It’s been one year since Cisco & NetApp launched FlexPod, a modular cloud platform designed to accelerate our customers’ evolution from traditional IT infrastructure silos to a shared, virtualized infrastructure. While ‘virtualized infrastructure stacks’ is the IT industry’s product offering du jour, there are three key areas where FlexPod truly differentiates itself from the ‘stack’ offerings. I believe discussing these keys will help you to better understand why 450 customers to date have selected FlexPod as their cloud platform.
FlexPod Difference #1: Industry’s Only Standardized Platform
It’s widely understood that regardless of industry, every business seeks standardization of operational processes as a means to increase product quality while reducing the costs associated with the development and manufacturing processes.
Ironically standardization is not the norm within the product portfolios of many IT hardware vendors. It seems that too many are still operating with yesteryear’s mindset; one focused on delivering a limited set of capabilities that are bound to a specific hardware platform.
FlexPod is the only standardized infrastructure platform offering on the market. It is comprised of unified compute, network, and storage technologies that provide unified management interfaces, integration points, functionality and capabilities across a diverse set of hardware offerings. This standardization enables operational consistency and application design repeatability. As such these procedures and architectures are only be modified based on the size or capacity of the platform or application.
FlexPod Difference #2: Designed to Deliver Solutions
The delivery of applications on FlexPod has always been the focus of Cisco and NetApp. Since the initial release of FlexPod for VMware, which showcased our Secure Multi-Tenancy design, the platform has expanded to include support for bare metal deployments and virtual infrastructures powered by Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V (via the Cloud Fast Track Program).
Beyond the diversity of supported hosts, our engineering teams have invested literally tens of thousands of man hours designing, testing and validating application architectures for a plethora of applications including VMware View, Citrix, XenDesktop, Microsoft Exchange, SQL and SharePoint Server, Oracle Database, and SAP, just to name a few. By providing applications in a modular-design format, customers can accelerate their time to market while being assured that today’s configuration will scale to support their organization over time.
Combining these modular designs with the standardization of the FlexPod platform results in consistent functionality regardless of the size of the components deployed. This benefit eliminates the hidden pitfalls that are inevitable when deploying migrating between two distinct boutique platforms and instead allows on to begin viewing hardware as merely a means to scale a solution.
With the Unified Support Center and customers can be assured that they will receive the best in class joint support from Cisco & NetApp in the event of a FlexPod support escalation.
FlexPod Difference #3: Partners Ensure Customer Success
Our channel partners are the key to ensuring the success of our customers and the solutions deployed on the FlexPod platform. Frankly, I believe this is an area where FlexPod truly excels.
By relying on our channel partners to deliver the services our mutual customers require; Cisco, NetApp and our FlexPod technology partners can focus on developing rock-solid platforms and validated application designs. In turn our partners can showcase their technical skillsets by providing cloud-based services such as technical assessments, application and virtualization migrations, technical training, and tier 1 & tier 2 support services for the FlexPod. It is through this symbiotic relationship that the vendors, partners, and ultimately the customers win, as each is able to focus on their area of expertise.
Wrapping Up this Post
When one stops to consider the pace of innovation, for example VMware releases a new version of vSphere every 24 months, I believe we can all agree that rigidity in the IT infrastructure is dead. Standardization with native flexibility to adapt to an ever-advancing landscape is one of the most important attributes that an infrastructure platform can provide.
Over the past year customers have increasingly come to recognize the value of standardization and flexibility within their infrastructure. In fact, 450 of these customers made it a requirement of their cloud platform and selected to deploy on FlexPod. Should a virtualization vendor release a significant technological advancement in the near future, it may for all intensive purposes, render today’s ‘virtualized infrastructure stack’ to tomorrow’s technological debt.
I’d suggest you avoid the rigidity and consider deploying on a FlexPod platform. I assure you; twelve months from now there will be significantly more than the 450 who currently have.