NetApp, Cisco, and the Future of Data

Earlier this month, Cisco launched its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which aims to optimize the data center infrastructure so that mobile-cloud applications can run unfettered by physical or virtual environment limitations. By delivering applications to end-users where, when, and on the device they want, AIC promises to “speed the rate of business.”

As Richi Jennings notes in an article on, a grand vision like ACI requires great partners, and Cisco has that in NetApp. The two already work together on the FlexPod converged infrastructure and share, in the words of NetApp CEO Tom Georgens. “a very, very tight integration of vision” for ACI.

In a blog post on, NetApp Chief Technology Officer Jay Kidd was enthusiastic about Cisco’s ACI, describing it as a “compelling vision to simplify and automate the provisioning, monitoring, and management of the entire infrastructure stack according to application profiles.” He notes the kindred nature of NetApp Data ONTAP, which is built on the belief that “data is not bound to any single storage controller and is free to move around without disruption to the data access.”

He adds, “The IT world only becomes truly software-defined when applications are not dependent on any single instance of a piece of hardware for their continuous operations.”

Does pairing ACI and Data ONTAP represent a watershed moment in IT operational efficiency? Kidd thinks so. “There hasn’t been this much significant change in the IT stack since the 80s and it is great fun to be a part of it.”

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