On the Fast Track - The NetApp Integrated EVO:RAIL Solution

For those of you who hail from the age of what we used to call HiFi, or High Fidelity, one of the perennial choices

you had to make when selecting, or upgrading, your HiFi system was the whether to buy separate HiFi Units. For example

Separate Amplifier, Tuner, CD and Speakers. Or go with an All-in-one system. The entire system from one manufacturer

typically in one unit.


HiFi Separates.jpg


The argument still rages today. Only now the discussion has moved on to Bluetooth connected Home cinema. However

the language is the same. Home Cinema separates or All-in-One Systems. The conclusion of these discussions  usually

arrives at quality. While it is very tempting to buy all you need with one badge on the front, you will probably find that your

ears, eyes and wallet all take a hit. It is here that the similarities between the world of HiFi Home Cinema converge.


It is not rocket science to suggest that the strengths and weaknesses of particular manufactures are very different. In the

HiFi world there are those that focus on Amplifiers. Another group on CD/MP3 Players and those who have made a name for

themselves designing speaker systems. It is common to find that All-in-One systems have components that are a little

disappointing. The HiFi Magazines did a great job testing the 'What Works With What", the different flavours if you will.


Like in all good recipes with a careful combination of flavours you can make something special. Mixing and matching is a skill

that can deliver better value, price, performance, efficiency, reliability and availability . 


The same is true in the world of converged infrastructure. At NetApp we launched FlexPod  4 Years ago working

alongside Cisco and VMware. This alliance is as strong as it ever was. It works because each member brings a key strength

to the group. Cisco - Compute and Network, VMware - Compute Virtualisation and NetApp Data Management, Efficiency

and Storage Virtualisation. Each member is at the very top of their game.


The result - FlexPod Shipments Growing 81 Percent Annually. Shipped to 4,100 Customers across 100 Countries. An increase

from 2,300 customers, and 70 countries in one year. FlexPod is also very popular amongst our channel partners with over 1000

partners qualified to sell and support FlexPod.




FlexPod brings together the best 'Separates',  Cisco UCS, Cisco Nexus, and NetApp storage in a validated converged configuration.

The configuration can scale up for greater performance and capacity or scale out for environments that need consistent multiple

deployments. Such as MS SQL Server, Exchange 2010, MS SharePoint 2010, SAP, Red Hat, VDI(VMware View/Citrix XenDesktop),

or Secure Multi-tenancy(SMT) environments.


Here are the key FlexPod advantages I urge you to investigate further:

  • Flexible design — FlexPod can be scaled up or down without disruption
  • Seamless scaling — Clustered Data ONTAP offers seamless performance and capacity scaling for both NAS and SAN environments.
  • Hybrid Cloud – FlexPod is ideal for customers who want to deploy cloud environment on premises or hybrid cloud.
  • E-Series –  Is the key component for FlexPod Select solutions sich as Hadoop.
  • FLASH optimized Storage – Is a key part of FlexPod for performance-oriented applications.
  • FlexPod architecture -  is a Single platform that supports midmarket, enterprise, and big data solutions can be sold in three different forms of architecture.
    • FlexPod Data Center –  pre-validated designs optimize workloads both virtualised and non-virtualised environments.
    • FlexPod Select – includes NetApp E-Series storage to speed deployment of Hadoop high-performance workloads, including big data, HPC, and video analytics.
    • FlexPod Express – includes Cisco UCS C- Series servers, Cisco Nexus 3048 switches, and NetApp FAS2200 storage
  • FlexPod Financing –  Easy Access “90-day no payment, no interest” helps during FlexPod installation, transition, or data migration.

 The world of Converged Infrastructure does not stand still.  As one prominent analyst stated following a survey


...  integrated infrastructure is fast becoming the architecture of choice for organisations

of many different sizes. Particularly for those with limited IT staff.


As you would expect fron NetApp, the pioneers of Converged Infrastructure, the recent announcement that NetApp are

teaming with VMware to deliver enterprise class EVO:RAIL integrated Infrastructure came as no surprise. EVO:RAIL simply

combines compute, networking and storage into a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) appliance built on proven VMware

vSphere, Server and VSAN software stack. The NetApp EVO:RAIL solution will be designed for the enterprise and mid-market

organisations including remote and branch offices and will simplify the delivery of Software Defined Infrastructure Services.




My take on this, and many analysts,  is that as we all consider our cloud strategy and tactics,  the key ingredient to the

integrity, security and success of our businesses lies in the management and provision of data. Data does not appear

as a line item on the balance sheet today, yet its value, availability and security underpins the organisations decision

making process, competitiveness and credibility in the market. The NetApp EVO:RAIL solution will suit the Enterprise

and Mid Market organisations including remote and branch offices where IT staff and expertise may be limited.


As for my HiFi analogy, you may be struggling with this, but the outcome is the same. With FlexPod NetApp and

Cisco integrates the best in class separates, delivering validated Architecture, Design, Implementation, Management

and Service. The same will be true of the NetApp EVO:RAIL Integrated Solution as we tightly integrate the 

EVO:RAIL software stack with Clustered Data ONTAP delivering best in class storage management and provisioning.

The outcome is, using an old Networking term, consistent, coherent 'Core-to-Edge' (Datacentre-to-Department )

data management and efficiency.


The NetApp EVO:RAIL Integrated Solution will be available in the 1st half of 2015. Check back for more news and 

opinion in the mean time.


FlexPod Resources are here


NetApp Integrated EVO:RAIL Solution Press release



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