Is Cisco adding a storage array to UCS?

Reports says Cisco and NetApp getting closer, which could result in storage blade for server platform

Cisco is reportedly heating things up with NetApp, a union that could produce a storage blade for the Cisco Unified Computing System data center platform. According to this post in The Register, tweets are going around that indicate Cisco and NetApp are getting chummier, apparently around NetApp's Data ONTAP-v virtual storage array operating system.

Data ONTAP-v runs as a VM under VMware's ESX. It can be used to add a small storage array to blade server systems, much like what Fujitsu's doing with it for its Primergy BX400 system, The Register reports. The post then considers this possible scenario brewing for Cisco and NetApp:

"Could Cisco OEM ONTAP-v like Fujitsu?" It would then have a virtualised storage blade running inside a UCS blade server set-up. A use case would be a remote office/branch office iSCSI/NAS storage access with replicated snapshots to a central site for backup and recovery.

The Register notes that such an arrangement might upset EMC, which is allied with Cisco in the VCE Coalition, an effort to package UCS with EMC storage arrays and VMware virtualization in easy-to-deploy "vBlocks." But EMC does not offer a virtualized array operating system like NetApp does, according to the post.

Currently, UCS offers a server, virtualization, switching and storage access - not storage itself. Data ONTAP-v could be the storage array that UCS has been lacking up to now, albeit for the remote office/branch office site. It nonetheless would be an interesting and significant development for Cisco and NetApp - and EMC - from a product, technology and business standpoint.

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