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Cisco’s latest composability claim still misses the mark


knife.jpgBack in November, Paul Miller, Vice President of Marketing for Converged Data Center Infrastructure, HPE, addressed recent comments from Cisco that they too offered a “composable infrastructure” (see Cisco’s composable infrastructure? That’s not a knife. This is a knife)

Using the classic quote from Crocodile Dundee, “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife,” Miller points out the differences between what Cisco calls composable, and what it truly means to offer customers a composable infrastructure. “Cisco has taken notice of HPE and is using the term ‘composable infrastructure’ to put a new label on their 6-year old UCS architecture,” he explains. “And while the M-series does have elements of Composability, it no more resembles a true composable infrastructure than a boy-scout penknife resembles a knife fit for a crocodile hunter.”

Fast forward almost 3 months and Cisco is still on the defense, claiming to offer composability. When Miller wrote his article, he said, “While Cisco touts ‘The Cisco UCS Manager Ecosystem,’ it’s not at all clear at this point what that means.” Well now it’s clearer.

In a blog post about DevOps and Cisco UCS, Cisco points to a brief entitled Transition to DevOps and Composable Infrastructure (1). In it, Cisco aims to show how UCS Manager supports a DevOps methodology. However, what Cisco ends up showing is “Chef Knife plug-in for vSphere, VMware vSphere”, which is enabled through the Cisco UCS Manager plug-in for vSphere.  This is VMware’s integration with Chef NOT with Cisco’s UCS Manager.  That is because, unlike HPE OneView, Cisco UCS Manager does not yet support DevOps tools like Chef and Puppet directly through UCS Manager API, requiring users to use an additional management tool, creating more complexity rather than driving efficiency.(2)  This goes back to the heart of why Cisco’s claim is a little deceptive; they are adding the complexity of additional third party tools as opposed to removing them and still not gaining the simplicity HPE OneView is already providing.

Utilizing the Docker Machine Driver for HPE OneView or Chef Provisioning Driver for HPE OneView, organizations can order physical infrastructure on-demand from their private, bare metal cloud using templates – or “recipes”— from HPE OneView. This capability allows customers to bring unprecedented levels of agility to their data center and enables a smooth on-ramp to composability with existing solutions.

Cisco is clearly threatened by HPE Synergy and is expending a lot of energy to attack it, however their latest attempt misses the mark.  Still not a knife.


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