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"It's interesting they left the software options open, at least at first," Norbie said. "It shows there are opportunities for Cisco in Microsoft and Citrix environments. That doesn't say anything against VMware. It's just good for Cisco and its customers. Not every customer is the same. The ability to adopt to the customer's environment is good for the solution provider."
The new ExpressPod is slated to ship in the second half of November. Brian Allison, director of business development at Cisco, said the ExpressPod will be available both as a reference architecture for solution providers that prefer to do the integration of the solution at the customer site, and as fully integrated solutions through distribution partners.
At the higher end of the converged infrastructure business, NetApp and Cisco unveiled support and validation for VMware vSphere on NetApp's Data ONTAP 8 storage operating system in Cluster-Mode, a move Fore said enables storage pools to scale across multiple storage devices.
That new clustering capability also allows nondisruptive data migration of hundreds of virtual machines at a time for load balancing, system maintenance or device upgrades, he said.
"Customers will be able to move data across nodes, or off one node to another to upgrade a node," he said.
Initially, the FlexPod will be able to scale to 24 nodes with clustering, with expansions to scale to near-infinity to come over time, Fore said.
Also new is the ability to virtualize Oracle RAC databases with VMware vSphere and vCenter based on validated design and documented best practices from NetApp and Cisco, Fore said. Such support was previously available on the FlexPod for SAP, Microsoft, Citrix and VMware workloads, he said.
PUBLISHED OCT. 10, 2012