Cisco Hyperflex Availability powered by Veeam: What you need to know

On the occasion of Cisco’s Hyplerflex announcement I wrote a short blog post for our official global site. You can find the post here or below.

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a very hot topic in IT right now, without a doubt. Customers are interested in building a fully functional virtualized infrastructure including compute, storage and management. On March 1, Cisco announced the new hyper-converged solution, Hyperflex, at the Cisco Partner Summit in San Diego. Based on Cisco UCS technology, the solution offers a unique way to leverage virtualized SAN and compute power across different nodes within one cluster and one management instance. With the HX220c and HX240c nodes, the hyper-converged system can be built up and extended dynamically and flexibly to fit in to the requirements.

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Efficient and scalable backup for Cisco Hyperflex
Veeam® Availability Suite™ v9 delivers the data Availability and monitoring to complete the new solution and meet the demands of the Always-On Enterprise™. Veeam Backup & Replication™ is used to lower the recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), or RTPO™ to <15 minutes for ALL application and data in case of a disaster or lost data. In combination with Cisco’s NEW Backup and Replication Appliances for Veeam, built on Cisco UCS C240 and C3260 in Starter, Medium and Large configurations, it’s easy to deliver a full data protection design for Cisco Hyperflex environments.

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Veeam delivers powerful and efficient virtual machine (VM) backup, fast and flexible recovery and advanced VM replication functionality for Cisco Hyperflex including:

Fast and reliable image-based backup for Cisco Hyperflex virtual environment — all without the use of agents — giving you the ability to achieve shorter backup windows and reduce backup and storage costs.
Instant VM Recovery™ helps maintain system Availability when you need it most. Instead of making users wait for hours, Instant VM Recovery immediately restores a VM back into your production environment by running it directly from the backup file.
Veeam Explorer™ offers revolutionary technology that gives you instant visibility into application backups and granular recovery of individual items.
SureBackup™ automatically verifies the recoverability of every backup, every VM, every time by automatically starting VMs in an isolated Virtual Lab environment, performing a set of tests and sending a status report to your mailbox, so you know if your VMs are recoverable at any time.

Disaster Recovery for Cisco Hyperflex with Veeam
Veeam delivers advanced, imaged-based VM replication and streamlined disaster recovery (DR) — ensuring Availability of your mission-critical applications. Veeam gives you the ability to achieve RTPO of < 15 minutes for ALL application and data.

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More than that, Veeam Backup & Replication offers you additional capabilities to leverage the replicated Cisco Hyperflex VMs and data on secondary sites.

For more information about Veeam Availability Suite check out our product page here.
Find more information on Veeam and Cisco backup appliance here.


Cisco HyperFlex – A brief overview

Cisco just announced their brand new hyper-converged solution Cisco Hyperflex. In this post I want to share some of the “must know” around it.

What is Cisco Hyperflex?

Cisco HyperFlex is a flexible, scalable, enterprise hyper-converged solution. It combines software-defined networking and software-defined computing from Cisco UCS with the storage features of Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform Software to provide a single distributed data store. It is available with the VMware vSphere Hypervisor and delivers a unique way to build up a software defined datacenter.

How the Cisco Hyperflex architecture looks like?

In Cisco HyperFlex Systems, the data platform spans three or more Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series nodes to create a highly available cluster. Each node includes a Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform controller that implements the distributed file system using internal flash-based SSD drives and high-capacity HDDs to store data. The controllers communicate with each other over 10 Gigabit Ethernet to present a single pool of storage that spans the nodes in the cluster. Nodes access data through a data layer using file, block, object, and API plug-ins. As nodes areadded, the cluster scales linearly to deliver computing, storage capacity, and I/O performance.

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The Cisco HyperFlex HX Data Platform controller handles all read and write requests for volumes that the hypervisor accesses and thus mediates all I/O from the virtual machines. The data platform implements a log-structured file system that uses a caching layer in SSD drives to accelerate read requests and write responses, and a persistence layer implemented with HDDs.

Hyperflex leverages Cisco UCS!!!

The new Hyperflex solution is using Cisco UCS C- and B-series as the hardware layer to run on. With every Hyperflex installation you will get a pair of Cisco 6200 Fabric Interconnects to use service profiles for all assigned nodes. By using this profiles you can make sure that every node configured in the same way and in case of a failed node it is very easy to replace it. The Cisco UCS management handles all of a cluster’s hardware management functions and is accessible through a VMware vSphere plug-in, providing a single point of control.

The new Hyperflex nodes are called HX220c and HX240c.
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By combining a existing Cisco UCS system with Hyperflex you can leverage the new storage layer and use existing B-Series blades to add more compute power. A whole solution could look like the following:

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Additional Hyperflex features you should know

Furthermore the new solution offers a couple of enterprise datacenter features like the integration into Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, Deduplication, Compression, Thin Provisioning, Snapshots and Cloning capabilities.

Technical details around the Hyperflex nodes:
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I will definitely check this new solution more in depth within the next couple of week and working on blog posts and also Veeam related tests and papers. So stay tuned for it.
Check out my other post on how Veeam fits into the HyperFlex solution here.

The information’s are based on the “Next-Generation Data Platform for Hyperconvergence” Whitepaper from Cisco, the “Cisco HyperFlex Systems” at-a-glance overview and my own experience.