Now that Cisco is freed from the VCE/vBlock engagement (rumoured to be exclusive arrangement), most people are wondering why Cisco took so long to announce this.
Cisco announced another HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI) platform this week. I say “another” because Cisco already works with several partners for Converged and Hyperconverged such as NetApp, VCE, Simplicity and Nutanix. (Argue about the difference in your own time).
This announcement is different because Cisco is doing the selling. Cisco has taken the Springpath software, integrated & validated it with specific models of UCS (you won’t be able to use your existing UCS hardware). Cisco and its partners are the primary channel for sales of the Springpath software.
Springpath isn’t Dead
It has chosen to partner with Springpath Inc, an almost unknown HCI company that stopped submitting accounts to the US Government in November 2015. There was speculation that they were dead after being sued by Simplivity. Now we know Cisco has done a deal to give Springpath access to its resellers and customers – and thats a lot of sales by being stocked in the Cisco supermarket.
This is unusual strategy for Cisco. It is much more common for Cisco to buyout small companies. So, lets have some speculation about unanswered questions.
1) Why is Cisco effectively the only customer of Springpath ? They don’t want to acquire Springpath because Simplivity/Nutanix/Atlantis might walk away and that would impact sales. Cisco has a big push this week at its partner conference on “power partnerships” with resellers, and kicking some partners in the teeth wouldn’t be good press.
2) Does Springpath really work ? The failure of UCS Invicta to scale and work reliably might be causing Cisco to take it slowly and reduce risk. “Lets see if the product really works but without saying its ours”. If it fails they can walk away, if it succeeds then they can buy the company. Probably at a pre-agreed price.
Cisco Springpath HCI Reviews
I read a bunch of reviews about Cisco/Springpath HCI here are some links.
Cisco And Springpath Take On Hyperconvergence Incumbents – Next Platform
Cisco HyperFlexes its muscles. – UCS Guru
The EtherealMind View
I’m positive about the future of converged & hyperconverged systems, especially in the Enterprise mid-market where its makes sense to avoid complex sales negotiations around licensing, SKUs and interoperability. (Why do we even have to consider these things ?)
However, there are some odd things about “partnering” with Springpath for HCI. I would be cautious about jumping into the reselling or buying the product unless these questions could be answered ?
Also,compare Simplivity (more than 1000 UCS deployments) or Nutanix for pricing and features. Those are comparable HCI platforms that have been much more successful to date. I have no doubt that Springpath is going to get great sales with the Cisco sales machine behind it but its not proven to my mind.