In 2020, IT teams are looking to invest in on-premises infrastructures that will give them the strongest foundation for the future while addressing their most challenging requirements today, including digital transformation and an actual path to the cloud that is more than just PowerPoint. Not all solutions are created equal.
In this article, we look at the key capabilities of FlashStack, the infrastructure platform from Cisco and Pure Storage, and explain why it is unique in addressing the challenges and opportunities of today’s on-premises IT environments—particularly when it comes to simplicity and cost, performance and resilience, and flexibility and scalability.
A stateless architecture
FlashStack is comprised of best-of-breed solutions from Cisco and Pure, both of which feature stateless architectures. This is extremely important because it dramatically simplifies management and scaling, and provides a clear path to levering technology innovation.
IT teams can create workload deployments where identity is abstracted from the underlying physical hardware, making Day One and Day Two management more automated and cost efficient.
Most important, a stateless architecture allows upgrades and refreshes to take place seamlessly with existing technology in place, avoiding forklift upgrades that suffocate IT budgets and project time. Customers can use their existing storage and server footprint, expanding as capacity and performance requirements change.
Customers can also scale more easily with a stateless architecture. In some modern solutions, particularly hyperconverged infrastructures (HCI), when you scale compute, you also have to scale storage and networking. Storage expansions are often the same scenario or require special options that diverge from HCI’s linear scaling design center, with resulting complexity. A tightly coupled architecture means you may be overspending and overprovisioning.
With FlashStack’s loose coupling, you can scale each resource when needed, without being forced to scale the entire infrastructure at the same time. You can scale for performance, or you can scale for capacity―whatever meets the needs of your particular workloads and applications.
For single-pane-of-glass management, Cisco is heavily investing in Intersight as a cloud-based management platform that can encompass multiple management interfaces. Further, Pure Storage is the only Cisco partner with Intersight integration, allowing management of all the FlashStack layers from Intersight (VMware, Pure Storage, Nexus/MDS, UCS, etc.). This can lead to significant operational savings.
In addition, customers can use Pure’s cloud-based management console, Pure1, to complement Intersight. Pure1 uses advanced analytics and telemetry to simplify management of upgrades, predict performance and capacity requirements, support use of snapshots and replication, and automate key deployment and operational functions. Customers can even open and manage support tickets from the Pure1 mobile app—a seemingly minor feature that has an outsize impact on the customer’s quality of life.
Solutions can be deployed flexibly by customers, depending upon needs, resources and skill sets. Any deployment of FlashStack can be up and running quickly thanks to tools provided to Cisco and Pure partners. With Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs), customers can go even faster with more than 25 documented, validated and tested application-centric designs. CVDs give customers confidence that an application will perform as needed, while not locking them into a rigid “not supported if any changes are made” model.
The foundational components of FlashStack incorporate Cisco UCS blade servers, Cisco networking and Pure Storage all-flash arrays, including options for advanced technologies such as FlashBlade for file and object storage as well as NVMe-based arrays for performance-driven workloads.
FlashStack can be used as the infrastructure platform for a wide range of use cases, including modernization of legacy applications such as SAP and Oracle and new initiatives that rely on robust, high-performance and easily scalable infrastructure, such as virtual desktop infrastructure. FlashStack is also available as a holistic solution to serve as the infrastructure for a complete end-to-end pipeline for artificial intelligence initiatives.
Benefits of FlashStack
With FlashStack, organizations can achieve breakthrough benefits in simplicity and cost, performance and resilience, and flexibility and scalability. This means faster time to market, guaranteed performance, higher availability, management simplicity, support for hybrid and private cloud environments and the ability to consume innovation easily.
IDC conducted a study of customers to analyze the business value of FlashStack. The research revealed that customers choose FlashStack for three primary reasons: simplicity and consolidation, better performance and optimization of storage costs.
By using FlashStack versus other solutions, customers were able to save money, reduce complexity, improve productivity and mitigate risk. Specific benefits included:
- 431% average five-year return on investment
- 10 months to payback of initial investment
- 46% reduction in the five-year cost of operations
- 3% higher net productivity for users of applications on FlashStack
- 58% improvement in application performance
- 61% more efficient IT infrastructure teams
- 63% reduction in unplanned downtime
Can your organization achieve the same levels of improvement? The only way to know is to find out for yourself. Please review the articles and resources on this site and visit our FlashStack landing page.