Networking at NetApp: Cisco ACI and FlexPod

Part 5 of a multi-part series on storage networking at NetApp

By Philip Trautman, FAS Product Marketing, NetApp

The third post in this series described how Clustered Data ONTAP and the scale-out architecture of the FAS8000 are able to harness hundreds of network connections and tremendous network bandwidth using a flexible, virtualized network implementation.

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It may have occurred to you that clustered Data ONTAP fits well with the concepts of software-defined networking. It may not surprise you to learn that NetApp is working closely with Cisco to deliver Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), Cisco’s approach to software-defined networking, in our joint FlexPod datacenter solutions.

About ACI

ACI combines proven technology with new innovations to create a network architecture that is extremely flexible, scalable and resilient. It offers support for software-defined IT and cloud, while providing a migration path for existing infrastructure.

Centralized automation and policy-driven network application profiles simplify network configuration, making it easier and faster to deploy new applications while minimizing the chance for errors.

ACI has two key components:

ACI and FlexPod

The combination of FlexPod with ACI is perfect for business-critical applications, bringing enhanced automation and management through a software-defined data center approach. Cisco ACI extends application “profiles” into the network, amplifying the benefits of UCS servers, clustered Data ONTAP and the FAS8000, and the Cisco Nexus 9000 series such as:

  • ACI capabilities including Network QoS, security and L4-7 services
  • Clustered Data ONTAP capabilities including nondisruptive operations, storage virtual machines, integrated data protection, storage efficiency, and Storage QoS
  • The network scalability of ACI and the storage scalability of clustered Data ONTAP for massively scalable infrastructure
  • End-to-end application provisioning (and de-provisioning) across the infrastructure stack
  • Virtualization in all layers of the infrastructure stack: compute, network and storage

FlexPod with ACI Delivery and Roadmap

NetApp and Cisco are working hard to deliver complete and well-defined ACI solutions for FlexPod. Back in April, we delivered the FlexPod Datacenter with VMware vSphere 5.1U1 and Cisco Nexus 9000, and in August we delivered FlexPod Datacenter with VMware vSphere 5.5U1 and Cisco Nexus 9000. These design guides lay the foundation for future ACI deployment with FlexPod.

Since the full release of ACI in August, we’ve published FlexPod Datacenter with VMware vSphere 5.1U1 and Cisco ACI, describing full ACI deployment.

Look for a full schedule of additional offerings coming throughout the fall and winter. These include Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange as well as other enterprise applications. We’ll also have a design guide for FlexPod ACI and UCS Director for end-to-end application orchestration and even more to come.

Find Out More

For the latest details on FlexPod and ACI, keep an eye on the NetApp FlexPod community, and look for a detailed article in the next edition of Tech OnTap coming out in early October.

Blog Posts in This Series

In case you missed them, be sure and check out the other posts in this series: