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Three Years On, FlexPod is Smarter, Faster, and Better.

This month marks the three year anniversary of Cisco’s partnership with NetApp and our development of FlexPod.  Over the years, we’ve experienced some tremendous growth, more than doubling new installations year-over-year, and now we have more than 3,000 customers globally.

Following the success of FlexPod Datacenter, FlexPod Express and FlexPod Select the solution is capping off the year with several technology enhancements. These include the automation of integrated infrastructure, business continuity solutions, and validation of new products and reference architectures.

Together, Cisco and NetApp are introducing four new FlexPod components that enable our customers’ continuing journey to the cloud:

  1. UCS Director 4.1 deeply integrated with clustered Data ONTAP.
  2. The addition of Citrix to the FlexPod Cooperative Support program.
  3. FlexPod Datacenter with NetApp MetroCluster
  4. FlexPod Datacenter with Cisco Virtualized Multiservice Data Center 2.3

I encourage you to take a look at the short video we’ve created that gives more details of all the new components we’re announcing today.

Our friends at NetApp have written a great  blog post outlining the last two offerings, but I’d like to focus on the first two components – UCS Director and the addition of Citrix capabilities.

UCS Director Integration

New integrations with UCS Director and Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) provide automation and service catalogues, which help customers move toward delivering cloud services. Corporate IT maximizes benefits when its infrastructure can be commissioned within minutes in response to changes in demand. Cisco UCS Director views FlexPod as a single system and allows customers to rapidly deploy FlexPod by leveraging single element managers. UCS Director, in turn, will soon be natively integrated into Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud for a more comprehensive FlexPod cloud management solution.

With the Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (IAC) cloud accelerator, UCS Director and FlexPod are integrated as a “node” in the cloud that can be used by cloud administrators to provision NetApp storage into virtual data centers.

Faster with Intel

Rapid deployment will be used to harness tremendous increases in FlexPod computing power. The newest FlexPod deployments will feature Cisco UCS built on Intel’s Ivy Bridge chipset.  We’ve introduced the Intel Xeon Process E5-2600 v2 product family on several servers.

“We like to say that Cisco and Intel are “Joined at the Chip,” because the innovation each company brings is incredibly complimentary. Cisco’s innovation in the data center is an extension of the company’s historic focus: connecting things. Cisco Unified Data Center and products like UCS are the outcomes of our drive to connect the pieces. When we join forces with Intel’s leadership at the computing core, customers see an unbeatable combination.”  -  Todd Brannon, Tick Tock Goes the Server Clock

Coupled with other UCS innovations, the solution has demonstrated great performance versatility and has set record-breaking industry benchmarks.

For enterprises that want to scale out this capacity, Cisco delivers UCS Central. UCS Central software manages multiple, globally distributed Cisco UCS domains with thousands of servers from a single pane.

Adding CItrix

Agile deployment and scale-out performance need the backing of a best-in-class support model. The FlexPod Cooperative Support program brings together the technology expertise of Cisco, NetApp and now Citrix. Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenServer and Citrix CloudPlatform are frequently deployed workloads in enterprises today. Customers will have direct access to Cisco, NetApp and Citrix engineers trained to rapidly address any operational issues.  By adding Citrix, FlexPod has the broadest IT and cloud management support, including Citrix CloudPlatform, Microsoft System Center, VMWare vCenter Orchestrator, CA Automation Suite for Clouds, and BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager.

Combined, these advances in FlexPod technology will enable the platform to exceed the needs of the most demanding private and public cloud deployments.

We’re incredibly proud of the work that Cisco and NetApp have done over the past three years.  We are looking forward to an exciting future together as we use the FlexPod platform to continue delivering significant technology innovations to our customers.

 

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Cisco WAAS and CA in Australia!

True or false?  You recently were finally able to convince your spouse/partner/significant other that your living room is too big for the 40 inch HDTV that you purchased 4-5 years ago and that you need a 60 inch LED TV.  You reason that the 60in TV is very thin, you can watch 3D movies on it, and it’s ‘SMART’ so you can stream movies or TV shows from the Internet!  It’s an awesome product and you are enjoying every bit of it… but then you realize that if you also had a surround sound system, it would complete your home theatre and you’d get even more use out of your TV.

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CA Technologies and the Cisco Cloud Partner Program

May 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm PST

As I talk to customers, sometimes the quest for cloud seems a bit quixotic. You know where you want to get to, other folks say they have been there and have the t-shirts, but the path forward is not all that clear.

Its one of the reasons we launched the Cisco Cloud Partner Program (CPP)— so that Cisco’s cloud-savvy channel partners with expertise in areas like infrastructure, app management and cloud-related professional services can better engage with customers on their own personal cloud journey—think of them as cloud Sherpas.

Under the Cisco Cloud partner Program, channel partners are not only certified for their knowledge of Cisco technologies but also technologies from our broad ecosystem of technology partners to ensure they have a holistic perspective and well-rounded capabilities. Cisco just included CA Technologies as part of that effort and now channel partners with certified knowledge of CA Technologies Automation Suite will meet the Cloud Management competency certification under the Cisco Cloud Partner Program.

Cisco and CA have a solid track record of building solutions that benefit of our joint customers and that are easier to deploy for our mutual channel partners. For example, we have CA-certified stacks on Vblock and FlexPod, and tight integration between CA’s Automation and Infrastructure Management solutions and our Cisco UCS. This latest announcement regarding the CPP provides another benefit for our mutual channel partners and greater choice to our customers.

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What Would Your Network Look Like if You Could See into the Future?

Those of us who are science fiction fans—and even some who aren’t—love to speculate about what the future holds for us in terms of technology. What will our lives be like? What will we be able to do then that we can’t do now? What kinds of things will we be using? It’s this forward-looking imagining that really excites me as we consider the possibilities. And that’s why I’m looking forward to my upcoming keynote at the Computer Associates (CA) Conference. I’ll be talking about the here and now, but also taking a peek into the future.

Today’s technology, when managed from an intelligent network, is incredibly powerful, allowing us to get so much more done than ever before, regardless of location or device. Not only that, we’re able to zip effortlessly between our work selves and our personal-life selves—securely and seamlessly. And as a result, businesses are seeing greater productivity and greater opportunity for innovation.

But imagine what things might look like 10 years out. Already, we’re seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data deluge and device proliferation. Think about it: increasing number of devices means increasing number of applications, which leads to increasing amounts of data.  In fact, just this past week, the online publication PopSci reported on the military’s challenges with data overload. And by no means is this issue limited to the military or public sector alone.

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Cloud Management Confusion? Not Here…

Just the other day, one of our competitors crowed that Cisco customers must be confused about how to manage Cisco equipment when attempting to build a Cloud Computing environment. From their perspective, customers should embrace the mainframe days when a single company delivered all the hardware and software, along with an army of ever-present consultant to make it all work. Don’t worry about complexity Mr.Customer, there isn’t any because you don’t ever see it. And don’t worry about the $bill$ either, because the contract will rollover from one IT administration to the next IT administration.

Based on Cisco’s presence at EMC World last week, I can understand why they would be confused. Not only did live, managed Cisco and VCE Vblock equipment show up in several keynotes (Pat Gelsinger, Paul Maritz, Sanjay Mirchandani), it was also discussed in packed breakout sessions, and in the booths of Cisco, EMC, EMC IT, VCE, newScale, BMC, CA and VMware.

Within the Cisco booth, we highlighted just one of our Cloud Management solutions, Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud, in the context of our broader “Cisco Cloud Solutions” strategy.

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