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FlexPod XCS is here!

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Bruno Messina
Bruno Messina

FlexPod® XCS is now generally available. It’s the first installment in both full-stack visibility and automation and single pane of glass management for FlexPod customers. 

flexpod xcs launch

What does this general availability milestone mean for customers? Now FlexPod XCS, leveraging its integration into the Cisco Intersight cloud operations platform, can see inventory and catalog all FlexPod XCS assets, no matter where they reside physically. Clients can now streamline their planning. Customers don’t have to manually check which Cisco and NetApp® components together constitute a FlexPod® instance. Holistically seeing each FlexPod through Intersight saves time, reduces costs, increases accuracy, and improves planning, whether you have 10, 100, or 1,000 FlexPod XCS instances.

Here are a few of the many new FlexPod XCS features that are now generally available.

Inventory of all FlexPod components

  • Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)
  • Cisco Nexus/MDS
  • NetApp storage
  • VMware Virtualization
  • Cisco Fabric interconnects

Deep visibility into NetApp storage details

  • Model
  • ONTAP version
  • Volumes
  • LUNs
  • Aggregate and storage virtual machines
  • Nodes, disks, and ports

    Customers can also double-click to see their latest ONTAP array status across all their FlexPod XCS platforms. Clients gain grouping, inventorying, health, and visibility benefits across each of their FlexPod XCS platforms as holistic units.

    • FlexPod instances. Smart wizard groups the components of FlexPod together as a manageable instance. Support for multiple FlexPod XCC instances. Monitoring via preselected FlexPod specific dashboard widgets.
    • Inventory. Visibility into all of the FlexPod XCS inventory in one place for deep insight into the hardware, software, and other components of FlexPod. Inventory of the FlexPod XCS stack includes Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp storage. 
    • Health. Visibility into health and alarms information is available in the context of FlexPod. This feature includes alarms, metrics, and available capacity, enabling a single point of monitoring for all the managed FlexPod instances. 

Another important addition is that each FlexPod XCS can now be seen in its entirety as a singular FlexPod with alerts, utilization, capacity, and cluster status. Customers gain more insight, value, and utilization across their FlexPod XCS environments. FlexPod XCS can be grouped and categorized for purpose; utilization and health are monitored. Now customers can learn about any issues early and take action more quickly.

View FlexPod XCS holistically as an ensemble

  • Claim deployed components and create unified FlexPod XCS views
  • See each FlexPod XCS instance with a single, unified (all Cisco and NetApp components, vSphere) view through Intersight
  • FlexPod Health Summary, FlexPod alerts
  • Top 5 FlexPod instances by traffic utilization
  • Top 5 FlexPod storage instances by capacity utilization
  • NetApp cluster status
  • ONTAP OS summary
  • Computer hardware and OS summary

Beyond a single FlexPod XCS view and detailed inventory status, FlexPod XCS has added storage automation and orchestration, boosting customer productivity, extending infrastructure longevity, and setting a new standard in hybrid cloud infrastructure. Partners and customers can build their own tasks in Intersight Cloud Orchestrator (ICO) to gain tailored automation or to combine these building blocks with out-of-the-box workflows. In other words, the productivity increases complement and supplement current customer IT processes.

New NetApp storage automation tasks

  • NetApp storage orchestration combined with VMware virtualization tasks:
    1. Set up storage virtual machines, logical interfaces, volume, LUN, host or igroup, export policy using Reference workflows
    2. Add vCenter target to Intersight via Intersight Assist
    3. Execute Reference workflows available out of the box to create storage virtual machine, IP or FC interfaces, export policy, host or igroup, volume, LUN on NetApp storage
    4. Add host to vCenter cluster and scan for Datastore in vCenter
  • Out-of-the-box workflows
  • Ability to add custom workflows and tasks
  • Customize the tasks

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, FlexPod XCS customers can check on the Cisco HCL and NetApp Interoperability Matrix Tool for their entire FlexPod XCS stack.

  • Is firmware storge up to date?
  • Do UCS and Nexus firmware match best practices for this design?

The entire stack has now been checked. If any question is answered No, an update can be scheduled. For each FlexPod instance this is a helpful organizational tool and time saver. Now FlexPod XCS instances remain under the correct specification and don’t drift from their intended designs, increasing performance and better aligning to business needs. A rock-solid, reliable, performant FlexPod XCS can retain that state in an automated fashion throughout its life.

Two additional points to keep in mind:

  1. FlexPod XCS will continue to increase in value to customers over time as new features and automation building blocks are added to the CI/CD development cycle. NetApp and Cisco are on a journey to bring more functionality to our joint offering through their CI/CD joint development work.
  2. FlexPod and FlexPod XCS co-exist and will build on each other over time. FlexPod will continue to improve as it has in the past. Nothing changes for FlexPod clients who want to continue using and purchasing it. In complementary fashion, FlexPod XCS enhances and builds on this strong FlexPod foundation with new visibility and automation capabilities.

The future is complex, the future is hybrid, and it will be built on standardized, tested, and automated infrastructure. FlexPod XCS extends converged infrastructure into hybrid cloud operations delivering one automated platform for all your modern apps, data and hybrid cloud services. Start taking advantage of these great capabilities with FlexPod XCS today, it only gets better!

To learn more, visit:

And take a look at what our partner Cisco is saying about FlexPod XCS.

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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