10 Things You Need To Know About Cisco's New HyperFlex Systems 2.5

The New HyperFlex 2.5

Cisco revealed on Tuesday a revamped version of its hyper-converged solution, HyperFlex Systems 2.5, with new features and capabilities.

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant also unveiled the amount of customers and traction HyperFlex is receiving in the market since being launched last year.

"We're an industry leader today in terms of the hyper-converge technology," said Todd Brannon, Cisco’s director of product marketing for UCS, in an interview with CRN. "[HyperFlex 2.5] really opens up a lot of opportunity for our partners to have a conversation around hybrid IT."

Here are 10 things you need to know about Cisco's new HyperFlex 2.5 product.

New HyperFlex Connect

Cisco has added management options for partners and customers with its new HyperFlex Connect, a standalone HTML5 interface for the management and orchestration of HyperFlex from any device. Connect can monitor performance and capacity in real-time anytime, anywhere. The networking giant touts Connect as a robust, extensible interface that is hypervisor agnostic and has built-in automation with RESTful API.

All-Flash Computing Nodes

Cisco has added high-capacity all-flash nodes to the new HyperFlex 2.5 that is coupled with support for 40-Gbps UCS fabric networking to expand customer choice and deliver higher application performance.

"As we introduce flash nodes into this environment, we need to bring the network fabric along that can contend with those IOPs (Input/output operations per second) that we can drive off of an all-flash machine and they're going to become East-West traffic on hyper-converge clusters," said Brannon. "Not only are we offering all-flash like many of the folks in the industry can do on a hyper-converged basis, but we're also bringing in our 40-Gig fabric interconnect technology that ties UCS (Unified Computing Systems) underneath."

Performance Enhancements

Cisco said HyperFlex 2.5 is delivering what customers are asking for, the performance required to extend hyper-converged infrastructure simplicity beyond VDI and light server virtualization to more demanding, data-intensive workloads.

In a lab tested conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) in comparing HyperFlex versus other hyper-converged systems, ESG found that Cisco delivered three times higher VM (virtual machine) density as well as reduced VM latencies by three times.

’ESG Lab validated that Cisco HyperFlex hybrid and all-flash systems delivered higher, more consistent performance than other similarly configured HCI solutions using simulated OLTP and SQL workloads,’ said Tony Palmer, Sr. ESG Lab Analyst and co-author of the ESG Lab Report, in a statement. ’For hybrid clusters, HyperFlex not only consistently outpaced competitors in terms of IOPS and latency, it supported more than twice the number of VMs than both software-based and engineered proprietary systems while maintaining high performance.’

Native Replication

Native replication has also been added to HyperFlex 2.5 to protect applications. "We're doing native replication of clusters now," said Brannon.

SmartPlay Bundles Added VIP

Scott Mohr, director of data center and cloud for Cisco's Global Partner Organization, told CRN that Cisco had added SmartPlay HyperFlex bundles options to its popular Value Incentive Program (VIP).

"We've added in SmartPlay bundles to the VIP program, so we have stacking going on with our profitability programs to enable our partners to achieve maximum profitability around HyperFlex in the way they go to market with Cisco," said Mohr. "We believe that HyperFlex is going to help partners accelerate services in cloud both on-premises and in public and also enterprise cloud options with our service provider partners."

Data At Rest

HyperFlex 2.5 includes new data-at-rest security options using self-encrypting drives. Cisco said the new feature would enhance the solutions enterprise-grade data management, protection and security.

HyperFlex Added To CloudCenter

HyperFlex 2.5 now has integration with Cisco's CloudCenter where customers can profile workloads, "and when they need to put something into the public cloud, they can do that as well," said Brannon.

Cisco CloudCenter, which was gained through the company's acquisition of CliQr, is an application-centric cloud management solution that helps modernize data centers or add public cloud application deployment services.

1,100 HyperFlex Customers

Cisco now has more than 1,100 HyperFlex customers since it began shipping the hyper-converged solution, which consists of Cisco UCS servers and software-defined strategy technology, around nine months ago. Approximately 70 percent of those customers already had Cisco UCS in their environment, while one-third are brand new customers to Cisco computing.

Cisco Will Still Help SimpliVity-UCS Customers

Cisco will continue to support all of their customers that have deployed SimpliVity on UCS even though the hyper-converged startup was acquired by Hewlett Packard Enterprise last month. Brannon said Cisco had received feedback from SimpliVity customers that they aren't too happy about leaving UCS.

"We've gotten feedback from the field that customers that have SimpliVity-UCS combination are not excited about letting go of the UCS side of that equation," said Brannon. "So they're starting to take a look at HyperFlex."

Extending Hybrid Cloud Strategy

Cisco executives said HyperFlex 2.5 is an investment to enhance the company's strategy around hybrid IT.

"HyperFlex allows us to deliver very cloud-like consumption models on-premise and we're combining it with the rest of our technology investments things like Cloud Center to offer the connection out to the public cloud that customers want. This really opens up a lot of opportunity for our partners to have a conversation around hybrid IT," said Cisco's Brannon.

"Cisco is really driving a hybrid cloud message that truly enables partner profitability through stacking of programs that helps accelerate services," said Cisco's Mohr.