Customer Requirements for Application Modernization

Applications are more distributed and complex than ever. According to IDC, by 2022, 90% of new enterprise applications will be developed as cloud-native applications. The report also goes on to say that by 2023, over 500 million digital apps and services will be developed and then deployed using cloud-native approaches, most of those apps targeted at new industry specific digital transformation use cases.1

As we’ve talked with customers who are currently implementing containers and Kubernetes in production, they have shared three primary requirements:

  • Agile: Deliver a platform that is DevOps focused for increased developer and application delivery velocity
  • Simple: Easy to install, upgrade, manage and monitor
  • Economic: They want cloud-native efficiencies and reduce operational and licensing costs

Cisco used these customer requirements to guide us as we developed a completely new application modernization platform for our customers. Our teams have been working hard and we are excited to announce the new Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform (HXAP).

Introducing the Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform

The Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform (HXAP) delivers an integrated container-as-a-service platform that simplifies provisioning and ongoing operations for Kubernetes across cloud, data center, and edge.  This new platform curates open-source tooling, automates routine tasks, provides full-stack lifecycle management and makes it easier for IT and DevOps teams to use Kubernetes in a way that accelerates application innovation across multi-cloud environments.  It also supports monitoring and optimization of the complete application to infrastructure stack using AppDynamics and Cisco Intersight.

The Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform delivers the following key capabilities for customers:

  • Container cloud: Enables IT to deliver Container-as-a-service to developers and enable DevOps
  • Turnkey: Integrated Kubernetes platform for production grade cloud native applications
  • Cloud Managed: Intersight SaaS based management of infrastructure and Kubernetes clusters
  • Economic: Eliminate penalties of 3rd party hypervisor licenses for cloud-native applications
  • Future proof: Delivers a single platform for the support of current and future workloads

Agile: DevOps focused Container-as-a-service platform

Customers want a common operating model for developers and operations. Kubernetes delivers on that promise by democratizing cloud native application development across multicloud environments. However, IT teams need to provide more than vanilla Kubernetes to deliver a production ready container platform – they need to integrate container networking, storage, load balancing, service mesh, logging, monitoring and registry services. Each of these elements are different open-source or vendor provided packages that needs to be installed, upgraded and managed separately, leading to an operational nightmare for DevOps and ITOps.

HXAP eliminates this complexity by integrating a full-stack container platform, the foundation of which is native upstream Kubernetes that is tightly integrated with the HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) system. In addition to Kubernetes, HXAP also integrates native Container Networking, Container Storage, Ingress and L7 load balancer, Logging, Monitoring, a Container Registry and Service Mesh which together creates a complete platform for cloud native application development. This full-stack is curated by Cisco and hardened and productized for production ready enterprise container deployment. HXAP provides integrated lifecycle management by enabling single click install and upgrade for this full-stack platform, greatly simplifying the operating experience for operations teams. HXAP also ensures multicloud development consistency with 100% upstream Kubernetes compliance and up to date versions.

The end goal of HXAP is to enable IT infrastructure teams to deliver an on-prem Container Cloud experience to their internal application and DevOps teams by using HXAP to implement container-as-a-service.

Simple: Easy to install, upgrade, manage and monitor


HXAP Intersight

Cisco Intersight has transformed infrastructure management by providing a cloud-based, SaaS platform to intelligently manage infrastructure, including UCS and HyperFlex. This innovative, industry first cloud-based management platform is dramatically transforming and simplifying our customers management of the infrastructure from anywhere.

Cisco continues to innovate Intersight with now expanded ability to manage the HyperFlex Application Platform and further simplifying our customers’ entire operating experience. With the new capabilities added to Intersight, customers can install, upgrade and operate their HXAP infrastructure from anywhere. Intersight also adds management and monitoring of virtual machines and containers allowing operators to create, expand and upgrade Kubernetes clusters from the cloud. With the addition of the Intersight Mobile App customers can also manage and monitor their global infrastructure and container footprint from the palm of their hand.

Economic: Reduce Licensing and Operational Costs

HyperFlex previously required the use of 3rd party hypervisors to host Kubernetes workloads. As we heard from our customers, this added unnecessary expenses in the deployment of cloud native applications.

HXAP extends the HyperFlex HCI architectural framework by expanding hyperconvergence to now host Kubernetes workloads natively without the additional burden of 3rd party hypervisor licensing and support costs.

When Cisco built HyperFlex, our charter was to take what used to be a complicated process and made it very simple for customers – easy to install, operate, and maintain. We are continuing that charter by taking the same approach now for Kubernetes and container deployment. We’re delivering a simple and cloud managed platform for containers that further reduces the operational expenses. We’re also providing our customers with full-stack support from a single vendor. Cisco’s turnkey approach makes HXAP cost-effective to implement and operate at scale.

Customer Focused, Application-Defined

Customers desire a platform for application modernization that is Agile, Simple and Economic. The new Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform delivers on that promise by providing a turnkey Container-as-a-service platform that is simple to operate and reduces unnecessary licensing burden. HXAP is also architected to be future proof, and in subsequent releases will add support for more workload types on the same platform.

With innovations such as the HyperFlex Application Platform and the newly announced Intersight Workload Optimizer, Cisco is helping customers accelerate their journey to application modernization and digital transformation.

For additional information read the HyperFlex Application Platform Solution Overview.

For more information on recent Cisco, news read the blog.


  1. IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2020 Predictions, October 2019


Vijay Venugopal

Vice President Product Management

Cisco Cloud and Compute Software