This blog post is a collaboration between Peter Kisich, Product Marketing Manager, Cisco Cloud & Compute & Co-authored by Puneet Konghot, Product Manager, Cisco Cloud & Compute.

Recently, we launched Intersight Workload Engine (IWE)  as a simple way for customers to operate their infrastructure and easily run cloud native applications using Intersight Kubernetes Service (IKS) without the need to deploy an external virtualization solution like VMware ESXi.

Why We Built It

We heard you!  Customers were constantly asking us for a KVM based lower cost solution for virtualization assistance around on-premises Kubernetes workloads.  Why virtualize?  Well, by running Kubernetes managed containers inside virtual machines, organizations can achieve simpler lifecycle management and optimize resource utilization.  Kubernetes also provides an agile and elastic infrastructure that meets the needs of the application developers on-premises.  This is especially true for ephemeral workloads present in microservices applications.  That’s why we decided to include this capability as an extension of Intersight Kubernetes Service (IKS) at no additional cost to you (yes, we mean zero, zippo, nada).

How Does It Work

Intersight Workload Engine sits in the stack exactly where you would expect it to – in the hypervisor layer as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 – Cisco Fully Integrated Stack with Intersight Workload Optimizer

But including a low/no cost hypervisor wasn’t our only goal here. Cisco realized that IWE needed to be an enterprise class solution to meet the needs of our customer base.  So that’s what we built!  For starters, we simplified deployment of Kubernetes clusters to automate networking, storage, compute, virtualization, and operating systems – all done from a single pane of glass in the Cisco Intersight Cloud Operations Platform.  This consistent deployment methodology has day 2 benefits too. IWE automatically implements best practices for resiliency and security, eliminating the need for complex infrastructure design.  In addition, the seamless integration of Intersight, IWE, IKS, and the Hyperflex Data Platform (HXDP) eliminates the complexity and risk associated with multi-solution integration at different layers of your infrastructure and applications. This makes the cloud native application journey faster, more predictable, and more cost effective.

What Do I Need to Deploy IWE Today?

IWE is deployed with an all-Cisco integrated stack which includes a set of three or more Cisco servers connected to a pair of Fabric Interconnects. Also required is Intersight Kubernetes Service. Multiple IKS managed clusters can be deployed on top of one IWE cluster, and all Kubernetes clusters can share the persistent storage offered by the HyperFlex Data Platform (HXDP) integrated within IWE cluster (Figure 1).  Yes, you do need licensing for HyperFlex and IKS, but IWE can be chosen at no additional cost as your preferred infrastructure target for your Kubernetes deployments with IKS.

We Continue to Listen

As we mentioned earlier, we are listening to our customer’s needs and continue to add more capabilities to help enable the digital transformation and cloud initiatives of our customer base.  This was the driving force behind the development of Intersight Workload Engine.  Now, with IWE, Cisco customers no longer need to cobble together open-source distributions, excessive virtualization licenses, multiple management panes, and disparate hardware to support their Kubernetes infrastructure and cloud native applications.

Learn more about

Intersight Workload Engine (IWE)


For more information, please refer to the guides in our resources links below.

IWE Install Guide 

IWE Admin Guide


Peter Kisich

Technical Product Marketing Manager & Evangelist