Learn how Cisco and Nutanix deliver operational ease, adaptability, and robust infrastructure through complete simplicity, complete flexibility, and complete resiliency delivered in the Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix solution.


Today’s IT teams need to support legacy applications while remaining agile and capable of delivering on the latest trends and architectures. To do that, IT must manage VM-based applications alongside containerized workloads across disparate locations: edge, data center, and cloud. Add to this the growing need to protect and serve structured and unstructured data, and the complexity of this multidimensional challenge is clear.

In our last blog about the strategic partnership between Cisco and Nutanix, Danny McGinniss highlighted the truly unique aspects of our collaboration across engineering, support and services, and go-to-market to help our customers adopt hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. We’ve already seen significant momentum in terms of joint innovation and customer success in the past six months.

Let’s now explore how this partnership delivers operational ease, adaptability, and robust infrastructure to address the challenges and opportunities that customers face within their IT operations across the three pillars of simplicity, flexibility, and resiliency.

Pillar 1: Complete simplicity – Make it easy and scalable with cloud operations

One of our goals is to help customers simplify their operations and user experience. Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix achieves this with integrated and easy lifecycle management covering deployment, expansion, and upgrade.

Two innovations in particular can help customers unlock industry-exclusive features and capabilities.

Innovation 1: Cisco Intersight Standalone Mode

For the first time, we’ve brought Cisco and Nutanix software management planes together to give our customers an integrated HCI architecture. Traditionally, Nutanix would integrate with servers directly, configuring them “out of the box” to run the Nutanix Cloud Platform (NCP) software stack. We’ve now expanded that integration so that Nutanix Prism and Cisco Intersight management platforms work together to unlock Intersight’s full set of features within a Nutanix deployment.

Our software-as-a-service (SaaS) management platform provides global visibility and fleet management for all Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix nodes. From a global view, it is possible to achieve simplified management, inventory and monitoring, remote access, and configuration. The out-of-the-box experience and remote deployment and management process requires little to no onsite IT expertise, making installation, expansion, and full stack upgrades far easier.

Intersight Standalone Mode delivers operational simplicity through:

Remote zero-touch installation of Nutanix clusters, across any location worldwide
Unified architecture for small edge clusters (one or two nodes) and large data center clusters (up to 32 nodes)
Bare metal re-imaging of servers remotely, providing flexibility to install either supported hypervisor: AHV or ESXi
Hardware platform flexibility, including 1RU and 2RU servers with GPUs for inferencing at the edge
Quickly rolling out many clusters through parallelized deployments, expansions, and upgrades
Automated support delivered through Intersight: Proactive RMA, Connected TAC, security and field advisories, and support contract details

Innovation 2: GPT-in-a-Box

Our customers are actively evaluating and implementing generative AI (GenAI) tools to supercharge operational efficiency, reduce costs, improve decision-making, and achieve superior customer experiences. However, deploying AI-ready infrastructure can be complex and costly. This presents a great opportunity to deliver more validated and turnkey infrastructure solutions. The Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix offers “GPT-in-a-Box” that has been tested and validated with the most popular large language models.

By leveraging the defined best practices and testing detailed in this new Cisco Validated Design (CVD) that will publish by the end of May, customers get lower installation risk and a faster time to market for the LLM they choose to implement.

Customers will have the freedom to choose from a range of proven LLMs to help ensure their specific requirements are met. Operations will be streamlined for effective governance and cost-effective management leveraging Intersight and Nutanix Prism capabilities. Finally, we will be able to protect our customers’ valuable data using the built-in redundancy and high availability capabilities underpinning the joint solution. This CVD will jumpstart AI initiatives anywhere our HCI solutions are deployed, from centralized data centers to remote edge sites.

Pillar 2: Complete flexibility – Choose tomorrow’s infrastructure today

Flexibility is about giving customers the options they need to customize and optimize their infrastructure to meet business requirements now and in the future. Here are two examples:

Example 1: Reuse and repurpose Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers

Cisco UCS is an industry-leading platform that both adapts to our customers’ needs and gives them choices about how to repurpose and reuse their servers in any architecture–while maintaining full support from our operating system and technology partners.

