Cisco's foray into the world of hyper-converged infrastructure products was initially the result of an exclusive partnership with Springpath, which Cisco acquired in 2017. But even before the acquisition, Cisco packaged the startup's software with Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers into its HyperFlex HCI platform.
HyperFlex uses UCS Manager Service profile templates to help automate deployment of the overall environment. Cisco's networking fabric provides network segmentation and security, quality of service (QoS) policies and multicast policies. HyperFlex is managed via a plugin to VMware vCenter for a single point of management, which is critical for eliminating management silos.
The HyperFlex HCI appliance also provides independent scaling of storage and compute, which is becoming a common theme in newer hyper-converged products. But the HCI foundation is still servers, and Cisco UCS servers are reliable and provide a dense storage and compute environment that runs inside a flexible architecture that is easily scalable and manageable.