Last month, I blogged about the potential impact of the new Unified Computing Vision from Cisco and how a compute infrastructure designed from the ground up to integrate with a virtualized, unified fabric would deliver a whole new level of agility to data center deployments.
Well, it’s here. And it’s big. The combination of Unified Computing Systems (UCS) and technology like VMotion fills in the gaps in the vision of bladed servers – flexible, pooled compute resources that applications can use dynamically without constant human intervention. Virtual machines (VMs) are now really free to move about the network without being constrained to the same VLAN or subnet or other addressing constraint. In an era where staff is short and everyone is looking to get a more agile infrastructure with less management effort, this is a home run.
Cisco’s UCS is perfectly aligned with NetApp’s storage solutions.
First, the level of virtualization in the UCS is a perfect match for the NetApp Unified Storage platform we have been shipping since 2003. Just as UCS brings simplified scale-out compute to the datacenter, NetApp has been shipping scale-out storage for 3 years now, and will take this even further with our Data ONTAP 8 release later this year.
Second, UCS uses 10G Ethernet as the unified wire to network and storage. NetApp is the clear leader in Ethernet attached storage with strong support for FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS on the entire product line. Both platforms also fully support connection to existing Fibre Channel fabrics so there are no hard tradeoffs to make when it comes to connectivity.
Finally, this announcement builds on the strategic partnership between Cisco and NetApp. We partnered along with VMware last fall to announce Fibre Channel over Ethernet product. NetApp is using the Cisco Nexus products in our 1500-node KiloClient lab. And we have a number of very strong channel partners capable of building a “Data Center of the Future” based on Cisco UCS and NetApp storage.
Today’s economy sucks, and customers are actively looking for new approaches that materially reduce their operating costs. I was out over the last two weeks talking to customers about NetApp’s advantages in Storage Efficiency and it is clear that people’s minds are open to new ideas and new vendors to change the game in their infrastructure.
Cisco and NetApp. It’s a new game.