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NetApp and Cisco Wednesday introduced an entry-level version of their FlexPod converged infrastructure, dubbed ExpressPod, in a move to expand the market for the combined server, storage, and networking solutions to smaller-size business customers.
The two also expanded their FlexPod offering at the high end with a new clustered version and model with a validated VMware solution Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC).
The new ExpressPod entry-level converged infrastructure solutions target businesses with up to 500 users where the IT department may be consist of a single generalist struggling to manage the company's entire IT infrastructure, said Adam Fore, NetApp's director of solutions marketing.
"This enables us to address an entirely new customer set," Fore said.
Unlike the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution, which provides application integration with software from companies such as Oracle and SAP, cloud integration and flexible configurations, the ExpressPod comes in only two fixed configurations targeting the software needs of the typical SMB, Fore said.
"The ExpressPod is a distinctly different design from the FlexPod," he said. "The FlexPod has several features and capabilities such as advanced management and flexibility the ExpressPod doesn't. And the ExpressPod comes in only two versions. It's much simpler."
For small businesses, the ExpressPod can be configured with two Cisco UCS C220 M3 servers, a NetApp FAS2220 storage array and a Cisco Nexus 3048 switch. Midsize businesses can order a version with four Cisco UCS C220 M3 servers, a NetApp FAS2240 array and the Nexus 3048 switch.
The introduction of the ExpressPod shows just how closely Cisco and NetApp are working together to expand the market for their technologies, said Keith Norbie, vice president of Nexus, the Minnetonka, Minn., office of Stratos Management Systems, an Atlanta-based solution provider and NetApp partner.
"They're moving their technology downmarket," Norbie said. "This will mean big benefits for NetApp customers looking to move into a server-friendly environment for NetApp storage."
Whereas the FlexPod is typically targeted at VMware-centric deployments, the ExpressPod seems to be suitable for a wide range of operating environments deployed by small businesses including the Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer virtualized environments, Norbie said.
NEXT: Expanding FlexPod At The High End