Cisco and NetApp will also integrate Flash technologies at the host and storage levels to accelerate performance. At the server, applications running on Flash-optimized Cisco UCS can be further accelerated with NetApp Flash Accel, while at the controller and array levels, technologies such as NetApp Flash Cache and Flash Pools can be used to access cached data faster, the companies say.
For the branch office, Cisco and NetApp are extending the capabilities of ExpressPod to meet the compute, network and storage needs of remote sites. ExpressPod is a converged infrastructure configuration similar to FlexPod, but designed for the branch office. It is upgradable to and interoperable with FlexPod so branch offices can take advantage of virtualization and cloud computing for resource efficiency and cost reduction. ExpressPod includes support for VMware VSphere and will soon include support for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, the companies say.
For cloud service providers, Cisco and NetApp are developing a FlexPod capable of handling multi-data center service provider architectures. The development will combine NetApp Clustered ONTAP and NetApp FAS storage systems with Cisco UCS servers and Nexus 7000 switches to create pools of server and storage resources that can be scaled up or down, depending on application requirements.
These architectures will include common management and orchestration technologies, the companies say, as well as support for open source cloud computing technologies such as CloudStack and OpenStack.
Expanded partner support includes the addition of more validated business and private cloud applications for the data center. These include Oracle Database and applications, SAP Business Intelligence and SAP HANA applications, and Microsoft Private Cloud and Citrix CloudPlatform private cloud offerings.
And in addition to branch offices and public clouds, Cisco and NetApp will attempt to simplify deployment, management and orchestration of the FlexPod architecture for consumer-to-enterprise and cloud-to-cloud connectivity.
FlexPod has more than 2,100 customers and over 700 channel partners, the companies say.
Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.