Cisco entered the Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) Appliance market in March 2016 with their HyperFlex line, using the company’s well-known UCS servers running software from startup SpringPath (which Cisco acquired in 2017). HyperFlex data center clusters are comprised of at least three hyperconverged nodes and as many as 32 in hybrid or all-flash configurations (but not mixed in the same cluster). Each cluster can support up to 32 UCS Server compute nodes as well, for a total of 64 nodes.
HyperFlex appliances are based on Cisco’s M6 UCS server platform. HyperFlex HX Data Platform software runs as a VM on ESXi and Hyper-V hypervisors. HX Data Platform is a scale-out file system designed for hyperconverged environments. It distributes data across nodes, and provides capabilities as deduplication, compression and encryption. Data Platform also provides data services such as thin provisioning, snapshots/clines, replication, and stretch clustering. It enables independent scaling of HyperFlex nodes, compute nodes and compute/GPU nodes, rebalancing data across a cluster as nodes are added. HyperFlex supports block storage through iSCSI initiators in Microsoft Windows, Linux, virtual machines, physical servers and container persistent volumes.
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