Now with over 7,000 customers, FlexPod® continues to give an advantage to IT organizations looking for efficient, accelerated deployments of data center infrastructure.


Last summer, the FlexPod team released an infrastructure guide showcasing NetApp All Flash FAS in our FlexPod Datacenter solutions. This summer, the FlexPod team is bolstering agility and performance of the FlexPod portfolio with Cisco UCS M4 servers, NetApp All Flash FAS, and best practices for leading workloads. NetApp All Flash FAS accelerates application performance with up to 20 times reduction in latency. Cisco UCS Servers, such as the Cisco UCS B460 M4 blade server, deliver superior performance and stability for your FlexPod workloads, and have set over 100 world-record benchmarks. The new validated solutions include virtual desktop, database, backup, and updates to base infrastructure.


Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Cisco UCS M4 servers and NetApp All Flash FAS help take FlexPod to new levels with our latest virtual desktop solutions. The flexibility and scale of FlexPod solutions have enabled customers to start with sub-1,000 seat deployments with the confidence that they can scale to tens of thousands of users. Scaling with confidence requires an idea of how these desktops will perform with the deployment and booting of massive amounts of users simultaneously.


Fortunately, both of these latest designs validate the results of several thousand users booting off of a single NetApp All Flash FAS controller. FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp All Flash FAS and VMware Horizon validates the provisioning and initial boot of 1,250 persistent full-clone desktops with an additional 1,250 non-persistent linked-clone desktops. FlexPod Datacenter with Citrix XenDesktop / XenApp 7.7 and VMware vSphere 6.0 for 5000 Seats demonstrates reliable cold-start desktop virtualization at scale by booting 5,000 desktops in under 15 minutes. In addition to boot storm tests, both of these solutions were stress tested with a script that simulated common application usage, including sending email and accessing documents with common office applications. Typical maintenance activities were also validated for each solution. A refresh test simulated a return to default for new users, such as a kiosk being cleared for new users each day. Finally, a recompose test simulated changes and additions to applications or updates to operating systems.



With near-site disaster recovery, what performance would you want from your replica database? The FlexPod Datacenter with Microsoft SQL Server 2014, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and NetApp All-Flash FAS solution demonstrates primary and secondary database replicas on NetApp All Flash FAS storage. A secondary database can deliver the same performance as the primary-that is, up to 200,000 IOPS with an average read latency below 1ms for a typical OLTP workload, such as credit card transactions or airline reservations, while in a synchronized state. Additionally, backups can be taken from the secondary database copy to offload backup and validation processing from the primary infrastructure. This enables more seamless backup, recovery, and cloning. The result is a reliable platform for Tier 1 SQL workloads.


Data Fabric

Organizations looking to deliver cloud archive with high performance data centers can review our newest data fabric focused design. FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp AFF and the NetApp AltaVault cloud integrated storage appliance is a shared, verified, and proven solution spanning private and public clouds. Veritas NetBackup Catalog and Veritas NetBackup Replication Director are shown with AltaVault and FlexPod to show best practices on backup management, revision management, and archive management. These solutions offer ease of use and a low cost of ownership not typically seen with traditional tape backup methods.



Our best practices for the FlexPod Datacenter base platform are being further updated with two new guides for VMware vSphere 6.0 U1. Both of these guides include Cisco UCS B200 M4 servers, Cisco UCS C220 M4 servers, and NetApp All Flash FAS with Data ONTAP® 8.3.2. The FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco ACI and VMware vSphere 6.0 U1 Design Guide validates Cisco ACI on this high-performance FlexPod platform. FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnect and VMware 6.0 U1 Design Guide brings the UCS 3rd Generation Fabric Interconnect onto the FlexPod platform, providing future-proof connectivity with support for both 40Gbps Ethernet and 16Gbps FC. The inclusion of Cisco UCS Manager 3.1 gives customers greater flexibility in their compute management with FlexPod. This release allows customers to connect Cisco UCS C-Series servers directly to Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnects without requiring a Fabric Extender (FEX). Additionally, customers can deploy both UCS 6200 and UCS 6300 Fabric Interconnects in the same management domain.


Learn more about the FlexPod advantage at or visit for the latest information on FlexPod Validated Designs.


Nathan Antons