Cisco launches HyperFlex hyperconverged systems, new Nexus switches

Cisco adds software defined storage to its UCS platform and creates the HyperFlex line of systems. The company also launched new network switches as it aims to capture more of the data center pie.

Cisco launched a new hyperconverged system that takes software defined storage software from portfolio company Springpath and combines compute and networking.

The system, called HyperFlex, is billed as Cisco's biggest data center move since the launch of its Unified Computing System (UCS).

Hyperconverged systems have been a focus for enterprise hardware vendors for a while. The idea behind these systems was to simplify deployments as software defined architectures took over. With software defined storage, Cisco is now integrating the moving data center parts into one system that can appear as a node to VMware's vCenter and vSphere.


HyperFlex is Cisco's effort to future proof its gear and software. HyperFlex Systems will run on a software defined storage-based Cisco HX Data Platform. This HX Data Platform combines the drives in a storage cluster into one data store. According to Cisco, the platform includes deduplication, compression, thin provisioning and cloning and other features needed in the enterprise.

Todd Brannon, director of product marketing for Cisco's UCS portfolio, said Springpath has been a portfolio company since 2012 and the networking giant led its C-series in venture funding. HyperFlex will federate data across storage systems. Brannon noted that Cisco isn't entering the storage market given its partners that offer arrays already.

Analysts aren't quite buying Brannon's take. ABR Investment Strategy CEO Brad Gaswirth said:

We see Cisco's push towards hyperconverged architectures as negative for traditional storage. While any shift in Cisco's architecture would particularly weighing on NetApp and EMC (Flexpod and VCE), we would also note negative ramifications for Qlogic as these architectures move enterprise infrastructure away from fiber-channel connectivity.

In a nutshell, Cisco is adding storage management to its UCS platform. Cisco HyperFlex Systems will include:

  • Flexibility to mix and match rack and blade options as well as the ability to add resources easily.
  • Data distribution via Cisco's network. Data will be optimized with ongoing compression.
  • Management and data services to add HyperFlex to existing UCS tools.
  • Ultimately, Cisco is adding HyperFlex to its portfolio with plans to roll out more offshoots. Cisco added that HyperFlex will also play a role for the company's Application Centric Infrastructure, which is used to run hybrid cloud deployments.

Separately, Cisco announced new data center switches and software. The main takeaway is that Cisco's Nexus 9000 data center switches allow data centers to migrate from 10/40Gbps networks to 100Gbps for the same price they pay today. Cisco also added ACI support for Nexus 7000 switches. Pricing details:

  • Current shipping Nexus 9372 (48p 10G and 6p 40G) is $22,500 US list.
  • New Nexus 93180YC-EX (48p 10/25G and 6p 40/100G) is $22,500 US list.
  • New Nexus 92160YC-X (48p 10/25G and 6p 40G/4p 100G) is $20,000 US list.

While systems like HyperFlex get the attention at launch, Cisco's Nexus line represents the core of revenue. Among the key points:

  • The Nexus 9200 series switch and Nexus 9300EX are native at 25Gbps and can scale to 50 and 100 Gbps at a 10/40Gbps price point.
  • Nexus 9500 offers an upgrade to 100Gbps on the same chassis.
  • Adaptive traffic congestion controls.
  • Automation via Cisco Nexus Fabric Manager.


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