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March 2, 2016updated 21 Oct 2016 5:37pm

Cisco’s latest switches and new hyperconverged box goes head to head with partners and rivals alike

News: Networking giant also ships 100Gbps Nexus switches in its first big product push of 2016

By Sam

Cisco’s Unified compute system, aka converged storage, network and storage box got a makeover with its HyperFlex model.

With Hyperflex the emphasis is on the network fabric, modular components and simplified management.

The firm said HyperFlex is built on its UCS platform, its unified box first launched 10 years ago.

Hyperflex will compete with HPE’s converged systems, Oracle’s Exa engineered systems, IBM’s Pure Systems and VCE VBlocks.

Investor web site Seeking Alpha said Cisco cut its stake in VCE, its joint venture with EMC and Vmware from 35% to 10% back in 2014.

It also said: IDC estimates EMC/VCE, HP, and Oracle each had over 20% of a $1.6B integrated systems market in Q3.
"ABR Investment’s Brad Gaswirth considers the HyperFlex launch a negative for both EMC and NetApp – Cisco and NetApp have partnered to provide FlexPod, a reference architecture featuring the former’s UCS servers and Nexus switches, and the latter’s FAS storage systems. IDC estimates Cisco/NetApp’s reference system sales totaled $309M in Q3.

"Cisco said: "Hyperflex is a new hyperconverged solution that seamlessly unifies networking and compute with a next-generation data platform for end-to-end simplicity for IT velocity."

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"It is built on the Cisco UCS platform… part of a complete data centre architecture that supports traditional, converged, and hyperconverged systems with common policies and infrastructure management….easy, building block scaling often came at the expense of inefficient, lock-step ratios of compute and storage..SDS stacks built on conventional, write-in-place file systems, show limitations in performance and data optimization..rather than integrating with existing tools, new silos of management and policies were introduced..and perhaps most important in the context of distributed, clustered systems: networking was never fully integrated with compute in these products."

The move is being seen as putting Cisco in competition with hyperconverged suppliers Nutanix and with partner Simplivity.
Cisco said it built on its partnership with Springpath.

Through our strategic relationship with Springpath, we’ve integrated innovative storage and data services software with Cisco UCS to create an architecture with substantial differentiation:

Independent scaling of compute and storage capacity allows right resources to be added incrementally in the right ratios; Dynamic data distribution provides high availability, superior performance and better efficiency; Continuous data optimization, delivered via always-on inline deduplication and inline compression that is layered on a log structured file system, minimizes storage needs by up to 80% without compromising on performance; Integrated Management and Data Services allow HyperFlex systems to deliver native data services like granular Snapshots and Clones and to be seamlessly added to the robust UCS management ecosystem to simplify management.

They promise:
Plug-n-play setup within minutes, not days, with flexible, adaptive and independent scaling of compute, network as well as storage capacity
Data management services such as rapid clones and non-intrusive snapshots with always-on inline deduplication and inline compression, yielding up to 80% reduction in the data footprint.

Engineered from the ground up to deliver 30 percent reduction in TCO and up to 40 percent higher performance than competitive solutions, extending hyperconvergence to a wider spectrum of enterprise workloads

In addition Cisco launched its workhorse switches now known as the SDN-ready Nexus 9000 switches that deliver 10/25/40/50/100Gpbs, which the firm says provide the scale, telemetry, security, and performance needed for distributed containers and microservices, as well as the lossless traffic needed for IP storage and hyperconverged infrastructure. The new switches give Cisco customers a two-year innovation advantage over competitive technology, the firm said.

The Nexus 9000 switches promise:
Industry leading performance for 100Gbps, with 25 percent more non-blocking performance, at 50 percent the cost of comparable solutions, plus greater reliability and lower power
Real time network telemetry at 100Gbps wire rate, enabling network security with pervasive NetFlow and fabric wide troubleshooting
The ability to scale up to 10 times in IP addresses and end points at cloud scale, and support over a million containers per rack.

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