Weird HyperFlex but OK: Cisco hops into bed with Schneider over edgy data centre designs

Hyperconverged infrastructure in an itty-bitty box

Cisco has buddied up with with Schneider Electric on a range of reference designs for micro data centres, featuring its HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure appliances.

The enclosures have been pre-integrated with servers to speed up installation, and can arrive complete with UPS, PDUs, cable management, blanking panels, access control, and software for off-site monitoring and management – since edge locations, where micro data centres are usually deployed, are likely to be remote, and engineer visits expensive.

The micro bit barn "saves valuable rack-and-stack floor space and time, and these reference designs provide peace of mind that they will be getting a fully optimized solution," trilled John Knorr, VP for global IT channel alliances at Schneider.

Schneider Electric supplies electrical equipment across a bunch of industries: most of its data centre business was built on the purchase of UPS vendor APC in 2007 for $6.1bn. Schneider kept the brand, while the company became its IT Business Unit – which produces server enclosures, among other things.

Cisco launched HyperFlex in 2016 by combining its Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) with software-defined storage chops from California startup Springpath – which it acquired a year later. HyperFlex machines integrate compute, storage and networking in a single fully virtualized box, and are managed through a single software platform.

Besides hardware integration, the pre-configured data centre range marries Cisco's UCS manager software with Schneider's EcoStruxure IT, a platform used for Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM), available as a cloud service.

Schneider's partnership with Cisco has existed for a while: last year, the company announced that its NetShelter SX enclosures with shock-absorbent packaging received a Cisco UCS Pre-rack and Ship Certification for the entire product line.

The designs are available to channel partners and system integrators worldwide immediately. They can be ordered in the exact configuration specified by Schneider and Cisco, or customised to suit particular requirements. ®

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