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HPE Synergy beats Cisco UCS hands down for capability, flexibility, simplicity, and ease of use


Last year, Cisco announced the death of its “composable” offering, the M-series. Since then they’ve offered up nothing as a replacement, or announced plans to even attempt a composable infrastructure. With HPE Synergy sales accelerating globally and analysts validating composable infrastructure as the direction of the future, it’s no surprise Cisco released a whitepaper throwing stones at HPE Synergy. I would too, if Cisco were leading a new innovative product category.

The whitepaper, however, is filled with erroneous information and incorrect assumptions. Cisco claims many things, including that HPE Synergy is complex, has too many moving parts, and is inflexible once set up. Let’s take a look at the facts.

First, Cisco claims HPE Synergy is complex to scale. I’m not sure there’s anything difficult about deploying the initial infrastructure frame of HPE Synergy which comes complete with compute, storage, fabric, and built in management. One of the many advantages of composability is that it has built-in intelligence, built on HPE OneView. You simply plug in, power on and, connect to your network, and the system self-discovers all components and is ready to use.

Now let’s scale. Adding a new HPE Synergy frame is as easy as connecting one wire from an existing frame into the Frame Link Module in the new frame. Again, everything auto-discovers through HPE OneView, the built-in intelligence of HPE Synergy. It's that simple to scale your infrastructure, and grow your pool of fluid resources that can be shared across the infrastructure for any workload.  

Cisco UCS, on the other hand, does not offer this kind of scaling simplicity. Yes, you can just plug in the 5108 chassis, but that really does not cut it for deployment. UCS servers are not automatically added to resource pools for consumption – it is more of a hide and seek activity to go find them. Also, storage is completely left out and requires an additional layer of management to bring it into the infrastructure, which requires setting up a SAN. So not only is it more complicated to get things set up the way you want it, but there are additional costs for more software and hardware, and extra time to get things working together.

Let’s move on: too many moving parts. This argument specifically targets the HPE Synergy fabric architecture, which offers dedicated fabrics for compute, storage, and management. Doesn't more bandwidth seem like a good idea? Instead of sharing 40Gb of bandwidth between all of your resources, and forcing all of that network traffic through one TOR switch, HPE Synergy gives you 12Gb of dedicated storage bandwidth, 10Gb of dedicated management bandwidth, and 40Gb of dedicated compute bandwidth. Plus, no TOR switch and all of your fabric is visible and manageable through the same instance of HPE OneView that you leverage for the rest of the infrastructure. This design reduces failures, unlike the aging Cisco UCS design.

Cisco seems to overlook the fact that UCS requires multiple connections from every chassis to their Fabric Interconnects (FI) at 10Gb a pop, consuming expensive FI ports that still need to connect to the data center network. Additionally, you still need to add in layers of management software on top of UCS Manager. HPE Synergy is simpler, faster, and not to mention, ready for even more bandwidth, as it is pre-plumbed for photonics technology, and has a midplane that can handle data traffic of up to 16Tb per second.

Lastly, Cisco states that HPE Synergy is difficult to change once you have it set up. This is quite a stretch, and makes me worry that Cisco might not understand the concept of Composable Infrastructure. With HPE Synergy, you have fluid pools of resources. Fluid. HPE Synergy is so flexible, you can programmatically set up your infrastructure to change the applications running on it based on the time of day. Through a Unified API, developers can provision infrastructure themselves with a single line of code. With HPE Synergy, you can manage your physical compute as if they were virtual machines. In other words, you can treat your hardware like software. Cisco simply cannot offer that kind of flexibility.

I could go on and on, point for point, but let’s make it simple – HPE Synergy is composable, Cisco UCS is not. But rather than hearing from me, see for yourself the very real economic and technical advantages of HPE Synergy in papers from Forrester, Frost & Sullivan, IDC, or hey, you can even hear it from a real HPE Synergy customer, Hudson Alpha. HPE Synergy is so UNcomplicated, they had it set up and running tests the same day it was delivered, days before HPE’s scheduled service appointment.

HPE isn't the only company that understands composable infrastructure, or believes – no scratch that –knows that HPE Synergy and HPE Composable Infrastructure are going to change and improve the way you compute.

HPE Invites You:

Read the papers, watch the videos, and visit the site. See for yourself. HPE Synergy is the future of the data center, and the future is here.

And for the folks at Cisco, don’t get mad; join us in the future of infrastructure by building your own version. Please feel free to download your own copy of HPE Synergy For Dummies to get you started. We’d send you one, but they fly off the shelves faster than we can keep up.

HPE customers are #Composed2Win

Composable infrastructure simplifies your traditional workloads and accelerates IT for the new breed of applications and services. Interested in learning more? Follow @HPEConverged_DI on twitter and the hashtag #Composed2Win. And I encourage you to share how your business is #Composed2Win.

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