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NetApp and Cisco expanded their FlexPod lineup today, re-naming their main and SMB reference architectures and adding a version specifically for Hadoop.
The FlexPod lineup now consists of FlexPod Datacenter (formerly FlexPod), FlexPod Express (formerly ExpressPod ) for SMBs and FlexPod Select for data intensive workloads. FlexPod Select for Hadoop is the first Select configuration, validated for Hadoop workloads with Cloudera and Hortonworks. It is also the first FlexPod to include NetApp E Series storage along with its flagship FAS unified storage platform.
FlexPod is architecture built on existing products, so there is no new technology involved in these configurations. Even the new FlexPod Select looks a lot like the NetApp Open Solution for Hadoop that NetApp has sold for about a year now. Both FlexPod Select and Open Solution include NetApp FAS and E Series storage, the file system and Hadoop application. With Open Solutions, customers pick their own servers and networking, while the FlexPod version includes Cisco servers (UCS) and switching (Nexus, Catalyst and/or MDS). FlexPod Select uses FAS 2220 and E5460 storage while Open Solution for Hadoop uses FAS2200 and E2600.
Other FlexPod updates include the Nexus 7000 switch and NetApp SnapProtect data protection software in the DataCenter version.
Brandon Howe, NetApp VP of product and solutions marketing, said future fFlexPod Select architectures will focus on “high performance, bandwidth-hungry apps” such as video and other high performance computing (HPC) workloads. He said the Select platform might also include all-flash versions.
FlexPod Express for SMBs has the same configuration as before. “Only the name is changing,” Cisco VP of data center marketing Jim McHugh.
Howe said the name change came about because customers often did not understand ExpressPod was part of the FlexPod family. “People were saying, ‘we really like ExpressPod, it would be great if you could do this with FlexPod, too,’” he said.
Cisco and NetApp claim 2,400 FlexPod customers in the three years since they formalized the reference architectures. They see that as a success, although EMC president David Goulden mocked that number last week during EMC’s earnings call. Goulden said EMC has sold more than 3,600 Vspex reference architectures since April 2012.
“In other words, in less than half the time we have sold more systems than another less flexible reference architecture that has been on the market for several years,” Goulden said.
Cisco is neutral in the EMC-NetApp reference architecture faceoff because it is also an EMC Vspex partner and is a partner in the VCE company set up by EMC, VMware and Cisco to sell Vblock converged stacks.