Today the adoption of the hyperconverged infrastructure HCI is more widespread than ever, as over half of IT managers and executives say they employ HCI solutions, or plan to. The benefits that drive this steady shift to HCI include its scalability, improved total cost of ownership (TCO), ease of deployment and simplified systems management.
A key factor contributing to HCI’s growth has been the continued rise of virtualization. At the same time, customers are demanding ever-greater performance and cost efficiency to drive compute-intensive workloads like artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and virtual desktops – more than what earlier HCI platforms could muster. Conventional software-defined storage platforms that spanned multiple systems and multiple vendors were prone to bottlenecks and introduced costly complexity. And so, HCI was characterized as being great for organizations that don’t have a heavy storage demand, but ill-suited for high-end workloads.
In response to this need for a flexible, high-performance, low-latency storage solution for HCI environments, Cisco introduced the Cisco HyperFlex All-NVMe platform, which augments its 100 percent flash configuration by leveraging Intel® Optane™ DC SSDs to achieve significant, third-party validated performance gains, opening up a world of all-new use cases for HCI.
Understanding Intel® Optane™ SSDs vs. Intel® 3D NAND SSDs
First, it’s important to understand what sets Intel Optane technology apart from other solid-state storage solutions and what accounts for its extra performance dividend. With their high endurance, low latency and predictably fast performance, Intel Optane DC SSDs operate differently than their NAND counterparts:
Intel 3D NAND SSDs read and write in pages, but they erase in blocks, creating a negative performance impact. Whereas the storage media of Intel Optane SSDs is bit-addressable, leaving no residual detritus to accumulate, resulting in improved performance. In fact, Intel Optane DC SSDs deliver up to 20X higher write endurance compared to conventional NAND and medium-endurance SSDs.
These Intel technologies, combined with Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, enable the Cisco HyperFlex All-NVMe platform to improve caching performance significantly, impacting platform applications such as database, virtual server and desktop, analytics and more – enabling cost-efficient performance, rapid storage I/O, scalability and ease of management. In particular, using both Intel Optane DC SSDs and Intel 3D NAND SSDs together can optimize performance, capacity and cost.
Tested and validated on mission-critical HCI workloads
To prove the value of its all-NVMe technology and allay customer concerns, Cisco submitted its HyperFlex solution to rigorous third-party testing and validation by the independent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). ESG measured the performance of the Cisco HyperFlex platform with all-NVMe and Intel Optane DC SSDs and Intel 3D NAND SSDs, powered by the latest-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Their multifaceted testing cycles revealed significant performance improvements across the board, including standout results for these workloads:
An HCI solution with a world of benefits and use cases
By introducing an all-NVMe HCI solution powered by Intel technology, Cisco helps organizations to overcome pain points of legacy-bound enterprise IT with fast-scaling deployments with wide-ranging potential benefits, including databases, virtual servers and desktops, analytics, AI and machine learning, containers, and other Cisco platform applications.
Enhance performance with Cisco HyperFlex All-NVMe and Intel Optane DC SSDs
HCI was recognized early on as a niche solution with promising, but limited, use cases. It ushered in new levels of agility and flexibility for customers that traditional platforms couldn’t deliver, but it was constrained by the kinds of workloads it could handle. Now with the inclusion of ever more powerful generations of Intel Optane technology, HCI is moving to broader acceptance as it manages greater workloads.
Explore the benefits of Cisco HyperFlex with all-NVMe and Intel Optane technology and help simplify and automate your data center process – contact us to learn more through our HyperFlex lab or with a demonstration.