This post takes a high-level look at the FlexPod solutions NetApp offers today and provides the basic fundamentals: what comprises a FlexPod, the unique benefits FlexPod delivers, how to identify a FlexPod opportunity, standard configurations, etc. If you’re new to FlexPod, this should get you off to a great start.
What is FlexPod?
Shared infrastructure for a wide range of environments and applications.
• Validated, standardised, shared infrastructure
• Flexibility and scalability within a single rack
• Centralised management of pooled resources
• Deployment guides with step-by-step instructions
• Solution guides pre-define multiple workloads
• Multiple sizing tools
Minimum requirements for a “FlexPod” configuration
When is FlexPod a good fit?
Ineffective management and resource allocationIncreased costs associated with multiple network platforms
Lengthy testing and deployment processes
Risks associated with siloed technologies
Faster application deployments
Orchestration and workflow automationUnified network equals less cost.
Unified fabric provides single unified 10GbE no need for separate networks
Pre integrated solution
High Availability during outages
What does FlexPod Offer?<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>
Unified Systems · Simplified setup
· Increased control
· Lower costs
<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Single point for management
· Higher productivity
<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Highly efficient
<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Scalable
· More workloads with less gear
What FlexPod models are available?
FlexPod Express – for smaller, less dynamic requirements (MSB / Branch Office)
· Pre-configured (small or medium)
· Focus on simplicity and cost
· Limited IT staffing
· Target: less than 500 users
· 1 GB Ethernet
FlexPod Data Center Solution – Massively scalable shared virtual data center infrastructure.
· Enterprise-class solution
· Focus on strategic platform
· Existing IT Staff
· Target: 500 users and above
· 10 GB Ethernet
FlexPod Select – Big data analytics, Scientific, High Performance Computing
Validated and supported FlexPod designs
There are two key “go to” places to find the FlexPod architecture design and run book documentation and these links are highlighted below.Cisco Validated Design Program – www.cisco.com/go/flexpod tested end-to-end scenarios
NetApp Verified Architecture – http://www.netapp.com/us/solutions/flexpod/datacenter/validated-designs.aspx
What Solutions do FlexPod support?
VMware (Exchange, SQL Server, Sharepoint, View)
Microsoft Private Cloud/HyperV
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Validated vs Supported:
Validated means that everything has been tested end to end.
Supported required IMT checks etc to determine if the specific workload/application is supported with the specific configuration.
Why choose Unified Fabric?
Benefits of Cisco Nexus Unified Fabric with FlexPod
End-to-end convergence – Cisco Nexus, MDS, Director
Cisco Data Center network manager
Why choose Unified Fabric?
Cisco Nexus 1000v & Virtual Extensible LAN
Integrated Application Delivery
Challenges of the Datacenter Operations and Management
· Data center infrastructure managed in silos
· Need for strong vendor specific skill sets
· Manual administration
· High-touch operations
· Direct increases in operational expense
· Indirect increases in capital expense
· Delays in time to market
· Poor IT responsiveness to service requests
UCS Director for FlexPod
End-to-end infrastructure management
· Unified click provisioning
· Single management interface
o Physical and Virtual infrastructure
· Model based orchestration
· Converged Infrastructure management
o Self-service portal
o Multi-tenant / secure multi-tenant security
UCS Director allows the subject matter experts to create their own dedicated policies for their part of the infrastructure, these are all then driven by the UCS Director Management piece. The result is a single pain of glass for end-to-end automation and lifecycle management. A complete turnkey solution.
My fellow NetApp A-Team members and Cisco Champions Emad Younis (@Emad_Younis) and Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33) discuss a FlexPod 101 on an EngineersUnplugged episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZLPgVocXFQ
UCS Tech Talk: UCS-Based Converged Infrastructure Management With UCS Director: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy8gY5rLAdo
I have also included a link to the 3D FlexPod model. If you’ve ever been to a trade show that involves either Cisco or NetApp, you’ll be sure to see this life-size cardboard rack. If you have the app installed on your mobile device, point it toward the wall of cardboard and watch the magic happen. Learn more here along with how to get the app for your smart device: https://netappapp.wordpress.com/
Please ask your questions or provide any feedback below. Thanks.