Nutanix on Cisco Unveiled


On Thursday, August 18th Nutanix announced the availability of Nutanix software running on Cisco UCS server hardware. This is an important announcement because Nutanix is announcing an offering between the market leader on hyperconverged infrastructure and one of the world’s largest server hardware manufacturers. It also opens the door for Nutanix to those customers that are fully committed to Cisco and won’t look at other hardware platforms. It is very important to highlight that this announcement is not an OEM agreement between Cisco and Nutanix like the partnership Nutanix has with Dell or Lenovo.

With this type of agreement Nutanix is decoupling the software from the hardware which could potentially (on a personal thought) open the door for other server hardware manufactures to use the same model in the future such as what Nutanix has already done with the ruggedized platform from the Crystal Group for government and harsh industrial environments (see link). There is a very well defined list of hardware (HCL) and firmware versions that have been already qualified at this point, this list will be kept up to date on the Nutanix’ website.

What details do we know about this collaboration effort? Well the list below is what I have been able to gather from an earlier conversation with Nutanix:
1. The hardware and the software will be sold separately, qualified partners will be able to sell both and perform the installation
2. Only Cisco UCS C-series servers are qualified at this time. There are a total of three UCS model qualified
3. Self-Encrypting drives are fully supported
4. No all flash options yet but Nutanix is working on it
5. No GPU support at this point but it is on the roadmap, customer demand for this could accelerate when it will be available.
6. Haswell and Broadwell CPUs are supported
7. Most customers have UCS manager and Fabric Interconnects which is fully supported but UCS customers with Standalone configuration, that mode is also supported.
8. From a min or max number of nodes per cluster, the configuration won’t differ from Nutanix, Dell or Levono branded blocks so customers won’t lose in capacity and growth.
9. All Nutanix features will work normally, even the one click upgrades.
10. At this time one-click firmware update for Cisco UCS won’t be available but Nutanix is working on that.

From a hypervisor support perspective, the usual suspects are supported, ESXi, Hyper-V and I’m personally happy to see the Nutanix AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor) offering as part of the bundle from day one.

How will the solution be supported? Since the solution is not a single SKU from either vendor and the software is decoupled from the hardware; if the customer has a hardware issue, the customer should call Cisco and if the issue is related to the software they call Nutanix which is no different with any other non-integrated solution but on the spirit of hyperconvergence and leveraging the great support Nutanix is known for if the customer is unsure of what type of error they are having, Nutanix will take the first call, triage the issue and re-route to Cisco if needed.

We are looking forward to the opportunities this combination will bring to the customers and to the partner ecosystem.

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