Big Data Believers: NetApp, Cisco Take FlexPod To Next Level With Hadoop

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Cisco and NetApp Tuesday rolled out a new version of their jointly developed FlexPod converged infrastructure aimed specifically at big data workloads, the first in a series of solutions targeting data-intensive applications.

Cisco and NetApp also unveiled a new naming convention for the FlexPod solutions to make it easier to differentiate among the various configurations.

The new solution for big data, FlexPod Select, provides a validated reference architecture that combines NetApp's E-series and FAS storage lines, Cisco's UCS servers and its Nexus and Catalyst switches and management software, and one of two Hadoop big data offerings.


[Related: NetApp Takes Build-It, Not Buy-It, Approach To FlashRay Flash Storage Strategy]

Customers can choose either the Hortonworks Data Platform or the Cloudera Distribution with Apache Hadoop, said Brendon Howe, vice president of products and solutions marketing at NetApp, Sunnyvale, Calif.

"We're working with the Cloudera and Hortonworks distributions of Hadoop to provide customers with fast time to market, complete configuration and flexible scaling," Howe said.

Hadoop is the first validated FlexPod Select solution, Howe said. "High-performance, high-bandwidth video and high-performance computing solutions are two examples of how we can extend this architecture going forward," he said.

It's a fabulous move, said Dennis Mueller, vice president of innovation and emerging technologies at CMT, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider and FlexPod partner.

Adding the E-series, which stems from NetApp's 2001 acquisition of LSI's Engenio line, to FlexPod Select is something Mueller said he has been hoping to see for some time.

"A lot of people look for object storage, and NetApp's E-series provides the right capacity for object storage," Mueller said. "The E-server is set up for mass units of files and data, making it much more suitable for big data than its FAS storage line."

There are a lot of big data companies in the market today, and because of the nature of data processed using big data techniques, it is actually easier for solution providers to provide big data as a service, Mueller said.

"But it's a challenging landscape," he said. "Only a few companies are poking their heads out with big data as a service. Most companies today do big data with Amazon's cloud or develop it internally."

For that reason, Mueller said, FlexPod Select is a big opportunity. "FlexPod allows customers to do big data without learning a whole new set of products," he said. "And with Hadoop packages as part of a standard offering, it will fill a gap in our solutions."

NEXT: Hadoop Taking FlexPod To New Level

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