FlexPod – Bigger, Faster and Better with clustered Data ONTAP

This article is contributed by Mike Harding, Product Marketing Manager, FlexPod Solutions, NetApp.


FlexPod had a great summer launch with more validated designs, press and customer wins.  But lost in all the buzz may have been the role that clustered Data ONTAP is playing in the evolution of this leading Converged Infrastructure solution.  FlexPod and Data ONTAP has been a topic on this blog series in the past, and the value and pervasiveness of clustered Data ONTAP continues to grow.


FlexPod Summer news


We recently announced the expansion of the FlexPod family, along with six new validated designs as well as new program tools.   The FlexPod family is now comprised of three solution categories: "FlexPod Datacenter”  as validated designs for enterprise and service provider workloads running within a shared infrastructure, "FlexPod Express" is the new name for former ExpressPod mid-market and branch office solutions, and "FlexPod
Select" is for dedicated architectures, high performance and Big Data designs.  FlexPod Select got the biggest news with its big data validations that move FlexPod beyond just a highly-efficient shared IT platform, but now one also optimized for powerful applications like Hadoop.


How Clustered Data ONTAP enhances FlexPod


FlexPod has been publishing validated designs with Clustered Data ONTAP for a number of years, and most of the new reference architectures include both 7-mode and clustered design guides.  Of the six new reference architectures just published, the NetApp Datacenter with Nexus 7000 Series Switch for end-to-end FCoE was validated with clustered Data ONTAP 8.1.2, which included a specific clustered Data ONTAP deployment guide.   This document provides details for configuring a fully redundant, highly available configuration for a FlexPod unit with clustered Data ONTAP storage. And the Nexus 7000 switch enables the use of end-to-end Fibre Channel over Ethernet, with FCoE-booted hosts with file- and block-level access to shared storage datastores, and Cisco virtual device context (VDCs) to logically separate IP and FCoE traffic to maximize hardware resource utilization while providing strong security and software fault isolation.  Using this enterprise class switch along with clustered Data ONTAP was a key way to improve FlexPod system availability.


There are other important ways that clustered Data ONTAP makes FlexPod better.  FlexPod with clustered Data ONTAP minimizes business disruption with a pre-validated platform leveraging the latest breakthrough technology for non-disruptive storage operations.  With the clustered Data ONTAP ability to virtualize and non-disruptively move storage volumes, FlexPod further eliminates deployment guesswork and accommodates ongoing workload optimization.


Clustered Data ONTAP offers a unified scale-out storage solution for an adaptable, always-on storage infrastructure that accommodates today’s highly virtualized infrastructures and is unique across converged infrastructure solutions – the competition has nothing like this.  Organizations can virtualize storage across multiple HA pairs, managed as a single logical pool – and scale easily to tens of petabytes. Support for clustered Data ONTAP further differentiates the FlexPod platform, enabling customers to:


  • Deploy an adaptable IT infrastructure with unmatched flexibility
    • Scale single FlexPod capacity up to 69PB+ by adding storage nodes to the cluster
    • Mix controller types to provide tiered storage within the cluster
    • Provide data mobility to optimize storage resources for greater efficiency, performance, flexibility, and ROI
  • Reduce risk with an always-on environment, optimized for zero planned downtime
    • Provide redundancy at each layer of the stack (compute, network, and storage)
    • Eliminate planned downtime through non-disruptive data migration for load balancing, maintenance, and technology refreshes
  • Achieve unparalleled efficiency and lower TCO with optimized resources
    • Match the performance and cost of storage to the requirements of your data
    • Improve service levels by automatically assigning data to optimal storage tiers
    • Leverage open APIs to integrate with validated orchestration partner solutions and enable single console management and automation of the entire infrastructure
    • Rebalance performance or capacity for critical workloads


More info on the expanded FlexPod


Since 2010 we’ve published about 50 validated design documents and we continue to grow our validation pipeline, tools to help you learn about the offering, as well as the business itself.  Check out the newly designed FlexPod web page, our FlexPodCommunity.com page, and the new FlexPod iPad app – all there to help you be more successful with FlexPod.   Please stay engaged with us, and look for more
FlexPod news in the Fall.


How does one get access to "clustered Data ONTAP deployment guide" when one does not have access to the Field Portal?



Thanks Jason . This is nice article about flex pod . This Give me very useful information about flex pod .


Hi Edwin,

I'm glad you found this article informative. The credit, however, goes to my esteemed colleague, Mike Harding.