As most IT managers are probably aware, unified stack architectures are all the rage these days, with the likes of IBM, HP, Dell and Cisco each coming out fighting with their own versions. They are popular for good reason, since these stacks make it far easier and faster for IT groups to source and deploy new, highly compact and efficient computing resources.
In short, unified stacks combine all the piece parts necessary to deliver a complete virtualized computing environment, including the server, storage and networking components. They’re all assembled by either the vendor, a distributor or partner according to a reference architecture, so what the end customer gets is a set of components all configured, wired and tested for the applications of the customer’s choice, ready to go to work.
Or, at least, almost ready.
You still need vital supporting infrastructure around the stack, meaning things like UPSs, PDUs, cooling, environmental monitoring and other management tools, along with a rack or enclosure in which to store it all.
That’s where Schneider Electric and in particular our NetShelter CX enclosures enter the picture. The NetShelter CX, also known as the “server room in a box,” houses IT and networking gear somewhere other than a dedicated server room or data center – such as an office environment or retail store. They’re a great fit for all workspaces, from small and medium sized businesses to branch and remote offices because they muffle about 90% of the sound of the enclosed IT equipment. Plus they’re fan-cooled, lockable and look like just another piece of furniture in the office. (For more details check out this previous post on the NetShelter CX.)
Just as the hardware vendors use distribution and integration partners to integrate compute, storage and networking components, our Schneider Electric partners can integrate all of the supporting infrastructure that you need. Starting with a NetShelter CX or NetShelter SX, we’re adding UPSs, PDUs, security cameras, temperature and humidity sensors to the reference architecture and giving our partners the tools to modify, build and deliver these solutions direct to you. We are also including the option of data center infrastructure management software that gives managers at a central site the ability to remotely monitor and control the whole unit, wherever it may be.
We have several options to choose from, all sized appropriately for various hardware stack configurations. That relieves a significant headache for customers, who no longer have to source, size, acquire and configure all those various components.
So now you can literally roll them off a truck and place them wherever you want. Within minutes an entire small business or remote/branch office application environment can be cranked up and communicating with a central data center or cloud provider. A multi-branch office roll-out can now happen in days rather than months.
While our solutions can be used with any vendor’s unified architecture, we’ve gone the extra mile with Cisco, given the company is one of our alliance partners. Cisco and NetApp’s FlexPod architecture includes Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, Nexus and Catalyst switches, FAS storage hardware from NetApp and virtualization software from VMware or Microsoft. Schneider Electric takes all the FlexPod components and wraps them in a ‘life-support infrastructure solution’ comprising our NetShelter CX enclosures (or a NetShelter SX for server room or data center environments) along with UPSs, PDUs, environmental sensors and the like. We call it FlexPod and FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric, and it really does eliminate most of the time associated with designing, building, testing and deploying new virtualized IT platforms. It also reduces the risk that something will go wrong because it combines the baked-in expertise of Cisco, NetApp and Schneider Electric with the power of our Partner network.
Check out this video to learn more about the FlexPod and FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric. I think you’ll be glad you did.