Transport Your Organization to the Hybrid Multicloud with Cisco and Nutanix

By Fahima Zahir, Director Partner Marketing, Nutanix and Mike Baramonde, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Nutanix

December 7, 2023 | min

We’ve all been there: Stuck in our car in a traffic jam, waiting for things to speed up, frustrated we’re not moving quickly enough towards our destination. The added complexity of more people means road infrastructure must adapt.

Today, many IT infrastructure solutions can feel like being stuck in a traffic jam. Legacy systems can feel like jammed roads, incapable of withstanding the influx of increased traffic and increasingly hard to navigate. In fact, within just a few years, these ‘roads’ IT uses will have to accommodate a lot more traffic.

Indeed, the traffic burden on IT teams is growing and will continue to grow. What’s more, as organizations move to cloud-native applications and increasingly use multiple clouds, the difficulty in deciding which apps to put on which infrastructure becomes more complex. Talk about an IT traffic jam!

How do we solve this? The ideal system for this exponential increase in traffic is not only ‘widening’ the infrastructure to accommodate more traffic, but also ensuring the ‘people’ are using the best mode of transportation. For a next-generation traffic solution, we also need to make everything and everyone communicate to create a ‘smart mesh’ on the road. For IT, this means less complex and faster scalability with added choice for securing infrastructure and clouds, equating to workloads including data and applications being onboarded seamlessly without the need to re-architect the foundations of that system. Simple, transformative, and secure, also requiring a unified approach to managing every facet of this new system.

Let’s dip our toe in how scalability, choice, unification and security are driving the way organizations are planning for this application and data explosion.

Scale and Widen: Full stack support from edge to cloud is More than HCI Alone.

The Cisco and Nutanix collaboration hits the pavement with a cloud-ready platform: The Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix™ solution seamlessly integrates servers, storage, networking, and SaaS operations. This holistic approach means that infrastructure is not a bottleneck or constraint, but an enabler for growth and innovation.

Abstracting the server and storage layer allows for the transfer of specialized skills and expertise into generalist territory. As workloads expand across data centers and to edge computing environments -- where artificial intelligence (AI) use-cases will continue to play a bigger role -- this becomes the Great Big Solve to address application requirements, skill gaps and budget holes by building a new superhighway for your talent.

The full stack consists of Cisco’s SaaS-managed compute and networking infrastructure (Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS) with Cisco Intersight®) with the Nutanix Cloud Platform™ solution. It consists of:

  • Advanced Cisco servers (UCS) with All Flash or All NVMe storage nodes to deliver the core HCI platform.
    • A trusted and resilient hardware platform with Cisco UCS
    • Full range of data services with support for snapshots, replication, DR, and unified storage (object, file and block).
  • Integrated networking and security.
    • "Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) VMM (virtual machine manager) integration for the Nutanix AHV® hypervisor for seamless network provisioning, visibility, combined with the Nutanix Flow Network Security™ solution for defense in depth.
  • Unified management anywhere, consisting of:
    • Cisco UCS Manager and Cisco Intersight, Cisco’s cloud-powered infrastructure management platform.

TThe Nutanix Cloud Platform plus Cisco UCS scales your cloud initiatives and widens your ability to execute on those plans.

Choice Gets Your There Faster

Places like New York City would be perpetually gridlocked. Even somewhere like Los Angeles, which sprawls over a huge area, needs multiple transport options. Different cities require different transportation solutions.

Cloud operating models work the same way. A cloud operating model is a strategic collection of all your organization's unique objectives, processes, and technologies required to efficiently operate your clouds, whether they’re private, hybrid, public, or a combination of all of these (i.e., hybrid multicloud). The key enabler for a cloud operating model is choice in all aspects of the operating model - the what, how, when, etc. Choice also unlocks your ability to pivot if conditions, strategies or vendors change. Like commuting, the ability to choose the fastest route to your destination means taking the right vehicle.

