Data Centre

Storage

Fujitsu, NetApp to drop it like it's Vblock: Year 8 is not 2000-and-late

FAS ONTAP storage + Fujitsu servers + Extreme switches

By Chris Mellor

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EMC introduced its converged infrastructure Vblock concept, integrating Cisco servers and networking, and EMC storage, in a rack system, in November 2009. Now, eight years later, Fujitsu and NetApp are getting into the idea with NFLEX.

The Vblock idea was to converge server, storage and networking infrastructure components for medium and large enterprises. Typically these were bought separately and integrated in a rack on the customer's site. A Vblock was pre-integrated and tested, and could be bought and deployed on-site as a single converged infrastructure (CI) system. So too with NFLEX.

It is the successor to the PRIMEFLEX vShape with NetApp storage system - PRIMEFLEX being a range of application-specific appliances first seen in late 2014. The vShape option was a set of reference architectures for server virtualisation or VDI, using either NetApp or Fujitsu's own ETERNUS storage.

NFLEX combines Fujitsu x86 servers, Extreme Network switches and NetApp ONTAP storage into an single racked system. Compute, memory and storage can be scaled independently.

The servers are PRIMERGY CX400 M4s; a 2U chassis holding up to 4 x 1U half-wide, dual-socket CX2500 series blades: CX2550, CX2560 or CX2570. These feature Xeon SP CPUs with up to 28 cores, Intel UltraPath interconnect and up to 2TB DRAM. The chassis has 24 x 2.5-inch drive bays. Power supply and cooling components are hot-pluggable.

NetApp supplies all-flash or hybrid flash/disk FAS arrays with its ONTAP software. System management is provided by Fujitsu's ServerView Infrastructure Manager which integrates with vCenter, and the NFLEX systems come with vSphere.

Systems can be ordered from Fujitsu or NetApp and either company can provide support. There is no performance data, and no datasheets are available, only marketing literature. We have no NFLEX model details or configuration data.

Get a NetApp NFLEX brochure here (PDF) and Fujitsu information here. Systems will be available in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in early 2018, and, presumably, elsewhere around the globe after that. ®

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