This morning NetApp and Cisco announced how the companies are helping channel partners sell and deploy their FlexPod design architecture with Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V. This is a major expansion of our partnership with Microsoft, so I picked up the phone and called Rick Snyder, vice president of Global Strategic Partner Organization here at Cisco to ask him a few questions.
Q: What’s the deal with this FlexPod solution with Microsoft? And what do our channel partners need to know about it?
A: So, Alex, today Cisco release a new Cisco Validated Design for the FlexPod shared infrastructure with Microsoft Private Cloud solutions to help ease deployments of the Microsoft Private Cloud solutions built on our shared infrastructure with NetApp. Also, FlexPods can be purchased pre-integrated for our US and Canada Channel partners through our work with Avnet. As part of its FlexPod Services, Avnet offers many different applications preloaded on the FlexPod.
Q: Shared infrastructure? Is that like a timeshare?
A: (laughs) Well in a way yes, but rather than a room in a Caribbean, we are the data center hardware in the data center. We’ve furnished the data center with the necessary hardware to house many different applications from VMware, Citrix, and now for our Microsoft Private Cloud customers. We feed these applications with data center resources like computing, industry leading memory, network bandwidth, and storage capacity to offer end users an enjoyable experience.
Q: So how popular are these FlexPods?
A: We are pleased with the response from customers and our partners. More than 600 customers have adopted the FlexPod as a shared infrastructure in their data center and more than 500 channel partners are certified to sell the solution to their customers.
Q: Wait, didn’t you announce FlexPod support for Microsoft before?
A: Yes, this is the latest release of a reference architecture that NetApp announced last year. This update includes more integration between Cisco’s UCS Manager and Microsoft System Center to simplify the task of managing the server, storage, and networking components of a data center infrastructure. Also, this announcement goes beyond the design guide to illustrate our go-to-market support for this solution with Avnet as a distributor and the FlexPod becoming available in select Microsoft Technology Centers.
Q: Is private clouds a good market for our channel partners!
A: Public, hybrid, and private clouds offer major growth market opportunities for Cisco and our channel partners. Channel partners are building out their cloud services offering to help their enterprise customers through their transition to a central cloud environment for their business applications. Cisco is working with many vendors to enable our channel partners to offer the customers more choice when it comes to deploying private cloud solutions.
Q: So what is the key take away our partners should know about this announcement?
A: For Channel partners selling to customers that use Microsoft Windows, the FlexPod offers the best performance as their customers journey to the Microsoft Private cloud. Also, offering this solution to Microsoft customers creates revenue benefits in terms of services and support.
Q: Great! Where can we see this solution?
A: Cisco and NetApp are Platinum and Gold sponsors of the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2012, where these and other private cloud solutions will be demonstrated. Additionally, in a select number of Microsoft Technology Centers (MTC) around the world the FlexPod validated with Microsoft Cloud solutions are available for demonstration to customers.
You can also go to the FlexPod validated with Microsoft Private Cloud site to learn about ways that Cisco and NetApp are enabling your customer’s journey to the Microsoft Private Cloud and post your questions and thoughts below. We’re listening.