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Cisco Lowers Entry To Hybrid Cloud With HyperFlex Express, UCS and Intersight Updates

The tech giant is making hybrid cloud and hyperconvergence more accessible through its new HyperFlex Express offering, as well as updates to the popular UCS X-Series and the Cisco Intersight cloud operations platform.

Cisco Systems is making hybrid cloud management less of a heavy lift through new hybrid cloud hardware and software solutions, including additions to the ever-popular Cisco HyperFlex converged infrastructure platform, the UCS X-Series, and the Cisco Intersight cloud operations platform.

The tech giant on Wednesday unveiled Cisco HyperFlex Express, a new offering that’s part of Cisco’s HyperFlex converged infrastructure platform. HyperFlex Express is a boiled-down hardware and software offering that gives enterprises the “fastest on-ramp” to hybrid cloud because it can reduce deployment speeds with on-premises converged infrastructure managed via the cloud, said DD Dasgupta, vice president of cloud and compute product management at Cisco.

HyperFlex Express will lower the entry point of hyperconvergence solutions, which have many components, Dasgupta said. “We went back to the drawing board and [asked] where the cost coming from. It’s basically coming from all the different permutations and combinations of networking, compute and storage,” he said. “With Express, we’ve drastically reduced the number of permutations and combinations.”

[Related: ‘Game-Changing’ Cisco UCS X-Series Revealed As Vendor Targets Hybrid Cloud ]

For many partners, managing all of the components slows down transaction speeds, which “goes against the spirit” of why hyperconvergence was brought to the market, Dasgupta said. “We’ve basically dropped the entry point by 50 percent -- it’s absolutely the [hyperconverged] entry point for the industry,” he added.

Cisco is also adding third generation AMD EPYC processors to the Hyperflex platform for the first time, which will deliver improved cluster performance and efficiency for a diverse set of workloads, the company said.

“I’m very encouraged to see Cisco continue to develop their hybrid cloud portfolio, which I think is certainly the challenge that virtually all of our customers are dealing with today -- the complexities and challenges of a hybrid cloud world,” said Kent MacDonald, senior vice president of strategic alliances for Long View Systems, a Cisco Gold partner. “Tools that reduce the flexibility or give workload or application mobility, are a win-win for everyone.”

The tech giant revealed a major update to its three-year old cloud operations platform, Cisco Intersight. The platform now includes integrations with public cloud -- namely, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and AWS’ Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud -- which gives enterprises a way to consistently manage multi-cloud environments with observability for virtual machines and Kubernetes clusters, all in one interface. Most enterprises use between 12-15 different cloud providers and SaaS services, which makes management a challenge, Dasgupta said.

“Intersight really is that glue that stiches public cloud and the on-premise data center,” he said. “Developers have the flexibility and freedom to fire up Kubernetes clusters and develop apps in AWS, and IT doesn’t get blindsided anymore. They have full visibility [because] They’re using the same platform that they’re using to manage their on-premise data center infrastructure. Now, it also gives them visibility into what’s happening in the public cloud.”

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco has more than 30,000 users on the Intersight platform, the company said.

Cisco is “very much honoring” its commitment to choice and flexibility with its updates to the Intersight platform that is removing complexity for enterprises, Calgary, Alberta-based Long View’s MacDonald said.

“This is now enabling the mobility of your applications on Kubernetes, on-prem, or in AWS or Azure to really let customers move their workloads, without having to have, maybe a PhD to manage that,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a great enabler to our customers as they manage what the best residency is for their applications that are ever-demanding these days.”

Introduced last June, the Cisco UCS X-Series was designed with hybrid data center operations in mind, including across multiple public cloud environments. The fastest growing UCS system in Cisco’s history, UCS X powered by Intersight now offers Graphics Processing Unit nodes, new flexible fabric technology, and the network bandwidth that mission critical applications demand, the company said.

The Cisco UCS X-Series was built and designed to stay in a customers’ environment for the next decade, Dasgupta said. A top product for Cisco, the company is prioritizing shipping UCS-X series hardware, even in the face of supply chain challenges, he said.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of Insight platform users. The correct number is 30,000.

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