Cisco, NetApp tout entry-level FlexPod cloud architecture

The FlexPod is designed for 500 to 1,000 users

Cisco and NetApp today announced plans to sell a new FlexPod cloud architecture, this time as an entry-level model designed and priced for smaller workloads.

Announced in 2010, FlexPod is a pre-configured, pre-certified storage network. It was originally configured for user groups of between 1,000 and 2,000 people.

The original FlexPod came with a NetApp FAS3210 midrange array, Cicso's Unified Computing System (UCS) blade server and a Nexus switch, and VMware's vSphere cloud platform and vCenter management console.

The new entry-level FlexPod, expected to be available in May, is sized for business application workloads with 500 to 1000 users.

Like its predecessor, the new FlexPod series is built on scalable architecture that combines computing, networking and storage products from Cisco and NetApp. Additionally, the two companies have validated several new management tools from software vendors, such as CA, Cloupia and Gale Technologies, for all FlexPod design architectures.

At the element management layer, FlexPod users can also leverage NetApp Operations Manager, Protection Manager, Provisioning Manager, VMware vCenter and Cisco UCS and Nexus Managers, which are included as part of the overall FlexPod package.

The entry-level FlexPod combines the NetApp FAS2240 storage array and the Cisco UCS C-Series Nexus 5000 Switches, the Nexus 2232 Fabric Extender and the Cisco UCS 6200 Series Fabric Interconnects. The Fabric Interconnects provide the management and communication backbone for the Cisco UCS B-Series Blades and Cisco UCS 5100 Series Blade Server Chassis.

Cisco and NetApp refused to disclose pricing for FlexPod, saying it will vary based on the design.

Omer Mushahwar, senior associate at urban architectural firm Torti Gallas and Partners, said in a statement that the company was looking for a cloud solution to replace a large part of its existing server infrastructure. "We sought three things: storage, speed, and virtualization," Mushahwar said.

FlexPod, he said, replaced aging equipment and freed the firm from a physical environment.

"Our FlexPod solution has helped us to prevent the loss of $45,000 per day during power outages, streamline IT management, improve service levels, position the company for growth and [it] empowers us to serve our clients and generate revenue without skipping a beat," he said.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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