Announcing FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud


Today, we are very pleased to announce the latest private cloud offering from NetApp, Cisco and Microsoft:  FlexPod with Microsoft Private Cloud.  This reference implementation is our second major generation of private cloud solution built on Windows Server 2008 R2.  The major update for this version is that we are now fully integrated with System Center 2012.  Taking advantage of NetApp’s tight integration with System Center via OnCommand Plug-In for Microsoft 3.1, this solution allows enterprise customers to quickly deploy private clouds based on this standard platform.

A private cloud, built on NetApp storage and Microsoft Windows, Hyper-V, and System Center, enables the delivery of IT services and applications for your organization.  NetApp and Microsoft deliver on the promise of private clouds, enabling you to:

  • Accelerate time to market by enabling faster responses to changing business needs using a scalable, dynamic IT infrastructure
  • Improve operational and management efficiencies using metering, analytics, automation and self-service capabilities
  • Lower overall costs using a flexible multi-tenant and efficient shared IT infrastructure



NetApp: The Foundation of the Microsoft Private Cloud

NetApp’s sophisticated storage capabilities and data management software integration with Microsoft provide a strong foundation for a Hyper-V private cloud. NetApp’s shared infrastructure enhances private cloud deployments with the following features:

  • Storage efficiency: NetApp provides leading storage efficiency features such as deduplication, thin provisioning, Microsoft application-aware data protection, multi-tenancy, and the ability to scale up and down, making NetApp a very capable storage foundation for private clouds.
  • Unified architecture: The NetApp Unified Storage Architecture and NetApp Data ONTAP® operating system provide a common and flexible platform that supports multiple protocols (FC, iSCSI, FCoE, SMB) and diverse workloads and can meet changing requirements without forklift upgrades.
  • Integrated solutions with Microsoft: NetApp is integrated with the Microsoft Windows and Hyper-V platform as Interoperability with Microsoft products, expertise in storage and cloud computing, and a strong partnership with Microsoft, NetApp is your partner of choice for transforming the promise of a Microsoft private cloud into real-world business results. well as the System Center product line to enable deployments of cloud infrastructures. Your organization can leverage NetApp storage and data management software together with Microsoft Hyper-V for server virtualization
  • and Microsoft Systems Center for manageability of your enterprise data center infrastructure, including the enterprise applications such as Exchange Server, SQL Server®, and SharePoint® that you deploy to run in the cloud.
  • Private cloud expertise: With a large portfolio of successful private cloud deployments and a strong partnership with Microsoft, NetApp is the ideal partner to help you implement your NetApp Hyper-V private cloud infrastructure. Our expertise is available to you through documented solution guides, operational best practices; services that can help you jump-start your private cloud project; and knowledge transfer to enable your long-term success.


A Closer Look at NetApp for Microsoft Private Cloud Key components of NetApp for Microsoft Private Cloud include:

  • NetApp storage systems running the Data ONTAP operating system provide data management capabilities, including storage management, provisioning, backup, recovery, and disaster recovery.
  • Microsoft Systems Center components, including Virtual Machine Manager, Operations Manager, Service Manager, and Opalis, can leverage the unique capabilities of NetApp storage solutions through products such as NetApp Appliance- Watch™ PRO to provide comprehensive private cloud management and self-service capabilities.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V enables consolidation of physical servers into virtual machines that can run various application workloads, including Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server.


These tightly integrated components enable the NetApp for Microsoft Private Cloud to deliver:


  • Scalability and elasticity: Together, NetApp and Microsoft enhance the flexibility of resources in your private cloud. For example, NetApp FlexVol® software allows you to add storage capacity and expand volumes—without taking the NetApp storage system offline and with minimal disruption to the applications running. In addition, the combination of Microsoft Hyper-V and
  • NetApp SnapDrive® for Windows allows you to virtualize servers and storage into resource pools and scale these resources up or down to meet changing business needs.
  • Automated workflow: The combination of Microsoft Opalis Integration Server with sample workflows, Opalis Integration Packs (OIP), and PowerShell scripts from NetApp enables improved productivity and reduced risk through self-service orchestration.
  • Predictable, multi-tenant platform: Monitoring storage utilization, performance, and system health with Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and NetApp OnCommand Plug-in for Microsoft increases overall predictability of cloud deployments. Also, OnCommand Plug-in for Microsoft and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) can alert
  • administrators to storage issues affecting specific VMs and perform autoremediation before issues become problems. Multi-tenancy is part of NetApp storage and Hyper-V software, enabling the cost-effective and secure partitioning of a single system to support multiple tenants, such as customers, business units, or workgroups.
  • On-demand self-service: Through the Cloud Services Process Pack (CSPP), end users can create simple requests that trigger automated provisioning via System Center Orchestrator and the OCPM Orchestrator Integration Pack.
  • Application centric: NetApp Snap- Manager® products for Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server provide backup and recovery and disaster recovery capabilities so you can protect key workloads in your Hyper-V private cloud. You can meet backup windows with near-instantaneous backups, create point-in-time copies as frequently as once per minute, simplify backup operations through policy-based automation, restore all of your Microsoft application data in minutes, provide single mailbox recovery (for Exchange) as needed without affecting other users, and efficiently replicate backups to other locations for additional protection.


The Road to the Private Cloud

You can move to the Microsoft private cloud model incrementally, without ripping and replacing your current infrastructure. The path your company takes depends on your starting points and objectives, but in general there are four steps to consider:

  • Standardize. Unifying hardware and creating repeatable processes help to deliver predictable services that can result in shorter provisioning times and lower support costs.
  • Consolidate and virtualize. Consolidating and virtualizing servers and storage are prerequisites to the construction of private clouds. This step helps you increase asset utilization by making it easier to move workloads and scale on demand; it also enhances availability by making it easier to implement high availability and disaster recovery for many applications.
  • Automate and orchestrate. Once you begin automating regular practices such as provisioning, activation, backup, and replication, your IT staff will be able to orchestrate and scale IT services using private clouds.
  • Centralize management. Centralized management is a necessary characteristic of private clouds because it gives you a complete picture of what resources you have, what you need, and a projection of future usage and expenditures. It also allows IT to measure usage and implement chargeback models, and it enables IT to implement self-service portals that empower users to perform common tasks, freeing up IT staff to focus on value-added services.

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I’d like to thank Alex Jausch for the content of this post and the permission to reproduce it here.

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