We at Cisco have been on a mission; a mission to create the design patterns for the next generation of datacenters and private clouds. These design patterns are simpler than anything seen before, more performant than anything out there, and include the enterprise-class resiliency that our customers can count on.
Cisco shook up the server industry in 2009 with an architecture that extracted the personality of both server and fabric away from the metal, and codified it into policy. A few years later, we led the transition to converged infrastructure stacks—a space we still lead in. In 2016, we realized that Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) could be built in a much more elegant manner than was available at that time. We codesigned hardware, software, networking, and management, creating a deeply engineered system with a superior architecture. We then introduced HyperFlex 2.0 in 2017, with a focus on application performance, and beat the competition in independent testing. In 2018, we released version 3.0 of HyperFlex, with support for multiple hypervisors, multiple container frameworks, and integrations that bridge to a multicloud world.
Today at Cisco Live Barcelona, I am happy to report that we are announcing HyperFlex 4.0—which extends Cisco’s HyperFlex platform from the core to the edge. HyperFlex 4.0 is a truly unique and innovative platform engineered to meet the requirements for deploying HCI in edge environments at a global scale.
Data Center Anywhere – There’s Nothing Centered about the Data Center Anymore
Every cloud or data center is built for one reason – to run applications. However, today’s applications are increasingly diverse and distributed. They generate data in disparate locations and consume it from disparate locations. To further the point, it is estimated that by 2022, 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralized data center or cloud. As data pools outside the traditional datacenter, datacenters themselves must follow the data to branch, remote, and edge locations.
Deploying HCI to multiple sites at a state-wide, national or global scale can be a complex task. Conventional offerings require staging in a central location, sending trucks from there to each site, moving IT teams from location to location, and manual installs. This process can be fraught with problems. Errors can get introduced due to fat fingering. Edge sites can get stale before the entire footprint is even installed. And the entire process can be very time consuming. HyperFlex with Cisco Intersight revolutionizes this process. HyperFlex Edge nodes ship ready to deploy directly from the factory to the edge sites along with connectors to Cisco Intersight in the cloud. This allows us to leverage the power and reach of the Intersight cloud to provide a fully automated, zero touch installation of the HyperFlex Edge clusters.
We can now deliver deployment and lifecycle management benefits at scale; and deliver this remotely from the cloud. In addition to this, HyperFlex Edge and Intersight also allows our ROBO and Edge customers to:
- deploy a single and simplified hyperconverged architecture across their core, hybrid cloud, and edge – simplifying operations
- meet aggressive cost envelopes for infrastructure deployment at scale for edge and branch locations
- deploy clusters as small as 2-nodes (and up to 4 nodes) – a form factor that fits the needs of edge sites
- drive data resiliency without the expense (through our industry leading innovations around an invisible cloud-based witness resident in Intersight)
- simplify operations through centralized lifecycle management and actionable intelligence from Intersight.
In addition to the Intersight Cloud for Infrastucture management, we are also now integrated with Citrix Cloud Services. This enables customers to quickly and easily provision hundreds and thousands of virtual desktops and virtual applications from anywhere using Citrix cloud.
HyperFlex Anywhere – Performance without Compromise
The second key theme in today’s HyperFlex announcement is all about performance—one of our key differentiators and an area where Cisco will continue to lead. Although some of our competitors talk down the importance of performance because it is the Achilles Heel of their solution, we at Cisco take the opposite approach. We believe that performance matters and is key to enabling mission critical applications and minimizing total customer spend.
The reason is simple. HCI has now matured to the point where it runs more and more of a company’s critical business applications. Poor HCI performance can impact customer experience, team effectiveness, and ultimately, a company’s bottom line. On the other hand, a high Performance HCI solution like HyperFlex can not only reduce these risks but also have a significant impact on TCO, both in terms of cost saving and cost avoidance for customers. When you can do more work with less resources, it means you need less hardware, less associated software licenses, and even more important, less operation overhead. These savings can add up quickly.
Yes, performance matters. And that’s why our latest HyperFlex release ups the game on performance yet again by utilizing Intel®Optane™caching and all NVMe capacity drives. We worked closely with Intel to develop the HX220c M5 All NVMe nodes and were the first to market with a fully engineered all NVMe HCI system that incorporates full reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) functionality. This includes hot plug capabilities to enable enterprise-grade All-NVMe systems for our customers’ business critical applications.
We’ve also added a new hardware offload engine to the latest release, called the HyperFlex Acceleration Engine. This engine is an optional add-on PCIe card with an onboard FPGA, and gives our customers the ability to offload processing from the CPU, thereby freeing up those cycles for actual application workloads. In addition, the hardware acceleration provides higher performance, further extending our lead in this area and maximizing economic value for our customers.
And finally, along with all the other new features mentioned above, this release delivers further enhancements for cloud native applications with support for RedHat Openshift Container Platform as well as support for the Kubernetes Container Storage Interface (CSI).
Our Mission Continues
HyperFlex Anywhere enables Cisco customers to extend the simplicity of hyperconvergence from the core to the edge, to address a multitude of workloads and use cases. Our new HyperFlex 4.0 release and Intersight innovations, are engineered to meet the unique requirements for deploying hyperconverged infrastructure in edge and ROBO environments, at a global scale, and with superior performance.
We are proud to have been recognized in 2018 by both Forrester and Gartner as a leader in the hyperconverged infrastructure space and look forward to continuing our mission of providing customers with the innovations they need to accelerate their digital transformation.
To learn more about Cisco HyperFlex visit: www.cisco.com/go/hyperflex
Learn more about Cisco’s other data center innovations announced today at: http://cs.co/9001EunsF
Hear what our Partners are saying about HyperFlex 4.0:
Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference Event Presentation, The Future of IT Infrastructures: Always On, Always Available, Everywhere, David J. Cappuccio, Bob Gill, et al., 3-6 December 2018