Today we were briefed at Cisco Live Europe 2018 in Barcelona about the latest improvements done on the Cisco HyperFlex platform. My readers may know that I have covered HyperFlex first in 2016, then in 2017, both times during Cisco Live Europe.
These posts may have been controversial because I wasn’t maybe the friendliest, but tried nevertheless to provide readers with objective content. And in fact those posts on HyperFlex are probably among my Top 5 data center related articles and drive consistent traffic to this blog. So what’s new in 2018 with HyperFlex? You’ll be probably positively surprised.
HyperFlex 3.0 – The Age of Reason
Cisco has released recently the version 3.0 of HyperFlex. This release brings a lot of maturity to the HyperFlex platform and brings it on par with other hyper-converged contenders on the market. Support for Microsoft Hyper-V is finally present, 40 GbE networking has made it too and Self-Encrypting Drives as well.
On the scalability side, HyperFlex now supports up to 64 nodes in a single cluster. A very, very important feature was added to HyperFlex which is the ability to create stretch clusters. Those require to be in the same stretched L2 VLAN, but nevertheless larger customers will appreciate the ability to have zero RPO replication which is supported natively by HyperFlex, without having to leverage any third party application such as VMware Site Recovery Manager or any other equivalent. Details were not provided about the requirements for this but obviously low latency is going to be one of the determining factors.
Finally, and that’s a more general hot topic here at Cisco Live Europe 2018, it seems that Cisco decided to look towards the future and has made HyperFlex one of the central components of their future cloud strategy. This strategy sees them partner with Google Cloud in enabling an Hybrid IT vision where traditional workloads coexist alongside containers backed by Kubernetes as the de-facto orchestration platform.
Cisco have now 2000+ customers leveraging HyperFlex. Compare this number with 1000 customers last year at the same time. I wasn’t able to get a percentage from the speaker but some of those are net new customers who never had any relationship with Cisco before.
It’s still difficult to determine what qualifies for an HyperFlex customer, is that someone purchasing dedicated HyperFlex appliances, or is that anyone getting UCS hardware and getting complimentary licenses (if these even exist) or PoC licenses? Hard to say, but to be fair to Cisco many other vendors also use similar methods to track the total amount of installations.
Will this release of HyperFlex become pivotal in Cisco’s penetration of the HCI market? It’s not an easy bet to make, but Cisco has been massively advertising HyperFlex (I see daily consistent traffic on my blog from folks researching HyperFlex). Their massive sales force and network of Gold / Premier partners, combined with very aggressive discount policies, may be instrumental in driving more adoption of HyperFlex. But even beyond that, they now have an adequate feature set to compete at an on-par level with their contenders, and the combination of good features with agressive pricing may be key to expand their customer base.
It’s also worthwhile to note that many enterprise Cisco UCS shops had been looking cautiously at HyperFlex because of the lack of maturity of previous versions. With these concerns gone, this might lead to broader adoption of HyperFlex.
I’ve been following this solution from the SpringPath days and I’ve provided constructive criticism over the last couple years, saying that without a serious push on innovation as well as catching up with their competitors, HyperFlex would have a very hard time to thrive. Cisco’s purchase of SpringPath in 2017 must have been a decisive factor in this.
It’s very pleasing to see that Cisco’s commitment to supporting and developing HyperFlex has not been a void promise but instead a real effort. As of version 3.0, IT stakeholders can finally consume an enterprise-ready hyper-converged solution from Cisco. On top of this, Cisco is not only treating HyperFlex as a core offering for hosting infrastructure workloads, but is also using this platform as the foundation brick of next-generation offerings that we will see over the next couple of years.
I may have sounded harsh with Cisco / SpringPath in the past regarding my comments towards HyperFlex, but those days are behind now. The HyperFlex solution is finally a mature hyper-converged offering; version 3.0 inspires the confidence that we data center professionals expect from enterprise-class architectures.
This post is a part of my TFD Extra at Cisco Live Europe 2018 post series. I am invited to the event by Gestalt IT. Gestalt IT will cover expenses related to the events travel, accommodation and food during the event duration. I will not receive any compensation for participation in this event, and I am also not obliged to blog or produce any kind of content. Any tweets, blog articles or any other form of content I may produce are the exclusive product of my interest in technology and my will to share information with my peers. I will commit to share only my own point of view and analysis of the products and technologies I will be seeing/listening about during this event.