I spend some time at Cisco Live speaking to Jennifer Koch, Business Development Manager at NetApp about the FlexPod solutions and specifically the value she felt Schneider Electric bring to the FlexPod range. I started by asking Jennifer to tell me about FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric, she told me it provides a pre-packaged solution that combines Cisco, NetApp & Schneider Electric technology to create a highly efficient, ready-to-deploy IT Solution without the need for dedicated IT space.
Flexpod Express has been designed specifically around the needs of small and medium sized businesses as well as those with branch or remote office structures who would like to deploy IT to support local staff and location specific applications. With respect to how Schneider Electric adds additional value to the FlexPod offer Jennifer explained that whilst the core hardware from Cisco and NetApp was carefully chosen to perform well in a branch office environment, most customers typically won’t have a great deal of on-site IT support staff to support local IT hardware. The Schneider Electric infrastructure completes the solution to provide a scalable and easy to deploy integrated hardware set. As well as the racking, Schneider Electric brings power, cooling, electricity monitoring, UPS and physical security to transform FlexPod Express into a more compelling, fully contained and sound-proof data center in a box solution that can happily exist in an office environment yet be managed remotely. So Schneider Electric provide an infrastructural wrapper that is safe, secure, soundproof and fully resilient in an office where people work with a management level that means system administrators can monitor the health and performance of the hardware centrally or remotely.
The Schneider Electric infrastructure also enhances the scalability of the offer across a branch or remote office network. Additionally the efficiency of the power and cooling of the FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric solution also reduces running costs and doesn’t require dedicated IT space and the costs associated with that. Finally I asked how well she thought Schneider Electric and NetApp worked together as alliance partners and she told me that the success of all partner relationships comes down to what value to the companies jointly bring to their customers. It’s customer acceptance that proves the relationship and for that to happen the products and solutions have to fit together well and be compelling solutions to problems. With the example of FlexPod Express with Schneider Electric, Jennifer felt that the partnership was a perfect combination as Schneider Electric’s infrastructure and products completed the FlexPod Express in a way that made it simpler than ever for customers to make the shift to flexible, scalable and high quality Converged Infrastructure that significantly reduces the need for onsite IT support and fits perfectly within a distributed IT environment.