Note: This guest blog is from our partner NetApp. VDI Reference Architect Rob Briggs introduces ExpressPod for the Microsoft private cloud as well as comments on FlexPod successes. Rex.
FlexPod, ExpressPod, and Windows Server 2012 RDS – “It’s in the Box!”
I’ve seen a lot of great discussion and buzz this week at the Microsoft Management Summit on deployment of private cloud, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1. Around the Cisco and NetApp booths, it’s been exciting to see the interest attendees have shown around our new Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 validated FlexPod solution – FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.
But what exactly does this mean for customers? Take a look at ING Direct, which has deployed FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud and achieved massive cost and time to market savings. With their “Bank in the Box” solution, ING Direct made “copies” of the entire bank environment for their developers in 10 minutes, compared to a previous 12 week turnaround. This dramatically accelerated time to market of new products and services.
For many small to medium sized businesses or remote offices, FlexPod, System Center and a private cloud infrastructure may be more than what is required. Instead, we’ve seen that many of these customers want to start with a simple to deploy virtualization solution. ExpressPod, with all of benefits of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V , it is a pre-packaged and tested solution for growing small and medium sized organizations with exactly this scenario in mind. Think of it as having many of the benefits of FlexPod, but priced, sized and packaged for small to medium sized deployments.
The hardware that comprises this solution is nothing to scoff at: ExpressPod integrates Cisco UCS® C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220-series storage, and Cisco Nexus® 3048 switches with infrastructure management, into an affordable, easy-to-deploy shared virtualization infrastructure solution. ExpressPod supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions and comes in two configurations, small and medium.
The small and medium ExpressPod configurations are low-cost, standardized infrastructure solutions, well-suited for virtualization of business critical applications. The configurations have been built and tested to deliver a cost-effective, high-value, and best practice architecture.
We recently completed testing and documentation of small and medium ExpressPod configurations with Microsoft Windows Server 2012® and Hyper-V. Take a look at our ExpressPod with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Implementation Guide to see in-depth, detailed deployment instructions for each of these configurations.
Each configuration provides a standardized base platform capable of running a number of business-critical applications while providing scalability options to enable the infrastructure to grow with business demands. One such application workload that ExpressPod is well-equipped to run is Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
RDS is a collection of independent role services in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that support various desktop virtualization and session based remoting scenarios. Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services on NetApp Storage gives detailed implementation guidance and best practices for a RDS solution.
A solution perfectly suited for the value of ExpressPod
As a desktop virtualization solution, RDS offers lower cost deployments. In addition to the cost-effectiveness of using ExpressPod, Microsoft Windows Server 2012 RDS reduces both the capital and operational expenditures of VDI. Simply said, “It’s in the box”. Software box that is. There are no additional software dependencies to roll out an effective VDI solution. Also, I’m happy to say that RDS deployments have been drastically simplified with Windows Server 2012, which reduces management costs.
If you are at MMS this week please be sure to stop by the Cisco or NetApp booths. We’d be happy to further discuss the benefits that either FlexPod or ExpressPod can bring your organization. You can also find out more about these solutions from certified Cisco and NetApp resellers.