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FlexPod thinks inside and outside the box

Bruno Messina
Bruno Messina

FlexPod Blog: FlexPod thinks inside and outside of the box.Thinking outside the box is a phrase that means seeing beyond what is front of us. We look at something and see it a new light. In other words, we think unconventionally as opposed to seeing whatever it is in only one way.

Thinking outside the box can be applied to the software that is everywhere in today's world, penetrating and transforming multiple industries and vertical markets.

Software has moved far beyond the earlier confines of computers—to watches, Internet of Things (IoT), games, and hardware abstractions, to name a few examples. Over time, industry by industry, software is changing and altering every organization’s competitive advantage and long-term positioning. Each industry vertical is seeing the increasing importance of software to its business. A small example that has had a big effect is an application that lets you order from your favorite restaurant online. FlexPod-DataCenter-1 In a similar manner, FlexPod® technology, from its beginning, had a big software-based competitive advantage with the Cisco UCS Manager. Cisco UCS Manager abstracts and automates the compute layer in a Cisco network, and industry-leading NetApp® ONTAP® data management software abstracts data services so that details don’t obscure what’s most important.

An IDC survey of organizations of all sizes who use FlexPod found many benefits for all of their IT teams:

  • 65% more time spent on innovation and new projects
  • 61% improvement in application performance
  • 60% decrease in number of unplanned downtime incidents
  • 34% decrease in data center floor space
  • 29% reduction in power and cooling
  • 24% savings in software capital expenditures (capex)

These benefits explain the widespread appeal and business value of FlexPod software and hardware.

IDC-paper-flexpod In addition, FlexPod provides a vast, deep, and rich portfolio of data center applications providing software that is inside the box and exciting new solutions like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) or EPIC and Meditech electronic health records (EHR).  FlexPod is constantly evolving, adding new reference architectures—Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) and NetApp Validated Architectures (NVAs)—to its family of more than 195 reference architectures. This constant modernization ensures consistent performance of modern enterprise applications—the largest and most complex, mission-critical enterprise applications like Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Microsoft SQL Server, and SAP and SAP HANA.  FlexPod is also continually adding new applications, workloads, and technologies to ensure that you have the application and technology improvements you need for your organization.

FlexPod also thinks outside the box and gives you:
  • A data fabric powered by NetApp
  • Cisco Intersight, a cloud operations platform
  • Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer, a multicloud application resource management solution
By thinking outside the box, FlexPod has increased its combined Cisco and NetApp software content, which increases your options. Since December 2020, Cisco and NetApp have added even more intellectual property(software) to the FlexPod portfolio.

You can try out the ONTAP integration with Cisco Intersight; this integration is now available in a technical preview release. Read these two blogs by Sree Lanka and Carol Chan to learn how to get started on this remarkable FlexPod Intersight, full-stack management. Also, read about the full orchestration capabilities of the ONTAP Integration of Cisco Intersight: cisco-intersight-150x150 Cisco and NetApp have published a technical preview paper describing the ONTAP integration with Cisco Intersight and the FlexPod integration with Cisco Intersight Workload Optimization Manager: Cisco-Intersight-Workload-Optimization-Manager Read how Cisco B-Series blade servers in FlexPods are now connected to Cisco Intersight with the latest technical preview release of Cisco Intersight Managed Mode for FlexPod.

Watch and listen as Cisco and NetApp executives talk about the increasingly greater alignment and partnerships between Cisco and NetApp and the growing FlexPod software portfolio of customer solutions.


The new parts of the combined Cisco and NetApp software portfolio are now being tested and verified and are fast becoming part of the large portfolio of FlexPod solutions. With these software enhancements, FlexPod now extends to the edge and to the hybrid cloud—thinking outside the box. What FlexPod offers you is only getting better as NetApp and Cisco think inside and outside the box.

FlexPod continues adding new solutions to its extensive portfolio:

  • VMware-vSphere-7The FlexPod® Express for VMware vSphere 7.0 with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp® AFF / FAS solution is a reference architecture solution for the latest vSphere 7.0. FlexPod solutions are thoroughly tested and perfect for edge and ROBO virtualization applications and are all hybrid-cloud-ready, with the data fabric powered by NetApp.
  • Oracle-Database-IconA new reference architecture for Oracle 19c RAC databases on FlexPod over Fibre Channel provides a referencing architecture that shows how Oracle 19c can be deployed using a root container database that hosts several pluggable databases (the CDB/PDB model) for resource sharing on bare-metal infrastructure and for database workload consolidation to reduce the total cost of ownership, decrease database sprawl, and increase resiliency.
  • FlexPod-EHRA FlexPod electronic health record (EHR) reference architecture is a tested solution that is engineered and designed to provide predictable low-latency system performance, high availability, high performance, flexibility, scalability, hybrid cloud readiness, and reliability.
  • A newly verified FlexPod with vSphere 7.0 and Cisco VxLAN EVPN single-site reference architecture that enables:
    • Scale of leaf-spine networking within a single site and across multisite data centers
    • Leveraging of standards-based protocol VxLAN EVPN to connect to a single site and across multi-site datacenters
    • Interoperability with heterogenous networking platforms
    • Future investment protection

FlexPod continues to think both inside and outside the box and making its solutions more valuable by ever-greater alignment and partnership between Cisco and NetApp. That alignment and partnership has brought you the ONTAP integration into Cisco Intersight. If you would like to learn more about FlexPod as a foundation for your enterprise workload, edge application, or hybrid cloud, check out this information: To talk to a specialist at Cisco Live 2021, schedule a meeting here.

Click here to sign up and enter a raffle, or enter the raffle to win an exclusive gaming package at Cisco Live 2021 in the NetApp digital booth.

Bruno Messina

Bruno Messina joined NetApp in 2018 and works in product marketing for FlexPod. His previous experience includes a career in product marketing of UCS servers for Cisco Systems and Solaris server marketing and competitive analysis at both Oracle and Sun Microsystems, where he joined in 2000. Bruno spent ten years in various roles of competitive analysis and product management at Sun Microsystems, leading analysis in both the workgroup and enterprise servers. Prior to Sun Microsystems, Bruno spent time finishing his MBA education and worked for two years at Cadence working on product marketing for both board-level and board timing tools. Bruno holds both a BSEE and MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

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