In today’s multi-cloud world, managing complexity seems to be a full-time job for many IT professionals. This is not surprising, since they are often asked to concurrently manage legacy infrastructure, public and private cloud environments, with multiple vendors, all while trying to adapt to a world where data and data centers are no longer centered. It should also come as no surprise that what our customers truly need to succeed in this new reality is not more complexity, but more simplicity.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) has emerged as a leading solution to provide this type of simplicity, but not all HCI solutions are created equal. And the type of HCI solution chosen can have a big impact on whether things get simpler or more complex.
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This is one of the major reasons we at Cisco designed our HyperFlex HCI solution as a fully integrated offering with hardware, software, network, and management all optimized together and supported through a single vendor. As a result, our customers not only have confidence that project risk is minimized due to pre-integration, they also experience simplified data center operations and management, and high performance for mission critical workloads—all delivered on a multicloud ready platform that is backed by Cisco’s world class Technical Assistance Center (TAC).
Customer adoption and market analyst feedback has proven that Cisco’s HCI strategy and execution is spot on, and we’re now universally acknowledged as a leader in hyperconvergence.
Software-only HCI is Not that Simple
Touting greater flexibility and lower cost, software-only HCI solutions may sound like the simplest, most straight forward approach to modern day data center requirements.
However, as the landscape faced by IT grows increasingly complex due to computing at the edge, the emergence of AI/ML, and cloud-native containerized workloads, a software-only HCI approach may not, in fact, turn out to be so simple. Sourcing HCI software, server hardware, and networking from different vendors can cause initial deployments to get complex and require costly system integration by a 3rd party or further burden already stressed IT teams that have to integrate the layers of the solution stack themselves. And when things go wrong, the inherent dependency on multiple vendors in this approach can quickly escalate into a case of vendor finger pointing.
“A common misconception among HCI buyers is that software-only models will give them the ability to run HCI software on any X86 platform and allow them to execute their cloud strategy at a lower cost, and without risking hardware lock-in, but there are some key factors to consider.
Organizations choosing to invest in software-only HCI models still need to standardize on an approved hardware platform, configure that platform on a component level to the hardware compatibility lists published by the software vendor and then either do the integration in-house or pay for a third party to do the integration.
These hidden costs can quickly add up in both capital and operational costs. In the end, the teams that benefit from this model are procurement teams that can shop for the least expensive options to save on capex costs and don’t have a stake in long-term TCO or user experience.”
– 451 Research: Delivering the Cloud Experience on Hyperconverged Infrastructure (2019) by Henry Baltazar, Liam Rogers
Buying an integrated HCI solution like HyperFlex can actually make things simpler because everything has been pre-tested and integrated—as well as engineered to work together—thereby reducing these risks for the customer.
A Seamless Approach to Deliver Simplicity, Performance, and Lower TCO
Cisco engineered HyperFlex to provide a seamless experience by deeply engineering hardware and software together in order to deliver the performance and scalability to power any app, in any cloud, anywhere.
We took a fully engineered approach to HCI to address three key areas for our customers:
- Simplicity to deliver the best end user experience: By delivering HyperFlex as a fully integrated appliance that can be deployed anywhere and managed from the cloud through Cisco Intersight, we reduce complexity, not add to it. We don’t leave our customers to get bogged down deploying, managing, and supporting an HCI solution made of individual pieces from three or more vendors. That takes time and resources which limits an IT staff’s time to innovate.
- Unmatched application performance to lower TCO: HyperFlex has been designed to deliver extremely high performance and deterministic low latency to power mission critical workloads. By optimizing all layers of the solution stack around our high performance distributed data platform, we are able to deliver industry leading performance per node– something that is vital in a solution that scales by node counts.
- Reliability and confidence: We fully test and support all aspects of HyperFlex and publish Cisco Validated Designs for a wide range of workloads. HCI solutions play a vital role in our customers’ digital transformation strategy, and we want them to feel confident that they are deploying a solution that will deliver consistent and repeatable results every time.
Extending Simplicity up the Stack
We all know that data center operations go beyond HCI. As such, a great data center solution shouldn’t just simplify HCI. It should also extend simplicity all the way up the stack. While HyperFlex is a fundamental infrastructure building block for our customers, it is also part of Cisco’s larger Data Center Anywhere architecture which includes Cisco ACI, application performance monitoring, workload optimization, cloud orchestration, SD-WAN, security, and IT analytics.
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At Cisco, we strive to provide our customers with an unmatched portfolio of products and technology and are continuing to innovate to simplify our customers’ journey to data center modernization.