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Among three previous configurations of Small/Medium/Large in architecture of FlexPod Express one more appeared under the name Cisco UCS-Managed. In this article the speech about this new configuration will go. FlexPod Express and FlexPod Datacenter are divided into two main types of connection: direct connection of SHD to servers (between SHD and servers there is no switch) or via the switch (between SHD and servers there is a switch), I will remind that Fabric Interconnect is not the switch, but part of the UCS domain of servers.
FlexPod Express: UCS-Managed configuration
It should be noted several important differences of a new configuration from previous three.
  • First in architecture there were Fabric Interconnect, let also performed by the internal devices installed in the UCS Mini chassis with blades.
  • Secondly in architecture the possibility of direct connection of SHD to Fabric Interconnect appeared, earlier between servers and SHD there shall be a switch. At the same time the switch had to be only Nexus (3048/3500/9300).
  • In the third if we have a configuration of FlexPod Express Cisco UCS-Managed with direct connection, the switch for connection of ultimate users shall not be Nexus. Now it can be any standard switch maintaining fault tolerance on similarity of Multi Chassis Etherchannel. But if between UCS and FAS the switch is necessary, then the switch is obliged to be Nexus.

Redundant switches
9.3 Cisco Nexus Switches
Redundant switches are required for all FlexPod Express architectures.
The FlexPod Express small and medium architectures are built using the Cisco Nexus 3048 GbE switches. FlexPod Express large architectures are built using the Cisco Nexus 3524 10GbE switches or the Cisco Nexus 9396 10GbE switches. FlexPod Express with the Cisco UCS Mini (Cisco UCS-managed) architecture is validated using the Cisco Nexus 3524. This configuration can also be deployed with a standard switch.

It is important to note that lack of Nexus is provided only in FlexPod Express configuration with direct connection of storage to UCS mini. The switches Nexus are still necessary for FlexPod DataCenter, even in case of Storage Directly Attached of configurations, and also FlexPod Express Small/Medium/Large and FlexPod Express UCS-managed (where the switch is necessary). Direct connection both for FlexPod DataCenter and for FlexPod Express is supported only with block protocols.

Minimum requirements to Software:

NetApp Data ONTAP
  • Data ONTAP 7-Mode requires 7.3.5 or later, including Data ONTAP 8.X
  • Clustered Data ONTAP requires Data ONTAP 8.1.1 or later

  • CiscoNX-OS version 5.0(3)N1(1c) or later if Nexus is
  • Cisco UCS Manager 3.0 (1c) if is

All versions of software need to be checked in a compatibility matrix.

Requirements to support level

  • SMARTnet 24x7x4 support for Cisco equipment.
  • SupportEdge Premium 4 hours onsite, CS-O2-4HR support for NetApp equipment
  • Both supports have to work equal number of months.
  • Minimum necessary support of 36 months.

If you already have NetApp and UCS Mini

You can register them as FlexPod Express and to get cooperative technical support. In the same way it is possible and to register FlexPod DataCenter. For this purpose it is necessary to observe a number of requirements:
  • To bring a configuration into accord to architecture (settings of a network, setup of profiles, SHD, the scheme of connection a component, etc.), for FlexPod Express and UCS Mini (without switch Nexus) to connect SHD directly.
  • To make sure that all versions of firmwares are present at a matrix of compatibility and if is not present, then to bring your configuration into accord to a matrix.
  • Service level on technical support has to conform to requirements of architecture.

When all requirements are observed, it is necessary to appeal to your partner (integrator) to register your existing configuration as FlexPod Express/DataCenter. The integrator to address a distribyutor and representation of NetApp which zaregisrirut such system for cooperative support.

UCS Director

UCS Director is an orkestrator which can manage the equipment NetApp, the switches Nexus (including virtual and VM-FEX), to manage profiles of servers and virtual computers on different hypervisors. Orkestrator allows to create flows (Workflow) of in advance created sequences of setup of all DPC, automating and simplifying process of its operation. UCS Director contains also a self-service portal that gives the chance of rendering of services of IaaS and PaaS as for internal, and external consumption. Very important also the fact that the orkestrator allows to execute billing of the consumed resources it gives the chance to IT departments easier to reason their expenditure and to attract additional investments into IT the budget.


Configurations of FlexPod of architecture allow to reduce time for testing and commissioning of a solution, and also to simplify operation in the future thanks to openness of documentation and automation of routine processes on administration.

FlexPod with Cisco UCS Mini Design Guide

By errors in the text I ask to send messages to a LAN.
Notes, additions and questions for article opposite, I ask in the comment.

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