FlexPod technology expanded to take on big data

UPDATED: This article has been changed to correctly identify services in the FlexPod portfolio.

Agencies looking to deploy next generation technologies that can handle the heavy workloads associated with big data, high-performance computing and video analytics have another option.

Cisco and NetApp have introduced a new converged infrastructure technology, FlexPod Select, designed to support data intensive workloads, according to a release.

FlexPod Select with Hadoop is the first set of reference designs in the FlexPod Select family. These preconfigured, validated solutions combine storage, networking and servers, integrating them with Hadoop, the open framework for processing massive amounts of data.

FlexPod Select will target the data-intensive requirements of Hadoop-based applications in the government sector as well as financial services, retail manufacturing and other markets. Organizations will be able to easily deploy FlexPod Select and scale the technology up as application requirements grow, company officials said.

FlexPod Select components include NetApp E-Series and FAS storage systems, Cisco Unified Computing System servers and fabric interconnect, and Cisco Nexus fabric extender. NetApp works with Cisco for infrastructure support and Cloudera or Hortonworks for Hadoop support, giving users access to technical support on all the interoperable technologies involved, officials said.

Cisco and NetApp are expanding the FlexPod portfolio to make data center infrastructures more responsive to the dynamic and changing uses of applications within organizations, offering new designs and capabilities across their entire portfolio. FlexPod Datacenter (formerly FlexPod), geared for core enterprise data centers and service providers, now includes the Cisco Nexus 7000 Series Switch for higher network availability and non-stop operations.  

The companies also unveiled FlexPod Datacenter with SnapProtect to provide a comprehensive disk-to-disk-to-tape backup and recovery solution. Along with FlexPod Datacenter and FlexPod Select, the companies offer FlexPod Express (formerly ExpressPod), designed for medium-sized business and branch offices,

Federal, state and local municipalities have deployed FlexPod Datacenter as the underlying infrastructure for private or hybrid cloud infrastructures. For example, Melrose, Mass., a small city seven miles north of Boston, is using FlexPod while breaking new ground as an IT service provider.  

FlexPod Datacenter is the underlying technology that allows Melrose's IT team to provide services to 18 sites within the city, including a variety of agencies such as the public school system, and the police and fire departments. Each school had its own data center and, in the case, of elementary schools, small-scale server rooms.  The city consolidated the schools’ entire infrastructure into a single data center using FlexPod.  Now the IT department is positioned to offer data center and IT services to other Massachusetts cities and towns via a secure, multitenant private cloud.

The IT team supporting the Energy Department’s Hanford Federal Community Cloud in Richland, Wash., has implemented FlexPod to help boost cloud performance and reduce the IT footprint.  The cloud infrastructure offers integrated video, voice and data services. The Hanford Federal Community Cloud is a private cloud catering to the needs of the Energy Department’s federal workforce, but at the same time it is a community cloud allowing contractors to securely communicate with the federal workers.

“FlexPod has given us the ability, in a small space, to manage the majority of our customers’ applications and services," Todd Eckman, vice president of Mission Support Alliance, a company set up to assist the Energy Department with the cleanup of toxic waste at the Hanford site, said during a recent interview. 

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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