorentz

Christian has held a variety of positions as System Engineer, Consultant, Product Marketing Manager and Product Manager for Digital Equipment, Chipcom, Cisco Systems and Riverbed. Christian joined NetApp in 2015, as Sr Product and Solution Marketing Manager for EMEA , and has over 20 years’ experience in the networking and storage arena.