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FlexPod: More Flexible Than Ever, and Gaining Customers

What’s a FlexPod—is it a highly flexible case for your favorite MP3 player? A cool new modern chair? No, FlexPod is a design architecture combining networking, computing and storage infrastructure that’s now available through 120 channel partners worldwide!

Yes, that’s right—since its launch in November of last year, FlexPod has seen tremendous growth in the marketplace, with 120 partners worldwide now offering this flexible, scalable shared infrastructure that helps customers lower deployment risk, increase data center efficiencies, and create a flexible IT environment to build a private cloud. FlexPod, which is built on the Cisco UCS server platform, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp unified storage, has also been adopted by more than 150 customers.

Furthermore, to make it even easier to purchase and deploy a FlexPod, Avnet Technology Solutions today announced it is pre-bundling the FlexPod, based on the Cisco and NetApp reference design architecture guides, for our resellers partners in the U.S. and Canada. Avnet will now provide a single source through its newly introduced FlexPod Services, offering partners all the products, assembly, testing, technical expertise, and support they need to successfully bring FlexPod to market.

Do your customers use SAP applications? Then you’ll also be interested in the last piece of today’s FlexPod news.

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NetApp’s Alex Jauch comments on Cisco UCS, Hyper-V, and your Private Cloud

Guest Post by Alex Jauch (Technical Architect, NetApp)

This week at Microsoft TechEd, NetApp and Cisco announced our joint Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track submission.  The submission was the result of a great working partnership between NetApp and Cisco.  We’re very pleased with the solutions and technical expertise that the Cisco team brought to the project.  Because of our strong partnership, Cisco and NetApp have been able to produce a great Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track solution.

Here’s an example, because both NetApp and Cisco have both been investing in our Microsoft management integration platforms and we have been able to integrate these features into our submission to Fast Track.  Both Cisco and NetApp have been working closely with the Microsoft Opalis Integration Server team and we were able to combine our solutions into a single solution that enables rapid provisioning from a bare metal blade to a full running Windows Cluster and then VM provisioning against that cluster. You can see a demonstration of this solution here:

NetApp Hyper-V Cloud With Cisco Rapid Provisioning

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New Microsoft Solutions Offer Partners More Ways to Differentiate

In a competitive market, differentiation makes all the difference. Whether you’re selling sneakers or servers, being able to offer the widest selection of products to meet a broad set of needs is critical in helping to drive growth and grow profits.

So today’s announcements of three new reference configurations focused on Microsoft applications and technologies will likely please you—now our partners will have even more opportunities to sell a broader set of solutions, giving customers more choice.

Today, along with our storage partners, Cisco is greatly expanding our channel partners’ ability to offer customers Microsoft-based private cloud, data warehouse, or OLTP configurations based on shipping Cisco UCS server and Nexus networking products. Three standalone, discrete reference architectures are now available: A Cisco-developed SQL Server 2008 R2 Data Warehouse solution; a Cisco-developed SQL Server 2008 R2 Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) offer; and Cisco as the server partner with NetApp as they bring to market their NetApp for Private Cloud offer as part of Microsoft’s Hyper-V Private Cloud program.

How will this impact you? Here are more details.

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Cisco Invited to Microsoft Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track Program

 

This guest post is presented by Rex Backman, Global Marketing Manager for Microsoft Solutions, Cisco, rbackman@cisco.com

Cisco is very pleased to announce that Microsoft has invited us to be part of their Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track program.  This is great news for our customers and partners as it will allow for Cisco UCS based server infrastructures for Windows Server 2008 R2 based private cloud deployments.

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Virtual Desktops are Special….

I, just like my colleague Tony Paikeday, am somewhat preoccupied these days with the fast changing world of the desktop and its impact on data center infrastructures. I wanted to pick up on Tony’s desktop virtualization “just another workload” blog back in November because it is a subject of growing discussion, especially with “cloud” being all the buzz. While desktops are an increasingly popular workload to get started with private cloud initiatives, does that mean that data center architects are mixing desktops with more traditional data center workloads?

Talking to our system engineers who are helping plan and design desktop virtualization deployments day in day out…..the more I learn there are very good reasons for treating this workload as special and separate.

The first thing I hear about is sizing of the desktop workload. A “desktop” is not a “desktop”. You can’t just characterize a generic Win 7 desktop for compute, memory, I/O and storage IOPS. You need to be able to customize the infrastructure profile to the specific user type being deployed. Therein lays the danger of mixing these virtual desktops with production workloads, where desktops could end up capturing valuable resources of mission critical services.  For example consolidating a company procurement application on the same compute pool as your desktop workloads could result in a lot of unproductive – or even worse –unhappy employees.

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