FlexPod with Cisco UCS and NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP Delivers IT Agility and Seamless Scalability


By Keith Barto, Customer Solutions Architect at Cisco



A business can only be as agile as its IT infrastructure. Organizations need to improve IT agility to increase overall business agility. However, in most organization, the majority of IT resources are typically spent managing complex and inflexible infrastructure. Hence, businesses want solutions that improve productivity and efficiency of IT staff, and can quickly adapt to changing business requirements.


Cisco and NetApp developed the FlexPod platform to meet the demands of business leaders who want to consolidate their IT infrastructure, save energy costs, host more applications, share resources across different departments, and become more secure.  The FlexPod platform utilizes the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS), Cisco Nexus data center switches, and NetApp FAS storage components and has been tested and validated across leading hypervisors and operating systems and can be managed by a broad ecosystem of partner software.


From a Cisco UCS perspective, agility and scale is a key point of differentiation compared to traditional compute platforms. Cisco UCS Manager’s service profiles, a service profile is a software definition of a server and its storage and networking connectivity, make configuration of servers fast, automated, and repeatable. Simply create a profile and apply it to one or many servers. It’s just as easy to configure hundreds of servers as it is to configure one server. This, combined with the single wire connectivity of Cisco’s unified fabric enables a self-integrating infrastructure that can recognize and configure servers as they are connected to the system. New servers can be installed, configured, and put to use in minutes resulting in fast, easy scaling of compute resources.


With the introduction of NetApp’s Clustered Data ONTAP operating system to a FlexPod solution, storage resources can now seamlessly scale by allowing the storage resources provisioned to an application to be adjusted without requiring any changes to an application’s configuration. The Cisco compute and networking components of the FlexPod solution do not have to be modified. Applications get the storage resources without any configuration changes to the compute resources and applications (Figure 1).


Figure 1: FlexPod with Clustered Data ONTAP



Storage can be added. Storage controllers can be mixed and matched as the environment scales. Migration policies can be developed for failover to deliver uninterrupted operation. Applications always receive uninterrupted storage services to meet the demands of the business.


I've always believed that IT infrastructure matters. It is the foundation for everything that runs on it. An infrastructure that is agile and scalable is imperative to keep up with the ever changing demands of applications. A FlexPod solution with Cisco UCS and NetApp Clustered ONTAP operating system delivers innovative technology advantages that can seamlessly address both current and future IT requirements.