For 3 years now, the market development of the converged IT stack Flexpod has been one of my tasks at NetApp. And during this time I have often wondered whether the general run on hyperconverged systems could make the solution less attractive to our customers – it didn’t! Demand for converged infrastructures (CIs) remains at a very high level. That is also revealed by the Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, published by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in April. FlexPod is a joint development by Cisco and NetApp, and while some market participants had to give up, Flexpod’s share grew by 16.3 percent. Yet, what is the secret of its success? And who can benefit from it?

 

FlexPod was developed with the objective of delivering maximum agility, the key feature for the digital transformation of a company’s IT. The infrastructure comprises NetApp FAS storage, Cisco Systems’ UCS (Unified Computing System) and hypervisor technology. The components are preconfigured and tested. NetApp and Cisco have validated a total of 170 designs. Thus, a company can choose the suitable reference architecture on which to set up the configured components, for example applications such as ERP, databases, 3D VDI or web apps. This system configuration can then be tailored to the customer’s individual requirements to an extent of up to 30 percent – which is the actual competitive advantage for the customer. As a result, this highly flexible concept can be used for SAP (HANA) apps, analytics or DevOps – and even cutting-edge container technologies.

One architecture, umpteen specifications

Selected channel partners are responsible for distributing, installing and adapting FlexPod. The integrators know every single activity that needs to be done, e.g. in an SAP environment, and they are able to implement different specifications from one architecture. It is possible to implement on-premises scenarios, local clouds and hybrid concepts where NetApp Data Fabric is deployed. Users have zero implementation risks and obtain an open architecture which dovetails seamlessly into an IT landscape. Scaling is performed as required within the configuration, independently in the server, network or storage layer. The solution is soon up and running to simplify and automate IT operation. After all, this platform can be used to run a large number of consolidated applications which run with a reliable level of performance based on large power reserves. As a result, business-critical applications achieve top speed while ensuring secure, reliable operation.

More adaptive convergence

FlexPod continues to be at the forefront of customization. It is the best prerequisite for building a powerful and flexible IT system that supports business despite new challenges, all while promoting internal digitization of a company and equipping them for the future. Our customers are always impressed by Flexpod’s versatility, which is why they support their digital future with this data center building block. Anyone who is about to decide to renew their data center today should definitely consider this private cloud gem in addition to cloud concepts.

 

In the next six blogs I will talk about the exciting applications in SAP/Hana, 3D VDI, container technologies, DevOps, cloud connectivity and analytics.

Hermann Wedlich

Hermann focuses on developing IT business solutions and models for the digital transformation built on NetApp and eco partner offerings within the EMEA platform and solutions group. His mission is to generate and enable a momentum of positive change for NetApp customers, partners and their own sales force, towards new IT architectures and smart data services. Hermann has over 20 years of experience in IT, engineering and business development and is part of the NetApp EMEA AI and ML expert team, where he drives technologies and use cases for these new IT domains passionately.

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