Repurpose: Exclusive to Cisco UCS, customers can get ahead of business and operational changes with the flexibility to convert and repurpose their existing UCS general purpose rack servers with qualified components into Nutanix clusters. Before UCS, the traditional scenario would require Nutanix HCI customers to purchase and deploy net-new factory-installed servers dedicated to running Nutanix.

With Cisco UCS, we’ve pioneered the concept of a “software personality” in our server baseboard management controller (BMC) that allows in-field reprogramming of servers to Nutanix HCI appliances. Existing customers get to move freely to Nutanix without refreshing their hardware early, ultimately maximizing their investment and making operations more sustainable.

Reuse: If customers need to change, we give them additional flexibility and a straightforward way to make a sustainable choice to convert their Cisco HCI nodes back to general-purpose x86 servers across a range of operating systems.

Example 2: Fully integrated networking or DIY

In our last blog about the strategic partnership between Cisco and Nutanix, we showed how Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix gives customers the flexibility to choose a fully integrated network experience with UCS Fabric Interconnects, or deploy their own network fabric. For HCI architectures, a fast, reliable fabric is critical to maintain the high performance and uptime of inter-cluster traffic. We now offer two choices:

Make the network native to the solution: Customers can use Fabric Interconnects and Cisco VIC adapters to include the network natively into the solution. We’ve rigorously designed, implemented, and tested this approach to make sure networking best practices are in effect—always. Customers don’t have to worry about designing for performance, load balancing, and failover scenarios—these all come out of the box, pre-programmed into the network fabric as part of the Nutanix cluster.

Integrate your existing network into the solution: This is a great option for customers who prefer full control over the network design, or for edge locations with existing network implementations. Our joint solution with Nutanix supports a broad range of network switches and third-party NICs that come with clear guidance on how to successfully build a high-performance network for Nutanix.

Pillar 3: Complete resiliency – Fortify systems with built-in support and security

Security and infrastructure uptime are top of mind to keep digital-first businesses going and protected against threats. Our customers can reinforce their critical services and power resiliency through several features and capabilities built into our joint solution.

Built-in security: Cisco UCS gives you security features built into both hardware and software. This defends against unauthorized access and shrinks the threat surface. Here are some examples:

Security built into the entire development cycle—from initial design to implementation of every line of code we write, all the way through our secured supply chain.
Exclusive policy-driven controls enforce configuration consistency, enhanced auditing controls and reporting, role-based user groups and privileges enhanced with multi-factor authentication, certificate-based access, single sign-on, and more.
External and internal alerting and advisories, logging, and reporting with customizable secure communications transports, as well as support for Common Criteria and Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) modes.
Physical mitigations such as anti-tampering with immutable hardware roots of trust, anti-counterfeiting, chassis intrusion detection, locking security bezel, and fused security keys.

Cisco + Nutanix innovations: Cisco Compute Hyperconverged for Nutanix is one of a kind in the industry. Our joint innovations include:

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), the industry’s most secure, open, and comprehensive software-defined networking (SDN) solution, has an integration with Nutanix AHV to create application policies through ACI that push the network subnet configuration directly into Prism Central to be assigned to workloads. Cisco ACI and Nutanix Flow Network Security provide better-together defense-in-depth by providing inter and intra-EPG policy enforcement. Finally, the integration provides unified visibility across compute and networking, making configuration and troubleshooting faster and in sync across IT teams.
Our joint support model is the industry’s strongest and most efficient. We’re committed to helping Nutanix keep its phenomenal NPS score at 90+. We’ve connected our backend case management tools across our support organizations, so we can easily provide seamless support case handoffs. We’ve also optimized the case routing so our customers can open their cases directly with Cisco, routing their ticket across either company for the fastest possible resolution.
Cisco and Nutanix leverage the unique Cisco UCS policy model to define a best practice deployment with automated out-of-the-box server and network configuration. These policies ensure the correct settings are always applied without human error or configuration drift over time.

“Through Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix, Cisco and Nutanix have for the first time integrated our software management planes together to deliver a new, integrated HCI architecture for customers. This is an important milestone in our global strategic partnership as we work together to simplify hybrid multicloud and fuel business transformations for our customers,” said Ketan Shah, VP Product Management, Nutanix.

Just the beginning

We’ve only scratched the surface of the exciting new product innovations coming out of our strategic partnership with Nutanix. Stay tuned for more exciting announcements to come at .NEXT and Cisco Live US in June.

Learn how Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix can help you


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