Do you think you know FlexPod®? Read on to learn much more about it in this first installment of the FlexPod Survival Guide blog series. You might already know that at the heart of the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution are two types of validated designs: Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and NetApp® Verified Architectures (NVAs). Whichever design you choose to deploy, you can rest assured that it is designed, validated, and documented by a team of skilled Cisco and NetApp engineers along with our software ecosystem partners.


The CVDs and NVAs offered as part of the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution include two different types of guides: design guides and deployment guides.


The first type of guide, the design guide, is written by the engineers who have architected the particular FlexPod design. It describes what infrastructure components were used in the design, how they were put together, and the benefits provided to FlexPod customers. An example of one of our newer design guides is the FlexPod Datacenter with VMware vSphere 6.5 Design Guide.


The second type of guide, the deployment guide, is written for engineers by engineers. It contains step-by-step prescriptive guidance about how to put a FlexPod configuration together, including configuration steps for the network, storage, compute, hypervisor, and (where appropriate) software layers. This document contains prescriptive guidance about what makes a pile of equipment on the loading dock a fully functional FlexPod configuration. An example of one of our newer deployment guides is the FlexPod Datacenter with VMware vSphere 6.5, NetApp AFF A-Series and IP-Based Storage Deployment Guide.


The recently published VMware vSphere 6.5 guides are a great example of a FlexPod configuration solution. This is a base infrastructure and hypervisor, ideal for running a variety of virtualized workloads. In addition, we create many CVDs and NVAs for workloads on top of these configurations. One of our newest and most interesting FlexPod solutions is 3D FlexPod: 3D Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Visualization with TGX on FlexPod Express or FlexPod Datacenter. Once again, our engineers have illustrated exactly what is needed to get this solution up and running.


In addition to CVDs and NVAs, the FlexPod engineers work on tools to help our partners design, quote, and deploy FlexPod to help minimize time to market for our customers. We also develop labs for our NetApp Lab on Demand, demos for trade shows, customer and partner training, and YouTube videos such as FlexPod Datacenter for hybrid cloud. The Cisco and NetApp engineers are committed to customer and partner success in everything we do.


You might have noticed that I have mentioned the engineers who design and build FlexPod several times. Those of us who work daily with these engineers are very close to the FlexPod converged infrastructure solutions. We are former systems engineers, professional services engineers, consultants, and administrators who take great joy in getting deep into technology, while helping others avoid any pitfalls that might arise along the way. Our knuckles have been scraped putting cage nuts in a rack; our brains have been fried in consternation troubleshooting IP address collisions and DNS issues (because we all know it is always DNS, right?). Wouldn’t it be great for FlexPod partners and customers to find out a little bit more about FlexPod, straight from the source?


We thought so too. Welcome to the FlexPod Survival Guide blog series. It will feature blogs written by the FlexPod engineering team to give you a glimpse into our world. We will also share tips and tricks we have found useful and how we are using our vast experience to make FlexPod better each and every day. So stay tuned for more articles in the series and get ready to dive deeper into FlexPod.

Melissa Palmer

Melissa Palmer is a solutions architect in the NetApp Infrastructure and Cloud Engineering team. She is also VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) #236. Prior to joining the Infrastructure and Cloud Engineering team, Melissa was a systems engineer for NetApp and a VMware engineer for a number of enterprise environments. Melissa has bachelor of engineering and master of engineering degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology.

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