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From ‘Compulsive Connectivity’ to the Internet of Things

Zafar Anjum | April 11, 2014
In this interview with Karthik Ramarao, the NetApp APAC CTO discusses the changing storage needs of businesses in Asia.

Partnership with Cisco and the development of Flexpod

You had a partnership deal with Cisco, and you developed FlexPod. Can you tell us more about that?  

We do what we do best, which is storage and data management. However, when you look at the customer, he's not looking for just storage alone. He's looking for a solution for a particular problem. And the problem needs other components like network components or compute. And we don't believe that we'll be the best by owning all these ourselves but rather we believe we want to work with the best together so that we can provide the best of the solutions for our customers. And one such partnership is Cisco, where we delivered FlexPod. Cisco brings in the network and the compute, whereas we bring in the storage. Together, we come up with a solution that forms a building block for a variety of applications.

Where's the usage of that solution?

If you look at FlexPod now, it has a lot of storage, network, compute - all of that integrated. It's almost like a data centre in a box. There are a variety of sizes of this data centre in a box which are available. It could be used for a variety of applications. It could be used by an organization which is setting up a new infrastructure ... you roll it in and turn it on. It's built in a rack; you could move it around as you please. But what's important is scalability ... You don't want to build the silos of infrastructures which become difficult for customers to manage. The participation with Cisco is really to integrate this in a way that the customer gets a single pane of glass to manage his servers, networks and the storage; and not only for the box which he's on, but also for all the additional racks that gets added to it. With that single pane of glass, he's able to operate and manage a whole interconnected set of racks offering comprehensive servers and computing storage solutions. The important piece here is, each of these components is best in its class. It's Cisco for network, which is deemed as the best in the class of it.

It's been extremely successful for us as well as for Cisco. In APAC, we have one opportunity against some of the traditional players in this space like HP and IBM. As a result, we also have seen a growth in the number of partners who want to sell.

In APAC, what kinds of organisations are going for this? Banks, government offices...?

This is called integrated solutions, and a lot of customers traditionally used to buy these components separately, and then put them together on their own or through us system integrators. It takes time to integrate all these things together.


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