Cisco and NetApp: Integrating ACI into FlexPod

Creating Customer Agility while Reducing Risk and Operational Costs

By Jay Kidd, Chief Technology Officer, NetApp

FlexPod, an industry-leading and fast-growing integrated infrastructure, is the perfect platform for Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) and is already being delivered to customers ACI-ready.

Cisco ACI is technology to automate application deployments and cloud infrastructures to make businesses and IT groups more agile and dramatically reduce operational costs and complexity.  Cisco and NetApp are integrating Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) into the FlexPod architecture to provide network programmability and application infrastructure automation. 

NetApp clustered Data ONTAP provides space-efficient storage virtualization, nondisruptive operations, and extreme scalability. When coupled with Cisco ACI network policies, it provides rapid application provisioning, reducing the time required to deploy applications from weeks to moments—all while meeting the application’s service levels.  Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), matched with clustered Data ONTAP data management through a rich set of APIs and a choice of orchestration solutions, creates a robust, dynamic, scalable, and extremely flexible cloud infrastructure for application workloads.

Together, Cisco and NetApp are already delivering FlexPod ACI-ready solutions. FlexPod Datacenter with the Cisco Nexus® 9000 solution is available today, and it lays the network foundation for FlexPod with ACI.  In the summer of 2014, FlexPod ACI customer-ready validated architectures will be available with Data ONTAP and ACI foundational components, including Cisco APIC, Cisco Nexus 9000 switches, and Cisco UCS®. End-to-end application provisioning of FlexPod ACI with Cisco UCS Director will allow rapid automated application deployments across the server, network, and storage, which saves our customers time and improves the quality of application deployments.

Cisco ACI is an important technology and direction for FlexPod and NetApp. This application-centric approach has been integral to NetApp’s strategy and direction for many years, as NetApp has provided industry-leading technologies in storage efficiency, rapid application cloning, and application-aware data protection. By focusing on the application requirements, cloud infrastructures can more closely match are more flexible and more responsive to the businesses they serve.

NetApp and Cisco have a rich agenda of integration planned for ACI. In addition to FlexPod, NetApp FAS and E-Series storage controllers will operate with ACI.  Also, Cisco and NetApp continue to collaborate in OpenStack to automate FlexPod ACI, and are working to validate a long list of leading enterprise application workloads on FlexPod ACI that are optimized for the application architecture, storage, server, and network best practices.

This is only the beginning…