Cisco and Nutanix recently announced that the two companies have entered a global strategic partnership to accelerate the adoption of hybrid multi-cloud solutions with what the companies say is the industry’s most complete hyperconverged (HCI) solution for IT modernization and business transformation.
The partnership starts with two new offerings, while taking a third off the market entirely. Let’s look at what’s being offered.
Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix
Cisco and Nutanix are collaborating to offer an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) product line that combines Cisco’s SaaS-managed compute and networking solutions with Nutanix’s software-defined storage platform.
Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix is a new offering combining Cisco’s SaaS-managed compute and networking solution with Nutanix’s Cloud Platform, a robust suite of solutions that includes Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure, Nutanix Cloud Manager, Nutanix Unified Storage, and Nutanix Desktop Services.
The Nutanix Cloud Platform offers a uniform cloud operational framework through a single platform that facilitates deploying applications and data across various environments, including data centers, edge locations, and public clouds. It achieves linear scalability in performance and capacity and prioritizes resilience through self-healing nodes built into the system. Additionally, the Nutanix Cloud Platform seamlessly integrates persistent storage into its architecture.
The integrated solution supports various deployment options and integrates Cisco servers, networking, security, and management with Nutanix’s Cloud Platform. It promises a consistent cloud operating model across data centers, edges, and public clouds, offering scalability, resilience, and native storage integration.
Initially available on Cisco C-Series servers, the combined offering will expand to Cisco’s X-Series modular servers later. The companies plan to make the solution available through Cisco’s global sales teams by the end of November 2023.
Cisco ACI Integration with Nutanix Cloud Platform
A few weeks after the announcement of its partnership with Cisco, Nutanix further announced that it has integrated its built-in hypervisor, AHV, and Nutanix Flow Network Security with Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) VMM (Virtual Machine Manager), providing security policies through Nutanix AHV VLANs into Cisco ACI EPGs.
Cisco ACI integrates with Nutanix Flow Network Security (FNS) to enable micro-segmentation and contextual security policies for VMs on AHV through its SDN technology. The integration is straightforward, requiring just a few simple steps to initiate.
The integration allows Cisco and Nutanix administrators to leverage their expertise without learning new technologies. This collaboration empowers Nutanix admins to establish intuitive security rules for enhanced application security. At the same time, Cisco administrators validate the extension of a secure network within a software-defined framework, resulting in a robust approach to security operations.
IT organizations can leverage their existing investment in Cisco’s software-defined networking technology by using Nutanix Cloud Platform and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) in conjunction with Cisco ACI. It facilitates the creation of a secure hybrid multi-cloud environment, making networks easily extensible, enabling seamless security policy implementation, and ensuring secure access to data and applications.
Cisco Discontinues HyperFlex
After Nutanix and Cisco announced their strategic relationship in late August, speculation began almost immediately about the future of Cisco’s HyperFlex HCI solution. As such, it was no surprise today when Cisco officially announced that it will discontinue the solution.
Cisco isn’t leaving its Hyperflex customers stranded, however. The company promises five years of service and support for existing HyperFlex installations and will continue taking orders until March 2024.
There’s a certain amount of irony in the discontinuation of HyperFlex, along with Cisco’s fresh embrace of Nutanix. Industry watchers will remember that just before Nutanix went public in 2015, Cisco tried and failed to acquire Nutanix. Reportedly coming in a few billion dollars too low with its offer, Cisco instead bought Springpath for $320M, bringing its HyperFlex technology to market.
Much has changed in the HCI market in the intervening years. As nearly every competing solution has faded away, Nutanix maintains strong momentum amidst a small handful of competitors. A big part of Nutanix’s continuing success is that it found a way to leverage its HCI technology to do more than consolidate datacenter infrastructure, a move that’s made all the difference.
Hyperconverged infrastructure collapses disparate networking, compute, and storage elements into a single manageable whole, allowing a single pane-of-glass view of the combined infrastructure. Bringing an HCI approach to managing hybrid-cloud simply makes sense; after all, what is hybrid-cloud but a disaggregated bunch of storage, compute, and networking that are all begging to be managed together? That’s what Nutanix delivers.
At the same time, no company better represents the idea of hybrid-cloud than Cisco, whose networking and UCS server technology is fundamental to the interconnected world of edge, cloud, and on-prem datacenters we all live in. Cisco is all about distributed infrastructure, while Nutanix, with its Nutanix Cloud Platform, has the right solutions to harness the power of that infrastructure to better deliver on the promise of data modernization and digital transformation.
The new partnership between Cisco and Nutanix is a natural one. It’s also compelling. Nutanix continues to do what it does best, while Cisco now has access to a proven solution that’s found broad and deep acceptance among enterprises of all sizes. Both companies will benefit, but IT organizations will benefit even more with the potential offered by the joint solutions. It’s a strong story.
Disclosure: Steve McDowell is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. Mr. McDowell does not hold any equity positions with any company menti
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