Overview of the New FlexPod SF


August 30, 2017

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the technology industry over the last few years, you’ll have noticed the rise of converged infrastructure deployments. Cisco has partnered with the top storage developers in the industry to produce Cisco Validated Designs utilizing each flavor of storage technology. Combine Cisco UCS and Nexus switching with Pure Storage and you have the FlashStack. Do the same with EMC, and you have the VBlock. With NetApp, you’ll find the FlexPod.

Essentially, a converged infrastructure solution is a data center in a box. If you purchase these specified components, the Cisco UCS, the Nexus Switching, the NetApp storage array, and deploy them according to Cisco’s specifications, it takes the guess work out of data center designs. The FlexPod will work as expected, guaranteed.

When Cisco announced the Flexpod SF as the next generation of converged infrastructure, we had to ask, what’s changed? How could they improve upon this formula enough to move it to a new generation?

Here’s the answer in a two minute snapshot of the FlexPod SF.


FlexPod SF and Flash Storage


In short, the main improvement upon the FlexPod SF is that it incorporates NetApp SolidFire technology into the converged infrastructure. SolidFire was an independent company purchased by NetApp in 2016 to expand their flash storage product suite, but SolidFire isn’t just another flash storage developer. What differentiates SolidFire is that its designers were forward-thinking enough to establish integrations with cloud platforms like OpenStack, Cloudstack, and VMware. These integrations are now available in the FlexPod SF as well.

With the FlexPod SF, consumers get a Cisco Validated design with the performance of all-flash storage, and the ability to adopt next-generation cloud strategies.


Breaking Down the Stack


Let’s take a look at what’s in the FlexPod data stack:

  • Operating System: NetApp SolidFire Element® OS
  • Servers: Cisco UCS C220 M4 Servers
  • Switching: Nexus Series
  • Storage: NetApp SolidFire Storage cluster


Statements from the Developers


Cisco and NetApp launched a joint press release to announce the FlexPod SF, in which leaders of both businesses provided their thoughts on the new converged infrastructure solution.


“Data is at the heart of business success in the digital era. Together, Cisco and NetApp offer a family of solutions that give organizations access to the full value of their data for competitive advantage. FlexPod SF helps customers maximize that value with a new kind of converged infrastructure that easily scales, performs predictably, and offers better economics.”
Brett Roscoe
Vice president of Products, Solutions, and Services Marketing


“To help businesses capitalize on their digital transformation, IT needs a new kind of cloud infrastructure that is simple, agile, and performs predictably as application requirements rapidly change. FlexPod SF offers a prevalidated, next-generation software–defined, converged architecture solution that customers can deploy with confidence to meet their transformational goals.”
Satinder Sethi
Vice president of Data Center Solutions


Building Upon a Good Idea


The FlexPod SF builds upon an already powerful converged infrastructure solution, but it positions itself differently. The FlexPod SF provides for the needs of today as well as for the environments of the future. Flash storage is on the verge of becoming commonplace in IT environments. It already can compete with disk storage when looking at the overall cost of ownership. Furthermore, the cloud is only going to become more popular, but research shows that hybrid cloud environments are going to become the new normal before long. In this climate, the FlexPod SF will prove to be a valuable approach.

To test our the FlexPod SF, register for Mindsight’s free weekly Demo Days. These hands-on sessions give you a chance to test a solution in your environment safely in our lab. Register today!

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For Further Reading:

NetApp Talks Future Plans for Solidfire

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