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Cisco and NetApp Expand Partnership to Unify Data Center and Public Cloud

The partnership expansion includes efforts in technology integration and solution development

Cisco and NetApp on Thursday announced an expanded partnership to deliver new converged infrastructure innovation to unify branch office, data center and public cloud infrastructures under the FlexPod architecture. The partnership expansion includes efforts in technology integration, solution development, and continued go-to-market collaboration -- all designed to make it easier for customers to deploy and access next-generation cloud infrastructure solutions.

Current IT architectures comprise a fragmented combination of infrastructure along with public, private and hybrid clouds offered by different organizations and addressing distinct customer needs. Through a shared vision of a unified data center, Cisco and NetApp offer the ability to simplify deployment, management and orchestration -- connecting enterprise clouds to service providers, enterprises to branch offices, consumers to enterprises, and clouds to clouds.

Deeper integration across computing, networking, storage and orchestration components of FlexPod, combined with broader support for its open ecosystem of partners, will greatly simplify data center deployment and management, deliver greater budget efficiency, reduce risk, and increase agile business responsiveness.

Cisco and NetApp now boast more than 2,100 FlexPod customers across more than 35 countries and over 700 channel partners. Cisco and NetApp are building on this momentum by expanding their successful decade-long partnership to deliver greater innovation.

Deeper FlexPod Architecture Integration: Cisco and NetApp are forging deeper integration across Cisco(R) Unified Data Center solutions, NetApp FAS Storage Systems, and FlexPod ecosystem technology partners to create a common foundation for data centers and service providers, from branch office implementations to cloud-scale, multi-data center deployments.

FlexPod solutions will provide the ability to manage up to 10,000 servers, allowing organizations to aggregate several FlexPod racks and enable multihop Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCOE). These solutions, tuned for service providers and distributed enterprises, enable infrastructures to be scaled with predictive performance and support.

FlexPod continues to lead on the integration of infrastructure management tools and will support Cisco UCS(R) Manager 2.1, UCS Central and Cisco's recently acquired Cloupia products. In addition, support for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC) allows cloud management solutions for FlexPod customers. Deeper integration across FlexPod at the platform level, as opposed to at the component level, will enable FlexPod to be seamlessly orchestrated by partner solutions, including Microsoft System Center and Citrix CloudPlatform powered by Apache CloudStack

Cisco and NetApp will also integrate Flash technologies at the host and storage levels, to accelerate performance across all areas of theconverged infrastructure. At the server level, applications running on Flash-optimized Cisco Unified Computing System(TM) (Cisco UCS)servers can be further accelerated with NetApp Flash Accel, while at the controller and array levels, technologies such as NetApp Flash Cache and Flash Pools can be used to access cached data faster.

FlexPod for Cloud Service Providers: To accelerate momentum in the service provider market Cisco and NetApp are developing flexible, massively scalable FlexPod solutions capable of handling multi-data-center service provider architectures. The set of solutions will bring together NetApp Clustered ONTAP(TM) and NetApp FAS storage systems with Cisco UCS servers and Cisco Nexus(R) 7000 Series Switches to create dynamically provisioned pools of server, storage and network resources that can be scaled up and scaled down by service providers depending on application requirements. These solutions will use Cisco's Virtualized Multiservice Data Center (VMDC) architecture and will include management and orchestration solutions from Cisco and from ecosystem partners such as BMC Software and, in the future, from open source providers.

Branch Office Solution: Cisco and NetApp are partnering to extend the capabilities of ExpressPod to meet the compute, network and storage needs of branch offices. ExpressPod shares a similar converged infrastructure approach as FlexPod, and as a result, it is ideally suited to branch office deployments with an easy upgrade path to FlexPod as the needs of the branch grow. This easy-to-deploy architecture can be configured to offer greater interoperability with the core organizational data center, enabling branch locations to take advantage of some of the biggest cost-saving trends in IT, such as virtualization and cloud computing. ExpressPod includes support for VMware vSphere(R) and will soon include support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.

FlexPod Application Validation: Cisco and NetApp are expanding solution coverage to add more mission-critical applications and private cloud solutions for the datacenter. Mission critical solutions include Oracle Database and applications, SAP(R) BusinessObjects(TM) business intelligence and the SAP HANA(R) platform, and private cloud offerings include Microsoft private cloud and Citrix Cloud Platform.

More Stories By Liz McMillan

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