Cisco, NetApp Up the FlexPod Ante

FlexPodCisco Systems Inc. and NetApp Inc. continue to turn up the volume on their jointly developed FlexPod converged infrastructure platform, this week introducing a series of updates that should be of particular interest to VARs and solution providers looking to make the leap to cloud services.

The FlexPod enhancements include improved automation of integrated infrastructure, new business continuity solutions, and the validation of new products and reference architectures that wrap in solutions from Citrix Systems Inc.

First out of the gate are validated designs for IaaS cloud providers aimed at enabling a new generation of service providers, according to NetApp and Cisco officials. The duo introducedFlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center design for partners looking for a scalable, secure and resilient infrastructure to build clouds.  The deeper integration of FlexPod Datacenter with VMDC gives cloud providers better design and implementation options with best practices for marrying network and integrated infrastructure.

Also on tap are new integrations with Cisco’s UCS Director 4.1 and Intelligent Automation for Cloud to bolster automation and service catalogs for delivering cloud services. UCS Director now views FlexPod as a single system and allows users to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. The move is part of Cisco’s effort to natively integrate UCS Director across IAC for more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management, according to Marcus Phipps, senior manager for data center solutions marketing at Cisco.

The vendor pair is bringing Citrix into the FlexPod Cooperative Support program fold for users XenDesktop, XenServer and the Citrix CloudPlatform. The addition means customers have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address operational issues. Cisco and NetApp have also made NetApp’s MetroCluster software a validated option, bringing continuous availability and zero data loss capability to the FlexPod platform.

“FlexPod has grown dramatically over the last three years and I see it continuing to accelerate,” said Patrick Rogers, VP of solutions and integrations at NetApp. “I am very excited about all of these new enhancements and what 2014 has in store.”