Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers and the third President of the US (amongst other achievements), once wrote “I had the good fortune to become acquainted very early with some characters of very high standing, and to feel the incessant wish that I could even become what they were”. His early life, fatherless from the age of 14 had, according to his writings, some dicey moments and he could easily have followed the bad company he sometimes kept. Fortunately for the Free World, he remained on the straight and narrow and went on to have an extremely distinguished and impactful career. I am sure he would have been a proponent of the aphorism “you are known by the company you keep” – see also Aesop’s fable about the Donkey and his buyer. In a way, that is true of business relationships as well. At NetApp we are very proud of all our relationships, they are not fair-weather – they are for all-weathers. See my colleague Thomas Ehrlich’s post on the importance of partnerships. We say, judge us by the company we keep. We believe in best-of-breed relationships as well as best-of-breed technology.
One of our most valued partnerships is that with Cisco. To paraphrase Jefferson’s words – we’d love to become what they are. At least as far as the scale they have achieved and their undisputed leadership of their major category (networking). For us it is storage and data management and we are closing in on market leadership. Cisco are also rapidly growing share in other categories such as servers and collaboration They are a company that puts its customers at the heart of its thinking – something we do as well.
In the last two years, the collaboration between our two companies has given birth to a fast-growing converged infrastructure solution, FlexPod. Recent additions to the offerings with entry level FelxPod ES and an SMB level product (ExpressPod) has grown the portfolio and the relationship. FlexPod is based on NetApp storage, blade servers and networking from Cisco and then a software solution from mutual partners such as Microsoft, VMWare and SAP. We have jointly shipped to over 2100 customers, across 35 countries, and through over 700 channel partners. As IDC have recognized, “FlexPod is one of the most compete private cloud architectures available” (whitepaper here).
Today we announced a further deepening of this key relationship. Manish Goel, EVP Porduct operations, NetApp and Padmasree Warrior, CTO & Strategy Officer Cisco discuss today’s announcement here.
What are the key takeaways? Well, firstly we are further deepening the integration within the FlexPod architecture – more servers, deeper support for Cloupia, CIAC, integration of Flash and so on. Secondly, we will continue to extend FlexPod outside the Datacenter as well as within. This will be instantiated at both the branch office level by more investment in ExpressPod and also within the public cloud and service providers with solutions specifically designed for that segment. And thirdly we will look to drive support for more and more workloads and the application validations sitting behind them. More details are available in the press release which you will find here.
The converged infrastructure market is hot right now. IT organizations are looking for pre-validated, integrated stacks that can be quickly provisioned and commissioned. It is this need that FlexPod is addressing. The past couple of years has been dynamic and full of opportunity.
But, to close with the words of Mr Jefferson “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past”. We are looking forward, whilst building on the success of the past. We are privileged to work so closely with a titan like Cisco.