By Melissa Palmer, Solutions Architect, NetApp
Before I was a Technical Marketing Engineer at NetApp, I got my start as a Systems Engineer at NetApp…thanks, Justin Parisi, @NFSDudeAbides, for tagging me for TechMeme Friday! I think your time in the trenches of technical support and my time as a customer before I came to NetApp overlapped. Unfortunately, I don’t think we had the pleasure of speaking then, since I really didn’t have issues with the NetApp side of my environment.
Before NetApp, I was a completely and utterly on the VMware side of things, building and running a huge VMware environment. I know, I know, you must be shocked that vMiss, @vMiss33, originated on the virtual side of the house. This meme held true, if I wasn’t running around with my hair on fire, I was probably forgetting something horribly important I had to do, unless…
Unless I was dealing with the portion of my environment backed by NetApp over NFS. That thing ran like a dream. No getting paged in the middle of the night because LUNs filled up and VMs crashed. No getting interrupted while I was trying to do something else because the LUNs were so full VMs couldn’t even be moved in and out of them. Oh no no, I never had these problems with the NetApp environment. Which brings me to my next topic…
FlexPod. Two glorious chassis of UCS Blades and their Fabric Interconnects showed up in our lab, thanks to Cisco when UCS was the new kid on the block. I got a couple of NFS volumes from our wonderful storage team (you didn’t think they were going to let the person from the VMware team touch their beloved FAS devices did you? That’s where VSC comes in to play, the VMware team can carve up NFS volumes until your head spins right inside of vCenter).
Later on, the storage team was kind enough to teach me enough about NetApp to be dangerous, but I was able to get a good head start by looking at one of the FlexPod Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) (and now we have NetApp Verified Architectures too!). The CVD deployment guides are your step by step instructions for setting up a FlexPod.
The great part of this is customers can consume FlexPod however they want. The brave, like I was, can use them to set everything up from soup to nuts themselves. More commonly, they’ll engage a partner to do the setup for them, or work side by side with them. Customers can even order their FlexPod to show up ready to roll at their loading dock, all they need to do is plug it in. There’s also FlexPod with Infrastructure Automation, which automates the already easy deployment process.
Which brings me back to our TechMeme. That’s the big difference with FlexPod. It’s easy to setup and easy to use, which is why the IT team actually ends up with free time on their hands, to you know, do other things besides just trying to keep the lights on.