Storage vendor NetApp’s biggest refresh of product lines to date includes the introduction of a new data center architecture design, FlexPod for VMware, that goes straight up against rival EMC’s Vblock architecture.

NetApp Channel Chief Julie Parrish told Channel Insider that the new FlexPod for VMware comes from the ongoing collaboration among Cisco, NetApp and VMware and the architecture is presized, validated and standardized and available through select joint channel partners. Parrish added that there are about 160 channel partners that overlap the three companies.

The lineup looks very much like EMC’s Vblock, which also includes technology from Cisco and VMware. EMC owns an 80 percent stake in VMware.  FlexPod includes VMware vSphere and vCenter and Cisco UCS and Nexus.

Parrish told Channel Insider that NetApp’s new FlexPod for VMware data center architecture would include NetApp’s FAS line of scale out storage, which NetApp has recently updated. The FAS 6200 series adds more speed for the most demanding applications, Parrish said “Far above what we’ve had in the past.” The 3200 series improvements include more competitive pricing and performance.

Channel partners will not be buying FlexPod as a single sku, however.

“Partners don’t like the idea of bundling all this as a single sku,” Parrish told Channel Insider. “They like the flexibility of being able to put it together themselves.”

The FlexPod provides the best of both worlds in that way, according to Parrish, who points out that the pretested architecture offers an element of certainty in choosing what solutions will go together, but still leaves partners with the value-add of providing integration services.


NetApp’s announced product updates include the following:

  • NetApp Data ONTAP 8: Data ONTAP 8 now offers greater flexibility, efficiency, scalability, and performance, NetApp said. Unified Connect supports all protocols through a single wire. NetApp DataMotion for Volumes allows customers to move large volumes of data without disrupting their business operations. The company also introduced inline data compression that can be used alone or with deduplication to reduce the amount of storage needed.NetApp
  • FAS/V6200 Series: A family of three new high-end storage systems—FAS/V6280, FAS/V6240, and FAS/V6210—extends NetApp’s unified architecture and provides double the performance, increased enterprise-class availability, and more scalability and flexibility.
  • NetApp FAS/V3200 Series: A family of three new midrange storage systems—FAS/V3270, FAS/V3240, and FAS/V3210—delivers one of the industry’s most cost-effective platform for greater flexibility and efficiency, higher performance, and enterprise availability, to support today’s midrange storage requirements and adapt to future changes.
  • NetApp Solid State Drives (SSDs): In addition to Flash Cache technology, NetApp’s SSDs provide fast response times, delivering high input/output operations per second and the flexibility to use them for SAN or NAS without needing a gateway or different storage system.
  • NetApp SAS Disk Shelf: NetApp’s SAS-based shelf, the new DS2246, helps double the performance density, can provide up to 50 percent better power efficiency per rack unit, and offers strong resiliency and availability for enterprise storage needs, the company said.
  • OnCommand Management Software Suite NetApp’s new management suite, enables better control and optimization of unified storage, automation for operational efficiency, and optimal flexibility with an open API that integrates with a variety of third-party management products and hypervisors.