Cisco, NetApp Beef Up FlexPod, ExpressPod For Branch-To-Cloud Scalability

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Cisco is also bringing automation technology from its recent Cloupia acquisition, as well as its Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC), to help with automation of FlexPod in cloud deployments, Cisco's Snyder said.

Scalability to the cloud is also being enhanced with the addition of NetApp Clustered Ontap technology.

All the enhancements also help increase support for FlexPod in CloudStack and OpenStack environments, Howe said. "Our strategy is to be open," he said.

On the branch office side, Cisco and NetApp are enhancing ExpressPod, their SMB version of FlexPod, with support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V virtualization in addition to the VMware VSphere support it had in the past.

Also new for ExpressPod is NetApp's Ontap Edge software, Howe said. Ontap Edge allows the building of virtual storage appliances based on NetApp's Ontap storage operating system that run in the ExpressPod's Cisco UCS servers so that an ExpressPod in a branch office will not need a separate NetApp storage solution, he said.

Both the Hyper-V support and the Ontap Edge virtual storage appliance option will be available later this year, he said.

As a result, Snyder said, FlexPod now has a strong service provider go-to-market offering.

"There's natural momentum building for our existing channel to move to the service provider business, as well as opportunities for new potential partners," he said. "We're scaling down to the branch office with ExpressPod, and to the cloud, which means new opportunities for partners."

Solution providers who partner with NetApp and Cisco on FlexPod said the new scalability enhancements will bring them new ways to work with customers.

Bringing Cloupia and Cisco IAC together with FlexPod makes a lot of sense, especially as FlexPod starts being deployed with thousands of servers and with multihop FCoE, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and FlexPod partner.

"We've been doing Cloupia with FlexPod for some time now," Woodall said. "Cloupia with FlexPod is like fries and a shake with your burger. It's purpose-built for FlexPod."

NEXT: Partners Like The FlexPod Cloud Service Provider Angle

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