Cisco Debuts Intersight for UCS, Hyperflex

Cisco Intersight is the vendor's next-gen intelligent management and automation platform for UCS and Hyperflex, delivered as a service.

Lynn Haber

September 21, 2017

5 Min Read
Cloud Management

Cisco on Thursday introduced Intersight, its next-generation intelligent management and automation platform for Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and Hyperflex Systems, delivered as a service. This announcement kicks off a multi-year strategic program.

Intersight, the new systems management service, was developed to solve multiple customer problems, i.e. increased complexity resulting from distributed application architectures and physical and virtual infrastructure sprawl; complexity that’s outstripping IT’s capability to manage it in real time; and the fact that traditional systems management developed in a pre-cloud world just doesn’t work.


Cisco’s Todd Brannon

“Our point is first that we must use the power of cloud to manage infrastructure on prem[ises]. Multicloud is the strategy that every customer is headed toward and there’s a lot of focus from us in terms of how we enable that. And, multicloud is really all about, ‘Where do I place workloads?’ But we can also use the cloud and turn that around to manage our on-prem infrastructure? That’s the first thing that we need to do … connect everything,” Todd Brannon, director of product marketing for unified computing at Cisco, told us.

After that, as the management cloud collects machine data, operational telemetry, etc., it provides Cisco with a view of what’s happening inside the customer’s infrastructure.

“There’s an enormous potential for us to take that data, analyze it and turn it into actionable insight — and combined with automation, start taking some of the burden off of IT and have the machines manage the machines to a certain point,” Brannon explained.

The rollout of Intersight in the fourth quarter marks 18 months of development work, called Project Starship, to build a management cloud. A technology preview with customers that began on Aug. 1 supports more than 8,000 systems.

According to Gartner, 90 percent of organizations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management by 2020. Through 2022, 80 percent of organizations implementing cloud management will need, at a minimum, four tools to address hybrid and multicloud management requirements, Gartner predicts.

Earlier this year, IDC forecast that the market for Cloud Systems Management will jump from $4.6 billion in 2017 to $8.6 billion in 2020, a 23.2 compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Businesses are already adopting cloud-based management platforms. Cisco’s Intersight offers cloud-powered intelligence to simplify the management experience, analytics to drive actionable intelligence, end-to-end diagnostics with real-time alerts, and connected proactive support, the company said.

Intersight is designed to be intuitive from the start and learn and evolve over time. It offers:

  • Pervasive Simplicity: Cisco Intersight features a dynamic user interface that can be customized by user role. As a cloud-based service, new functionality is delivered via portal updates without burdening customers with upgrades, and the experience scales seamlessly as customers directly connect new systems for management. The platform is designed to constantly learn to help …

  • … make daily IT operations easier. Analytics combined with tight integration with the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) constantly improve the assistance provided through the recommendation engine.

  • Expertise: Tight TAC integration and insights from Cisco and the UCS Community provide recommendations and best practices.

  • Continuous Optimization: The ability for the Intersight platform to provide actionable intelligence will grow stronger over time from the power of cloud-based machine learning. It can learn from the collective experience of the UCS user community, as well as the best practices of Cisco experts and peers. This will enable better predictive analytics and resource utilization to be provided through the recommendation engine.

  • Agile Delivery: IT can rapidly respond to business demands and frequent changes while maintaining the policy enforcement designed to implement safe and reliable business services. Cisco Intersight is API-driven and Cisco UCS and HyperFlex are fully programmable systems, supporting development and operations tool chains for continuous integration and delivery.

  • Constant Protection: The Cisco Intersight service adheres to the stringent security standards of Cisco InfoSec, and helps enable secure communication between the Cisco Intersight SaaS platform and managed endpoints, allowing applications to be deployed and updated securely.

Intersight is integrated and designed to coexist with existing UCS and HyperFlex management tools. The Cisco Intersight Base Edition will be available at no charge. It includes global health monitoring and inventory, a customizable dashboard, the HyperFlex Installer to deploy clusters, and the ability to context-launch the UCS manager, IMC and HyperFlex Connect element managers.

The Cisco Intersight Essentials Edition is a licensed version that includes all the functionality of the base edition as well as policy-based configuration with service profiles, firmware management with scheduled updates, Hardware Compatibility Listing (HCL) compliance checks and upgrade recommendations, and other features. List prices start at $12.49 per month, per physical server, the company said.

Initially delivered as a service, Intersight will be available in an on-site model in the future. Cisco also notes that Intersight is built on an extensible architecture with OData standards-based RESTful APIs and connector framework simplifying third-party software and hardware integrations.

Cisco Intersight provides partners with four baskets of opportunity: server refresh; competitive advantage; edge and IoT opportunities; and infrastructure/application life-cycle management services, Scott Mohr, director for data center and cloud with the global partner organization at Cisco, told us.

Regarding server refresh, partners are encouraged to upgrade new and existing UCS customers to UCS Hyperflex M5. Cisco has brought a couple of sales plays – Turbocharge and Cisco Playcation rewards for Hyperflex M5 sales – to U.S.-based partners. Global partners will get these sales plays in the third and fourth quarters, Mohr said.

Intersight is available to all partners in Cisco’s Data Center practice, most of whom are UCS certified resell partners. It opens up new operating models to partners to deliver services, and also provides opportunity for IT service-provider (ITSP) partners to deliver SLA-based management products for their customers.

“This new management platform is part of a broader strategy to move recurring software revenue — with Cisco One, Meraki, and our new multicloud suite of solutions,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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