This year Cisco UCS reached a milestone and celebrates 10 years of successfully helping change the way IT organizations do business by making them more productive, reducing their cost of IT, and making scalability easier in the data centers.  It was a completely different way of thinking about how IT was architected – a system that fused compute with networking and centralized systems management – first in the fabric and ultimately in the cloud – entirely model-based and programmable.

To the consternation of entrenched competitors, we saw nearly right away customers, and soon, technology partners flock to this new way of thinking and – only one year later – our very first partnership was born that has lasted nine of these last ten years and shows no signs of slowing.  That partnership you know today as FlexPod. We would like to thank NetApp for their ‘anniversary wishes’ on this occasion!

FlexPod fuses networking and computing innovation from Cisco servers and Nexus switches with next-generation all-flash FAS and FAS storage systems from NetApp, all the components and connections are orchestrated and automated with Cisco UCS Director.  But… where FlexPod becomes real for organizations is in the published Cisco validated designs that decrease time-to-solution with now over 170 fully tested and validated designs.  More importantly, these validated designs decrease deployment risk by having worked through all the myriad steps, traps, ‘gotchas’ and ‘gremlins’ — for nearly every mainstream data center workload — so you don’t have to.

However, just thinking of FlexPod as a ‘validated design’ doesn’t paint a complete picture of the depth of partnering between NetApp and Cisco on FlexPod. When you’re in the middle of it all, you truly see the lines blurred almost completely, every day, between the two organizations.  The cross-pollination of work, ideas and innovation means it hardly matters where the ideas come from or who does the work – it just gets done in the name of making our customers happy by giving them a strong path forward for data-center transformation.

Nor does just thinking of FlexPod as a ‘validated design’ paint a complete picture of the depth of solution we provide together.  FlexPod is so much more than a simple ‘reference architecture’.  Just a few of the key elements that make FlexPod ‘so much more’ include:

  • A rich ecosystem of technology partners like Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Citrix, VMware, RedHat, Docker, Veritas, Veeam and others
  • A Cooperative Support model delivered as a partnership between NetApp, Cisco, and our technology partners
  • An invaluable array of go-to-market partners out there to help you do everything from guiding new projects to creating new service offerings
  • A range of configuration flexibility — the “Flex” in FlexPod that allows you to scale or change to your exact data center and application needs

But this industry doesn’t stand still, and we won’t either.  So, we look to the next ten years, hold our breath and leap into the future by helping define it in meaningful ways.  These include recent innovations such as:

So, ten years (and more than 9000 customers later!) is a good time to stop for just brief second or two, look around and admire the many, many accomplishments we’ve seen our customers achieve with FlexPod.  In the end, nothing speaks louder than the success of our customers, in their own words. Here’s just one example: this year, 50 school districts in Central New York started receiving better IT support at a lower cost with FlexPod — helping districts shift from systems administration to the thing they are charged to do first and foremost: educational improvement.  Read a little more about it — in their own words — when you have a moment: here.

And better yet, if you can join us in-person, come visit us and say hello at the Cisco booth and the NetApp booth (#1905) at CiscoLive!, San Diego.  We’d love to talk to you!  In fact, the whole show will be running on a FlexPod-based Network Operations Center (NOC) – so drop by and check that out too.  And, if you aren’t attending CiscoLive!, to learn more about FlexPod, please visit




Steve Cooke

Product Marketing Manager

Data Center Marketing