The choice for clouds helps determine things like:

  • Hardware or hyperscaler bare-metal services
  • Which virtualization technologies to leverage
  • The right containerization solution for cloud native apps
  • How to control and govern your data
  • Cost-effective placement of workloads

The combination of Cisco and Nutanix best-of-breed offerings creates the ultimate solution for a cloud operating model that can adapt to your organization’s needs, including:

  • Differentiated license portability: Run Nutanix Cloud Platform on Cisco UCS on-premises, then extend workloads to other clouds without extra licensing costs.
  • One platform for all your workloads: Nutanix and Cisco UCS provide the trusted foundation of your hardware, networking and security integration, and broad management for a unified platform for your data and apps.
  • Workloads for today and tomorrow: Remember that app explosion that’s coming? Beyond the demanding traditional IT apps you run today, new, data hungry and dynamic workloads like generative AI, AI inference, and data mining can be expected to break traditional platforms. The Nutanix Cloud Platform with Cisco ensures you can run your most critical business workloads right now, and when you’re ready, your AI and data needs can be met without breaking the bank for cost and time-to-value.

One Road to Get Everywhere: Unified Hybrid Multicloud Management

Many large highways contain numerous arterial extensions. These offshoots are like grids that have multiple paths to get to a destination. As a population grows, new, optimized routes must be built. Just like these highway grids, IT infrastructure deployment, upgrades and support have become increasingly complex and error prone, and even more so with multiple vendors and products. Many of these byways need time-consuming planning and testing to simply upgrade an application, or provide security patches to infrastructure. This has developed into a constant battle that often takes IT well into the weekends. Driving greater operational efficiency means having visibility, control and consistency across these highly distributed environments giving back the one thing you cannot get back: Time.

Nutanix and Cisco are engaged on a journey to build a new highway; a highly optimized route that’s not only simple, but scalable to multiple clouds to accelerate transformation and develop better overall resilience. Cisco’s Intersight provides adaptive cloud-powered infrastructure management with automation for agile IT delivery and global reach at any scale. The Nutanix Cloud Platform includes the Nutanix Cloud Manager™ solution, with capabilities that augment Cisco Intersight with application and data management capabilities for Nutanix on Cisco UCS. Together, Cisco Intersight and the Nutanix Cloud Manager help provide a single route for hybrid multicloud visibility and configuration.

Don’t Forget the Guardrails! Built-in Security and Networking

Even the best infrastructure becomes unusable without multiple safety features. A double yellow line separating traffic helps define your lane, but a barrier, guardrails, and an emergency section with enough room to change a tire prevent significantly reducing accidents.

Hybrid multicloud security and networking are foundational to success. Cisco and Nutanix bring the best of security and networking to customers with built-in and integrated solutions. Consistent with the Gartner prediction, Nutanix also sees the future of a secure platform as multiple layers that communicate to secure, connect, and extend apps and data across clouds.

Cisco and Nutanix have also announced integration of Cisco ACI with Nutanix Cloud Platform. Now an approved VMM (virtual machine manager), Nutanix AHV works with the Cisco APIC (Cisco Application Policy Interface Controller) to provide virtual and physical network automation and VM endpoints visibility in Cisco ACI. Beyond connectivity and visibility, microsegmentation policy integration is being built on this same model. Nutanix Flow Network Security with AHV can also be leveraged in a Cisco ACI environment with intra-epg isolation to deny-all, or filtered through an ACI contract. These guardrails are the beginning of demonstrating the powerful abilities of securing a hybrid multicloud to reduce incidents.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

The coming explosion of applications, and the data to support them, will be exponential. To prepare, you and your IT team must strategize, plan, and focus on scaling efficiently, accelerating transformation and choosing what’s best for your business, unifying your clouds, and building resilience through strong security guardrails.

Don’t take our word for it, read what Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) has to say about the power of Nutanix and Cisco to transport your organization to the next-level.

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