CiscoLive 2014 Runs on FlexPod

FlexPod Expected to be prevalent at Cisco Live US this year, including functioning as the underlying platform for the show itself


Cisco Live in San Francisco is expected to be the largest gathering of Cisco customers, experts, and partners anywhere in the world with 20,000 attendees.  The show requires systems to manage these thousands of people, more than 600 sessions, hands on labs and many back-end services.  At the heart of this system is FlexPod.


FlexPod is the #1 ranked integrated infrastructure solution from Cisco and NetApp, as determined in an IDC study where it was stated, “FlexPod and FlexPod Express products clearly ranked first in a field of 17 suppliers.”  We recently announced new validated designs that extend its innovation leadership in new areas including software-defined networking, unified scale-out data storage and secure multi-tenancy.  FlexPod now tallies 4,000 customers growing at almost 100% annually, 1,000 global resellers, 100 Premium resellers, over 100 customer references, over 80 published success stories, and 70 validated design publications.


FlexPod at Cisco Live

FlexPod is the infrastructure on which the entire show will run.  Architecturally, FlexPod functions as a single shared platform running many different applications.  This is in sharp contrast to siloed or application-specific ‘engineered’ stacks – which is inefficient for IT and costly for the organization.  The shared FlexPod infrastructure can be seen in action in the glass-enclosed Network Operations Center (NOC) located in Moscone North, Lower Level, visible from the escalator taken to the Keynote Hall. 


The other places to see and learn about FlexPod include the NetApp booth (#1505) which will have physical FlexPod Datacenter and Express racks as well as a Kaon display. There will be demo stations with info including FlexPod. A FlexPod customer case study session, “FlexPod Latest Innovation with ACI and Data Storage” with Terremark/Verizon takes place in Broadcast Studio booth 741 on Tuesday at 1:00pm. Of the 45 NetApp in-booth talks scheduled over the week, most will cover in part or in whole, FlexPod.  Plus there will be a series of FlexPod related presentations happening at Partner booths – Cisco, Intel, Splunk and others.


FlexPod up and running in just 2 weeks

A key benefit of FlexPod is that the infrastructure planning, deployment and configuration that used to take months can now be done in weeks, and this engagement was no exception. We identified the equipment needed for the project in terms of FAS systems, HA pairs and required storage capacity that will be shipped to the convention location per the build-out schedule.  The equipment is initially staged, then packed and shipped out two weeks before the show. It’s inspected upon arrival to make sure nothing was damaged in transit. One week before the show the network core is built out and connected into the convention center cabling.  NetApp staff then went on-site and spent just a couple days cabling and configuring all components of the FlexPod, including the NetApp storage, Cisco UCS servers and Cisco Nexus switches. The FlexPod is powered on, bringing the show’s data center to life.  Beyond the initial build out, some time may be spent in installing or configuring additional monitoring systems, or adding more capacity as needed, but otherwise the FlexPod is ready for business.


FlexPod handles the most demanding apps

FlexPod is the primary compute and storage resource for everything that makes the Cisco Live show run which includes the virtual desktops behind the Internet kiosks and hands-on-labs, to the network monitoring applications such as Cisco Prime and infrastructure services including DHCP and DNS.  This single, shared infrastructure also runs the video storage for Cisco MediaNet digital signage, video surveillance, and the recordings of every session, all week.  Similar to a typical enterprise environment, FlexPod needs to accommodate demanding applications for thousands of users, but with the biggest difference being, at Cisco Live just one week before there was no infrastructure to speak of.


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