Cloud StorageLeading enterprises are finding cloud storage to be a cost saving measure for managing their infrastructure. It also affords safety; if anything were to happen at the home office – a disaster, theft, or malfunction – you’d be able to recover all of your data. Ordering a preconfigured system from a vendor means you are using tried and tested equipment for optimizing a virtualized environment. The storage, networking systems, hypervisors, and management are already integrated.

FlexPod, a NetApp solution and Vblock from VMware’s Virtual Computing Environment Company are two solutions which have gained traction in the enterprise market. Both integrate computing switches, fabric interconnects, and more from Cisco. If your IT planning team is looking into an integrated solution, the choices on the market need to be carefully considered. A bundled system can be more easily implemented than a proprietary system, but the setup needs to work well with your network environment.


The FlexPod system features the FAS-series storage from NetAPP. All storage models from the company use a universal operating system called Data Ontap, but the storage models recommended depend on the architecture chosen. FlexPod can also be used with Microsoft’s Hyper V hypervisor as the same storage and networking components are included.

A pre-designed solution is provided by this system, but it is flexible in configuration compared to most pre-packaged systems. For administration, storage can be managed with the On Command management suit while networking and computing solutions from Cisco can be used too. There are also API’s from NetApp if customers want to use data center management software.


Vblock offers a system that can be more readily implemented and managed according to the individual needs of the organization. Also providing various Cisco components, the VMware system offers configurations such as Vblock 0, with storage capacity suitable for smaller enterprises, to the Vblock 300 series, or the Vblock 700MX that supports up to 2 picobytes of storage. It is an ideal solution for large enterprises.

Included with Vblock are VMware management tools and those from Cisco. VMware also keeps track of the new updates and patches which become available and tests them on all of the platform’s products. The company also notifies administrators as to how these should be applied. Customer support is structured with Internet technology enabling specialists to call customers when they fill out a Web form. NetApp has also developed a comprehensive support model for addressing and resolving customer issues.

Gartner’s Perspective

According to research from Gartner, FlexPod and Vblock, along with a solution from Oracle, each have about 20% of the market share. The company used the integrated infrastructure, workload systems, reference architecture, and software bundles to come to a conclusion. Finding the most suitable solution, therefore, comes down to the preference of your IT team and organization overall. A converged infrastructure will help your organization get the most out of the cloud and FlexPod and Vblock are two effective solutions for doing so.