TechEd: Cisco Expands Microsoft, NetApp Relationships

Meanwhile, NetApp on Monday said that it has received Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track validation from Microsoft for solutions based on NetApp, Cisco UCS, and Microsoft's virtualization technology.

Both events, which were unveiled at the Microsoft TechEd conference being held this week in Atlanta, indicate the continual expansion of the Cisco UCS platform, which was unveiled just a little over two years ago.

Cisco's UCS data center technology ties server, storage and networking into a single architecture.

When Cisco first unveiled UCS, its two primary data center partners were EMC on the storage side and VMware on the virtualization technology side. VMware is majority-owned by EMC. The three, along with Intel, invested in a joint venture now known as VCE.

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However, Cisco has since added NetApp as a major storage vendor partner, and has expanded its virtualization reach with Microsoft's Hyper-V.

Cisco unveiled two new Microsoft-focused solutions based on its UCS technology.

The first is the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Fast Track Data Warehouse 3.0 for UCS, a reference architecture that was validated by Microsoft for medium to large enterprises looking to combine server, storage, and networking technologies in SQL environments. The reference configurations include storage from both of Cisco's primary storage partners, EMC and NetApp.

The second is the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 OLTP (online transaction processing) reference configuration, which was validated by Cisco as a way to use both Cisco UCS and EMC's unified midrange and enterprise storage configurations in SQL environments.

The new Microsoft-focused solutions from Cisco stem from the need to build on-line transaction processing and data warehouse reference solutions based on UCS and Windows, said Ralph Nimergood, vice president of data center channels for Cisco.

"This is a recognition by both firms that we have additional value to bring to our joint customers," Nimergood said.

NetApp, meanwhile, said it received Microsoft validation under Microsoft’s Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program with Cisco UCS for a solution to simplify private cloud deployment and operations.

That solution, the NetApp Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track solution, takes advantage of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and Microsoft System Center to help ease management and enable automation and self-service provisioning of a private cloud infrastructure, NetApp said on Monday.

The architecture design includes Cisco UCS servers and Cisco Nexus switches, Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and Microsoft System Center components, and NetApp's unified storage systems running Data ONTAP with a software bundle that includes the NetApp OnCommand 3.0 plug-in for Microsoft.

The solution is currently available, while the NetApp OnCommand 3.0 plug-in is expected to be available in August.

Nimergood said a similar solution which uses EMC storage instead of NetApp storage is not yet validated.