Ten years ago, in 2009, Cisco introduced the Unified Computing System (UCS), a data center server computer product line composed of computing hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric, storage, and management software. This was within a year of Oracle’s Database Machine, the first converged Infrastructure system with a single SKU which emphasized integration, engineering for performance, and pre-configured systems. Other infrastructure vendors quickly followed suit with their versions of converged infrastructure systems. The market was ripe for these solutions due to the growing demand for capacity, the complexity of configuring systems out of multi-vendor piece parts, the introduction of virtualization systems, and the competition of public clouds. The main benefits were simplified management and operations, validated solutions, and reduced costs to deploy and maintain.
Evolution of Converged Infrastructure
Past generations of converged infrastructure were more about packaging than innovation. There were plenty of “solutions” from rigid application stacks to more flexible reference architectures. Most vendors had more than one offering, and many systems were limited in scaling especially for storage systems when a vendor may have multiple storage offerings which they acquired over time. Today, converged infrastructures must adapt and leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) - Smart operational analytics, Heuristics based Automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT), in order to meet SLAs with data-driven insights that provide the foundation for enhanced systems of record and innovation.
Introducing Cisco and Hitachi Adaptive Solutions for Converged Infrastructure
Hitachi and Cisco have been partnering for over 14 years with thousands of mutual customers around the world, setting new standards for storage networking, providing our customers with choice and breakthrough levels of operational efficiency. This partnership has delivered high innovation in state of-the-art storage and networking systems for virtualized converged solutions, and private cloud infrastructures. Now it is time to take our partnership to the next level with a converged infrastructure with best of breed component and management software that can adapt to current and future technologies and business requirements
Adaptive Solutions for Converged Infrastructure combines Cisco UCS Integrated Infrastructure with Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform to help enterprise businesses meet the challenges of today and position themselves for the future. Leveraging decades of industry expertise and superior technology, Cisco UCS B-Series Blades with Hitachi VSP Storage integration offers a resilient, agile, flexible foundation for today’s businesses. In addition, the Cisco and Hitachi partnership extends beyond a single solution, enabling businesses to benefit from their ambitious roadmap of evolving technologies such as advanced analytics, IoT, cloud, and edge capabilities. With Cisco and Hitachi, organizations can confidently take the next step in their modernization journey and prepare themselves to take advantage of new business opportunities enabled by innovative technology. A key differentiator for this converged infrastructure is the VSP storage system that provides a common storage management platform from small midrange to full scale enterprise requirements, virtualization of external storage, AI and machine learning to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies, and 100% data availability guarantee.
Hitachi and Cisco separately provide specialized management tools to simplify daily maintenance and provisioning tasks, which allow IT departments to manage fast-growing workloads without adding new staff and the opex associated with them. For VM administrator, VMware vCenter with rich Hitachi and Cisco plugins provide native interface for infrastructure monitoring and management - Cisco UCS Manager for Compute, Cisco Prime DCNM (Data Center Network Manager) plug-in for Network and Hitachi UCP Advisor for Storage.
Cisco separately offers UCS Manager for System Administrators and Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) for Network Administrators with advance capabilities. DCNM is a network management platform for all NX-OS enabled IP and Storage networking deployments.
Today, customers deploy Hitachi’s UCP Advisor to enable rapid deployment of production environments using policy based automated configuration, templates, workflow validations and simplified operations. Hitachi’s UCP Advisor together with Cisco’s software further reduces staff learning curves and barrier to adoption based on integration with the ubiquitous VMware vCenter software.
Data Protection and Copy Data Management
Data protection and the efficient use of capacity is a common requirement of workloads across the data center. Data protection is complicated. Each application and data source have its own unique method for making backup copies. Storage based replication is a well understood method to provide HA and DR for many mission critical applications and it helps to reduce the need to implement unique, solution specific, methodologies for different workloads. The Hitachi VSP storage family offers snapshot, cloning and replication capabilities to support these requirements. While this storage functionality is a good first step, a common tool to manage this functionality in context of the application adds even more value. HDID is well integrated into the Hitachi Vantara product portfolio and VMware vCenter; and allows customers to benefit from a common tool to manage Backup/Recovery for general purpose to virtualized to mission critical applications. The functionality of HDID goes well beyond Backup/Recovery. It creates and repurpose copies for other uses like DevOps and address requirements like Data Governance. It provides further visibility into abandoned, orphan, and rogue copies.
Delivered Through the Channel
Converged infrastructures give companies an integrated solution that simplifies infrastructure management, helps them consolidate their IT departments, and reduce the resources devoted to repetitive tasks. However, deployment in today’s complex environment still requires alot of architecture, testing, and tuning in order to fully utilize the innovation in today’s storage, network, and management systems. As the IT workforce transitions from infrastructure specialists to generalists who are more focussed on business outcomes, more services will be required for deployments,
Consequently, Adaptive Solutions for Converged Infrastructure will be delivered through the channel to leverage the deployment skills of our channel partners who have expertise in both Hitachi and Cisco systems. Hitachi Vantara and Cisco will identify and enable integration partners who will create and preconfigure a converged infrastructure that meets our customer’s requirements.
Efficient, Scalable, Cooperative Support
Cisco and Hitachi provide a cooperative support model where the customer contacts either vendor for support. The support team performs initial triage and directs customer to other vendor’s support organization, if needed. Where appropriate, both support teams remain engaged throughout the process. The benefits are clear ownership of support issues, improved cross-vendor collaboration, and faster issue resolution
Now is the time for the next evolution of converged infrastructure. Organizations need an agile solution, free from operational inefficiencies, to deliver continuous data availability, meet SLAs, prioritize innovation, and adapt to changing business requirements. But modernizing your data center can be a daunting task, and it’s vital to select trusted technology partners with proven expertise. With the right partner, companies can build for the future by enhancing systems of record, supporting systems of innovation, and growing their business. Cisco and Hitachi are the right partners.