Cisco and NetApp are making their FlexPod converged infrastructure platform fit for the increased requirements in hybrid cloud environments. The pre-integrated FlexPod package consists of Cisco’s UCS servers and network equipment as well as storage components from NetApp. According to the manufacturer, around 10,000 customers use the platform launched in 2010.
With their help, users can put workloads productively faster and more efficiently, writes Siva Sivakumar, senior director of the Computing System Platforms Group at Cisco, in a blog post. This reduces the complexity within the IT landscapes. Sivakumar highlighted the collaboration between Cisco and NetApp. In the past twelve years, both companies have put more than 250 man-years into the joint development of the platform. The result: Over 200 FlexPod reference architectures for a wide variety of use cases and workloads.
The latest result of the collaboration is “FlexPod XCS”. Cisco and NetApp have been working on the new version since June of last year. Many customers are currently in the midst of a major changeover, states Sivakumar. This is often confronted with increased complexity, loss of control and operational challenges that can hardly be mastered with the existing IT teams.
For companies, it is therefore a question of modernizing and standardizing their infrastructure and operations. “Customers are evaluating every available tool to expand their internal resources and capabilities, including automation, visualization, and a variety of hybrid cloud and SaaS services,” says the Cisco executive. The goal is to increase IT productivity and agility to achieve better operational results while reducing operational costs.
According to the manufacturer, this is what the FlexPod XCS aims for. The new version is optimized for hybrid clouds and makes it easier to manage and automate cloud-native applications. For this purpose, Cisco’s cloud operations management platform “Intersight” has been more deeply integrated into FlexPod. In the future, customers will be able to view and manage all FlexPod components from a central console on the Intersight dashboard. This allows them to recognize changes faster and increase their responsiveness.
Intersight provides users with tools to visualize, optimize and orchestrate applications and infrastructure. According to Cisco, the console can be used to display the operational status of existing and new FlexPods, including inventory, health, warnings and lifecycle recommendations.
In addition, users could leverage automated scripts from NetApp to simplify infrastructure configuration, deployment, expansion, usage, and optimization. This also works without the intervention of the IT department. Cisco’s Intersight is also more closely linked to NetApp’s storage and data services, the storage provider added. In this way, data storage in the cloud can be managed more effectively.
In the future, the FlexPod platform will also be available in an as-a-service model, so that customers can buy and use the package as needed. FlexPod XCS is expected to be generally available in mid-2022.