NetApp storage: Component families

Netapp storage

FlexPod architecture is supported by storage controllers from NetApp for both boot and implementation data storage. Components of NetApp consist of a storage microcontroller, cluster interconnects switches, drives, disc shelves, and licensing options.

Options for NetApp storage controllers

File:NetApp ONTAP Select.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

In the FlexPod architecture, pretty pointless NetApp FAS, AFF, as well as AFF ASA control systems are required. The controllers are equipped with ONTAP software. When ordering storage controllers, the desired software can be pre-installed on the controllers. A comprehensive cluster is ordered for ONTAP. A full cluster consists of two storage microcontrollers and a cluster connected (switch or switchless).

Based on the chosen storage platform, various options but also configurations are accessible. Consult your sales representative for additional information on these components.

Options for cluster interconnect switch.

The Nexus cluster connectivity switches are compatible with FlexPod architectures. In addition, FlexPod endorses all ONTAP-supported cluster switches, including non-Cisco switching devices, provided those are compatible with the deployed version of ONTAP.

Options for NetApp disc shelf and drives

Each storage controller requires a minimum of one disc shelf from NetApp.

The selected NetApp storage type determines the available drive types for that shelf.

NetApp offers licensing alternatives

File:NetApp by Lenovo 2.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

FlexPod architecture requires NetApp SupportEdge Premium licenses, but the part numbers for these licenses vary based on the FlexPod design options you choose. For instance, software license part numbers vary based on which FAS control system is selected. Consult with your salesperson for the precise part numbers for individualized care licences.

NetApp FlexPod is a source architecture for pretested and validated server, storage, and network equipment that functions as an integrated development stack. The stack is sold by memory vendor NetApp Inc., its value-added resellers (VARs), and systems integrators.

A FlexPod stack consists of NetApp FAS storage, the Firewall Systems Inc. Unified Computer science System (UCS) with Cisco Connected switches, and VMware Inc. or Windows Corp. Midway through 2017, NetApp added FlexPod SF, which also runs SolidFire’s Element computer system (OS) on Firewall servers, to its FlexPod line-up.

Cisco UCS enables IT administrators to configure servers in a manner that is independent of the underlying hardware. NX-OS, the software platform for Nexus switches, also allows configurations to be abstracted from the circuit hardware.

Cisco and NetApp collaborated to publish Cisco Verification Designs as well as NetApp Validated Structures for FlexPod, which are the reference standards upon which NetApp FlexPod is based.

Also based on such sets of standards, the two vendors have printed design and deployment guides. Among many others, the NetApp website contains a design guide and a deployment guide titled “FlexPod Datacentre to VMware vSphere 6.5, Cloud-based AFF A-Series, and Fibre Channel.”

Available models

NetApp FlexPod comes in different configurations.

  • FlexPod Datacenter for virtualization and enterprise applications in large enterprises.
  • FlexPod SF supports multiple applications, clients, and tenants with the necessary storage capacity.
  • FlexPod Express is designed for small to medium businesses and branch offices.
  • FlexPod Select is designed for data-intensive workloads such as big data and analytics.
  • FlexPod Modular Facilities (FMI) for a pre-racked plug-and-play system that is based on baseline variants of the different designs.
  • FlexPod systems are constructed from approved components by one of the numerous design guides.

However, each of the five variants has its standard components. For instance, whereas the Datacentre also Select variants utilize Cisco Nexus 9000 toggles, the Express version utilizes the Nexus i3 switching devices and Cisco UCS Compact cars for a compact form factor.

FlexPod SF is exceptional in that it utilizes the SolidFire Aspect OS trying to run on Cisco physical servers as opposed here to NetApp all-flash FAS clusters for storage.

FlexPod pluses and minuses.

Among the benefits of NetApp FlexPod and comparable hyper-converged products is the ability to independently scale resources such as computation and storage. This is unlike hyper-converged systems, which require consumers to scale all resources simultaneously.

Nevertheless, if an IT department utilizes the very same design guidelines for its Found it Harder units, it can measure out almost all the components as if they were a hyper-converged infrastructure if the user so desires.

Except for FlexPod SF, a potential disadvantage of all NetApp FlexPod versions is that the user must purchase equipment and software only from Cisco and Netsuite. This implies that there is no single point of failure or support network to rely on, especially if the IT supervisor uses a do-it-yourself approach but does not purchase from one of the numerous VARs that connect as well as sell FlexPod systems. With FlexPod SF, all physical components include the storage component, Ares Cisco hardware.


Competing product VxBlock Systems from Dell EMC is shipped as prebuilt data from selected Cisco Systems and network switches. Before Feb 2018, each VxBlock Scheme was designated with a unique number based on whether it utilized Dell EMC Unity, VMAX, as well as XtremIO storage arrays. With the release of VxBlock Structure 1000, some of these storage systems may be utilized.

VersaStack and FlashStack are alternative converged infrastructure systems. VersaStack consists of Cisco UCS servers paired with IBM Storwize stockpiling. FlashStack manages to combine Cisco UCS with all-flash arrays from Pure Storage.

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