VMware vSphere on FlexPod Validated with Clustered ONTAP

Industry trends indicate a vast data center transformation toward shared infrastructure and cloud computing. Enterprise customers are moving away from silos of IT operation toward more cost-effective virtualized environments, leading eventually to cloud computing to increase agility and reduce costs. To accelerate this process and simplify the evolution to a shared cloud infrastructure, Cisco and NetApp have developed VMware vSphere on FlexPod.


The FlexPod data center platform is a prevalidated solution combining storage, networking, and server components and integrating them into a single flexible architecture. The FlexPod data center platform is designed to ease IT transformation to virtual infrastructure and cloud computing with maximum efficiency, minimal risk, and increased flexibility. FlexPod components include NetApp unified storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers, and Cisco Nexus fabric. The FlexPod architecture can scale up or out, and can be optimized for a variety of mixed workloads.



Deploying VMware vSphere on top of FlexPod with NetApp clustered Data ONTAP makes use of the full capabilities of VMware.  It enables administrators to easily virtualize all FlexPod infrastructure resources (storage, network, and servers) to deliver logical environments for applications and workloads. Architecture highlights include:

  • Each component is installed in pairs of two, with all components supporting some form of peering or cluster. All connections between components incorporate specific features to allow for a minimum of two cables or links per connection.
  • Several features enable administrators to perform certain functions nondisruptively on components within the architecture that historically were disruptive operations:
    • In-service upgrades and technology refreshes
    • Updates
    • Capacity and performance expansions
    • Maintenance of data access across product lifecycles
    • Rebalancing of performance or capacity for critical workloads
  • Although the architecture contains physical components, specific configuration details remain logical, which allows for identities and virtual objects to be migrated or cloned within specific layers in the infrastructure.


FlexPod is the optimal shared infrastructure foundation on which to deploy a variety of IT workloads. Cisco and NetApp have created a platform that is both flexible and scalable for multiple use cases (e.g. VMware vSphere as the virtualization solution) and applications.


This blog is part of a series on clustered Data ONTAP.


Data ONTAP 8.1 blog series:

1.       Why Scale-Out & What’s New

2.       Unified Scale-Out – What’s Supported & Why It’s Unique

3.       Nondisruptive Operations – What Does it Mean?

4.       Enterprise Ready Data ONTAP 8 Cluster-Mode

5.       What’s Included In A Cluster Configuration

6.       Data ONTAP 8 Clustering – Multitenancy Designed In

7.       ESG Lab Validation of Data ONTAP 8.1 Unified Clustering

8.       Storage Monitoring Made Easy:  A Video Demonstration of Data ONTAP 8 Clustering

9.       Data ONTAP Unified (SAN and NAS) Cluster Benchmark Performance

10.    Announcing Data ONTAP 8.1.1 operating in Cluster-Mode

11.    PeakColo Gurantees 100% SLA for the Cloud with Clustered ONTAP

12.    Data ONTAP #1 Storage Operating System

13.    Do You Prefer Your IOPs Without Your Extra Latency

14.    Finding a Needle in 20 Million Haystacks – a Clustering Success Story

15.    Eliminating Planned Downtime

16.    Virtustream Delivers Dynamic Cloud Services with Clustered ONTAP

17.    NetApp Named a Leader in IDC MarketScape: WW Scale-out File-Based Storage Vendor Analysis


Mike McNamara