DH Kass, Senior Contributing Blogger

October 15, 2012

2 Min Read
Cisco, NetApp Offer Entry-Level ExpressPod for SMBs

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) have rolled out ExpressPod, a starter version of their FlexPod converged architecture data center platform that pools server, storage and networking solutions under one umbrella, a move to capture more sales from SMBs.

This is the second time in the past six months that Cisco and NetApp have taken a run at the fewer-user market for FlexPod, offering in April a pared down version of the data center system suitable for branch office settings.

This time, however, ExpressPod is an entity unto itself, calibrated for SMBs just beginning to virtualize their networking, storage and compute environments, supplying prepackaged and tested solution bundles, and incorporating Cisco C-Series servers, NetApp FAS2220 or FAS2240 storage, and Cisco Nexus 3048 switches. The platform, which supports an open ecosystem of management and hypervisor solutions, will be available sometime in November and integrated and delivered by Cisco and NetApp channel partners.

It’s the channel partners, in fact, who Cisco and NetApp believe will make hay with ExpressPod, according to the companies. Some 660 channel partners are certified to sell the FlexPod platform (and, thus, ExpressPod), which Cisco and NetApp are supporting with a dedicated help desk to engender collaboration.

In particular for ExpressPod, Cisco and NetApp will offer channel partners a set of readiness and enablement packages with deployment guidance and training, support, marketing and demand generation to help them work with midsized businesses. Implementation guides will be available in November.

“With the introduction of ExpressPod and feature enhancements in FlexPod, NetApp and Cisco offer end-to-end infrastructure solutions for midsized businesses to large enterprises,” said Brendon Howe, NetApp vice president, Product and Solutions Marketing. “These solutions simplify data center infrastructure deployments and accelerate the move from fragmented application silos to shared, virtualized and cloud environments.”

The vendors, which displayed the infrastructure solutions at VMworld Europe last week, also offered a souped-up version of the two-year old FlexPod, adding storage clustering and a validated VMware (NYSE: VMW) solution for Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) Real Application Cluster.

For large enterprises, FlexPod now supports and validates VMware vSphere on NetApp’s Data OnTap operating system in Cluster Mode, which Cisco and NetApp said allows business to create large storage pools that span multiple devices and scale almost infinitely. Companies virtualizing Oracle RAC databases with VMware vSphere and vCenter have available from Cisco and NetApp validated design support, including documented deployment best practices.

According to the two companies, in its two years on the market about 1,300 businesses and organizations have bought the FlexPod data center system.

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About the Author(s)

DH Kass

Senior Contributing Blogger, The VAR Guy

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