The management of hyper-convergent infrastructures can become complicated when the solutions used are rigid and have limited compatibility. Cisco HyperFlex and Intersight eliminate those risks through native integration and dedicated features, and Datanet Systems provides an extensive package of deployment services through which you can simplify the management of hyperconverged systems, regardless of the usage scenario.

 

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is a software-defined IT infrastructure that virtualizes all elements of the conventional hardware systems. HCI includes, at a minimum, virtualized computing (a hypervisor), software-defined storage, and virtualized networking (software-defined networking). Hyper-convergence is currently a technology increasingly needed by organizations operating in hybrid environments and highly distributed IT infrastructures. The phenomenon is visible in the growing demand for HCI solutions, by over +28% per year (1), supported mainly by the need to improve the data centers’ performance and the expansion of Cloud and containerization technologies adoption. In addition to those, the requirements for IT infrastructures development in external locations are becoming more frequent and such projects create difficulties for companies lacking the necessary resources.

HCI solutions cover these needs by ensuring:

  • Increasing the scalability and flexibility of IT infrastructures in the Data Center and in remote locations;
  • Efficient allocation of resources;
  • Reduction of configuration, implementation, and service time;
  • Improving operational efficiency;
  • Decreased CapEx and OpEx costs.

There are, however, few unwanted side effects, in some cases the adoption of HCI solutions generating an increase in the complexity of management processes. The end result is a decrease in application efficiency and service performance, and resource management also is affected.

 

To prevent such types of situations, Datanet Systems recommends using the Cisco HyperFlex hyper-convergent infrastructure solution (Cisco server clusters with Intel processors, SSD / HDD storage and hardware interconnection) integrated with Intersight management platform from the Cloud. The solution allows companies to quickly and efficiently provide computing and data storage resources in multiple locations, all of which are centrally managed through the Cloud application. Extending or reducing the computing or storage capacity of a cluster thus becomes simple operations of adding or removing a hardware server from a location, without affecting the continuous operation of the applications in that cluster, and all configuration, monitoring, and upgrade operations are performed remotely.

 

Market validated performance

HyperFlex is currently one of the leaders in the HCI market, the Cisco solution providing according to IDC (2) results such as:

  • Up to 50% decrease in operating costs;
  • Increasing the efficiency of infrastructure management teams by over 70%;
  • Reduction of unplanned downtimes by up to 91%;
  • Increase the speed of installation, configuration, and putting in place of new servers by over 90%.

To achieve such a level of performance, HyperFlex has a fast upgrade pace, as Cisco constantly developing new features and extending the compatibility of the solution with solutions from other manufacturers. For example, version 3.0 has extended the multi-hypervisor support, improved monitoring of the performance in the Cloud of applications running through HyperFlex as well as container management.

(More details on how to use HyperFlex to simplify and streamline the operation of the Kubernetes solution can be read here.)

 

At the same time, Cisco increased the number of nodes that could be included in a cluster and allowed them to expand geographically, thus meeting the requirements of companies with multiple subsidiaries and work points.

Another important element introduced by Cisco in version 3.0 was the integration with Intersight. Thus, by including HyperFlex Connect in Intersight, the Cloud platform for managing IT operations, companies were able to benefit from extended visibility on the hybrid environments in which they operate, as well as integration with several non-Cisco solutions.

(Find out more about how it works and what are the benefits of using Cisco solutions through the Intersight SaaS platform here.)

 

Extended integration ensures high efficiency

HyperFlex Edge 4.0 has taken integration with Intersight to the next level, enabling organizations to benefit from:

  • Centralized Cloud Management – infrastructure management, whether is a traditional data center or external locations (work points or subsidiaries), is done with the help of Intersight Cloud Orchestrator. ICO provides a single management interface for physical servers, virtual machines, and containers, whether they run on on-premises, Edge, or Public Cloud infrastructures.
  • Automation – Cisco HyperFlex APIs allow you to configure and manage infrastructure based on policies and enable Intersight and its connected devices to be fully programmable.
  • Advanced analysis features – Intersight monitors in real-time the health of the infrastructure and the interdependence relations between the physical and the virtual infrastructure.
  • Actionable information – the recommendation engine included in Intersight uses Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning technologies in order to provide useful information to operational IT departments.

Cisco Intersight provides extended lifecycle management for HyperFlex systems, including Remote cloud-based installations. The solution provides support features for installing, configuring, and deploying HyperFlex clusters based on built-in profiles, through which administrators can set characteristic rule sets and attributes. In turn, policies can provide different configuration models in terms of connectivity, security, etc.

In version 5.0, HyperFlex will develop Container-as-a-Service features using the Intersight Workload Engine and dedicated Kubernetes services to provide a ready-to-use container platform.

 

HyperFlex cluster management features

The Intersight platform provides companies a number of immediate advantages in managing HyperFlex clusters, such as:

  • Capacity Planning – Intersight predicts the level of use of storage space over certain time intervals, so companies can take proactive measures to scale available capacity. Warnings can also be configured depending on the capacity used – such as automatic alerts if Intersight estimates that the level is exceeded by 75% in 60 days, the platform also providing recommendations for the optimal use of available space.
    • Health Check – Intersight delivers real-time information about cluster resilience (replication policies, number of tolerable node failures, etc.) and checks their infrastructure (Disk State, NTP / DNS Server Reachability, etc.), network status (firewall rules, intra-cluster connectivity, etc.) and compliance with Disaster Recovery requirements.
    • Multi-site updates – Starting with HyperFlex 4.0, the Cisco platform supports remote updating of 2, 3, and 4 node clusters.
    • Automatic deployments – Intersight can automate cluster deployment using Ansible modules and the dedicated playbook.
    • Workload Optimization – Intersight Workload Optimizer continuously analyzes consumption, costs and compliance requirements, allocating resources in real-time to ensure workload performance levels. At the same time, Workload Optimizer uses a set of AIOps tools to deliver actionable information and recommendations for administrators.

Services provided by Datanet

By integrating the HCI HyperFlex solution with the SaaS Intersight platform, companies can benefit from the advantages of hyper-convergence by simplifying the management process, regardless of the usage scenario.

For this, Datanet offers support services that include:

  • Identifying the optimal configuration, by analyzing the used resources and requirements, and the suitable licensing system;
  • Intersight integration with both HyperFlex and other existing Cisco solutions in customer infrastructure, as well as products from other vendors (such as ServiceNow, VMware, Pure Storage, etc.);
  • Defining configuration and installation policies, as well as specific profiles;
  • Creating and customizing workloads and optimization policies.

For more technical and commercial information about Cisco HyperFlex and the Intersight platform, as well as about the services delivered by Datanet Systems, please contact us at sales@datanets.ro.

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Sources:

1 – Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Market

2 – Business Value of Improved Performance and Agility with Cisco HyperFlex