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Oracle embraces NetApp and Cisco's FlexPod

Oracle virtualisation, Linux and apps coming to rivals' stack-in-a-box

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A couple of weeks back, Gartner told The Reg that Oracle has more room for growth in virtualisation than just about any other player, perhaps including Microsoft.

That prediction looks a little sounder today, after LarryLand let it be known it has teamed up with NetApp to create an Oracle-centric of the storage vendor's FlexPods.

The FlexPod is best understood as a method for standing up a stack of storage, servers and virtual control freakery into an arrangement that looks and behaves an awful lot like what the Cisco/EMC/VMware/Intel-spawn VCE calls “integrated infrastructure”. NetApp therefore gets all frowny if you call a FlexPod a “reference architecture”, even though it's not possible to tick a box on an order form and ask for a FlexPod, because the components of a FlexPod can vary depending on just how far you want to … err … flex the design.

What never changes, however, is the presence of Cisco UCS servers and NetApp storage.

FlexPods are rather popular: NetApp proudly points to a few thousand installs.

How popular? We can now say they're popular enough for Oracle to want to play, as despite offering its own “engineered systems,” storage and servers, the company will work with NetApp to create flexpods based on Oracle Linux. One will offer what Oracle describes as an “Oracle VM architecture [ofering[ virtualization coverage for Oracle as well as non-Oracle workloads.” Two others offer bare-metal Oracle Linux environments.

A fourth, intriguingly, will come loaded with JD Edwards, bringing one of Oracle's flagship application suites into the FlexPod.

It's almost certainly over-reading the situation to suggest that Oracle can't sell JD Edwards on its own kit,or to suggest that teaming with NetApp and Cisco in this way signals weakness in Oracle's hardware business. It's far more likely Oracle simply recognises it can't win every part of every deal and thinks FlexPods will help it win more parts of more deals. If that means a new way for Oracle Virtualisation to reach the big-and-cloudy customers FlexPods target, Oracle won't lose much sleep about failing to sell servers and storage.

The reference architectures are due in June. Details of Oracle's intentions and thoughts on the matter were blogged here. ®

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