Oct 04 2016

Review: Cisco HyperFlex Provides Same Ease as Virtualization

Hyperconverged infrastructure brings cloudlike functionality to in-house data centers.

Virtualization is one of the most effective ways to manage a modern organization’s IT infrastructure. If staff members need new desktops or servers, the IT team can configure and spin them up from an existing resource pool without adding new hardware. Still, some K–12 districts may not want to house confidential data offsite with cloud-based services, and, until recently, few workable alternatives existed.

Enter Cisco Systems’ HyperFlex, designed to provide the advantages and ease-of-use benefits of cloud-based virtualization services from a secure, in-house facility. Built on Cisco hardware created for this role and then tested for seamless integration, the HyperFlex ­system ­permits an entire infrastructure to be up and running in just a few hours.

A Familiar Data Center Interface

We tested a HyperFlex configuration running at an in-house data center that supported several hundred virtual machines (VMs). The key to maintaining the system is the HyperFlex ­management console. Cisco designed the console to incorporate into VMware’s vSphere client, which many data center administrators have been working with for years. As a result, most admins will be familiar with the interface, ready to build out and maintain VMs from Day 1.

Keep Sprawl in Check With Asset Indexing

It was also easy to combat one of the biggest problems of virtualization: VM sprawl. Spinning up new systems is easy, but so is forgetting about them afterward. HyperFlex combats sprawl by indexing every virtual asset within a network and showing all of the usage histories. In addition to the desktops we created, it was easy to find more desktops that were taking up resources, even though they hadn’t been used in months. As admins, we could flag them for further investigation, or simply wipe them out with a few clicks.

Streamlined Configurations Create Efficiency

Even advanced virtualized configurations are supported like everything else within the HyperFlex interface. We were able to configure clusters to work on high-performance tasks within our network. The HyperFlex system supports up to eight clusters of eight nodes each.

The Cisco HyperFlex system is a ­perfect tool for any organization seeking to tap into the efficiencies and economic benefits of virtualization. It provides an almost cloudlike management functionality, while allowing data to remain safely protected.


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