Cisco HyperFlex: A Zero Day Review

Cisco HyperFlex.  A converged solution from Cisco.  Scary words, right?  Wrong!

Today I had the privilege of working with Cisco on a deployment of HyperFlex.  I was expecting to run into issues and bugs galore with this being a new to market product, and I can say that I was surprised.  Everything, and I mean everything, went as smoothly as can be expected.  Not a single error.  Not one bug.  Not a single problem with the HyperFlex solution.  Out of the box, it just worked.  To keep this straight and to the point, some quick thoughts are:

  1. The HX installer is clean.  It is straightforward, easy to understand, and makes the install a nearly click…click…done scenario.  Almost.
  2. There is some planning to do upfront, and if you don’t think about the VLAN/Network structure upfront — you could be in for a bit of a setback.  While not really a big deal, proper planning for a minimum of four VLANs/Networks is needed.  Still, if you are not doing this, your are not doing it right anyway.
  3. Did I mention that their deployment tool builds all the UCS based configuration for you?  Swing and a hit!  Again, you need a little planning, but it is really a nice tool.
  4. Provisioning storage is as simple as clicking a button.
  5. I can see the design that went into this solution has taken every possible failure point into consideration, and isolated this solution from failure everywhere it can.  Of course, you have to monitor it just like any other system, but solid design is there.
  6. Cisco claims 1 hour to deploy HyperFlex.  Yes…and…No.  If you have the prerequisites in place and have the planning done ahead of time, I can see that being done in under and hour (rack/stack aside).  You could probably even do the rack/stack in that time as well, if you are a tough guy — I can’t.  🙂

I can’t say this will fit every need and every environment and SANs are not dead (oh, by the way — I am pretty sure we can add a SAN to this solution if desired — though I am not sure it is needed, but don’t quote me on that).  It is currently limited in node capacity — but unlike some naysayers out there believe, I am pretty certain this is a limitation for the initial releases.  Better to err on the side of caution than to promise more than you can deliver.  I really like that.

Good job Cisco & Springpath!

For more on HyperFlex: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/hyperconverged-infrastructure/index.html
Springpath HALO Architecture: https://vimeo.com/122110510

Interested in getting one?  Let me know, I am sure I can find someone to help you out. 😉

2 thoughts on “Cisco HyperFlex: A Zero Day Review

  1. So the requirement to install Cisco Hyperflex is that you have to have an existing vCneter server to add the esxi hosts to, in order to install Hyperflex?

    When the Hyperflex node gets shipped to a customer, what is actually on it? Is ESXi installed with the Controller VM’s on it?

    What about a customer without an existing vsphere environment? Would this work?
    a) install ESXi on every host
    b) take a local drive and create datastore
    c) install vcenter on that drive
    d) create Cluster
    e) install hyperflex
    f) svmotion vcenter to hyperflex datastore
    g) wipe datastore/drive and add it back to hyperflex

    1. You would need a temporary home to have a vCenter just for the install. After the install, you can move the vCenter into the cluster. The ESXi is installed on the nodes, yes. You can install over it if you desire. The vCenter would need to be on a different server, the local disk on a HyperFlex cluster is used for very specific purposes, including the distributed file system.

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