December 8, 2022
  • December 8, 2022

FlexPod XCS brings cloud capabilities to data centers

By on March 23, 2022 0

Cisco Systems and NetApp are bringing the functionality of the FlexPod family of converged infrastructure appliances to the cloud.

FlexPod XCS, the latest version of FlexPod that combines NetApp’s OnTap storage operating system and Cisco Intersight’s cloud operations platform, adds new hybrid cloud capabilities to both companies’ CI reference architecture . These additions expand integration with cloud hyperscalers for storage and cloud-native application development using containers.

FlexPod XCS will be sold primarily through distribution partners later this year. Pricing is based on Cisco Intersight subscriptions and selected hardware configurations, depending on the companies.

Hybrid Strategy

Native integrations with AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Platform for storage and application development are overseen using Cisco’s Intersight and NetApp’s OnTap, the company’s flagship storage operating system .

The FlexPod XCS supports additional cloud subscription services from Cisco and NetApp to simplify cloud storage backup, container application development for DevOps, and automation capabilities.

Some of these additional subscription services include Intersight Kubernetes Service and NetApp Astra, which manage Kubernetes container deployments and storage respectively. These are important additions for companies operating in a hybrid cloud, according to David Raffo, senior analyst at Evaluator Group.

“NetApp has tweaked its hardware to make it more cloud-friendly,” Raffo said. “It’s a bit more modern than what you would get in the data center.”

NetApp has tweaked its hardware to make it more cloud-friendly. It’s a bit more modern than what you’d get in the data center.

David RaffoSenior Analyst, Evaluators Group

Growing family

The FlexPod XCS joins about half a dozen other FlexPod CI appliances sold by NetApp and Cisco over the past decade, but it’s the first release to feature out-of-the-box hyperscaler integrations.

These appliances aggregate respective networking and storage hardware from Cisco and NetApp and are able to connect to other FlexPod nodes in an enterprise to aggregate compute, storage, and networking capabilities.

CI appliances provide a hardware standard and baseline for performance of tested workloads, as well as the advantage of a single channel vendor in the event of hardware and software issues.

Connections and workload testing with AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform allow OnTap and Intersight to synchronize on-premises infrastructure with the cloud.

Cloud connections between FlexPod XCS and public cloud hyperscalers allow OnTap to support cooler but still critical data, such as data used for disaster recovery and ransomware backups, including snapshots, without consuming data center disks. Intersight, on the other hand, can enable the creation of new cloud workloads as needed to cope with bursts of user demands.

According to Mike Arterbury, vice president and general manager of hybrid cloud infrastructure, features like these are important for companies that may not want to fully migrate to the cloud, but still want the ability to “pay for growth” for their data center. and OEM solutions at NetApp.

“Our clients [have] legacy applications that they are trying to refactor for the public cloud,” Arterbury said.[XCS gives] visibility into all their resources, regardless of where those resources reside. »

The FlexPod CI line has remained popular over the past decade, Raffo said, noting that a converged infrastructure can scale individual infrastructure components. Separating the components is helpful compared to the all-or-nothing approach to hyperconverged infrastructure, which requires all parts of the technology stack to be extended if any of the components need to be replaced or expanded, he said. he declares.

“The idea behind FlexPod is to simplify both networking and storage,” he said. “It is a successful program for [Cisco and NetApp].”

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. It covers cloud and data storage news.