"Consolidation of workloads on a single fabric requires better visibility," Thomas Scheibe, senior director of product management for Cisco ACI, said in a phone interview.
As applications become increasingly distributed and lean toward a microservices design, the network becomes more of the bus for the application than the compute layer. Being able to have real-time visibility and control over the network, at a full 100Gbps wire rate, is "not just for things like troubleshooting, but [for] capacity planning," Scheibe said.
The next steps up (and out)
There's little question that Cisco has the networking chops for a project of this breadth. Other startups that deal in hyper-converged architectures might have innovative ideas for storage and compute, but there are few other hardware companies with Cisco's pedigree in networking. Plus, UCS has been successful enough to rank fourth in the worldwide server market.
Next up is for Cisco to use HyperFlex as part of a larger strategy for multi-cloud (read hybrid cloud) application deployments -- where the network is a crucial component in how applications are orchestrated, as Cisco's new CTO, Zorawar Biri Singh, described recently. The details remain vague, though; Cisco's previously announced "Intercloud Initiative" hasn't been discussed in detail since Chuck Robbins became CEO nine months ago.
But earlier today Cisco announced it had acquired CliQr, a cross-cloud application deployment company (reviewed favorably by InfoWorld's Martin Heller), which could be a major hint of where things might be headed . As it did with SpringPath, Cisco isn't shy of bringing in outside expertise to help build its new vision -- whatever form it eventually takes.
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