Cisco HyperFlex*: Coming to a Store Anywhere Near You

Intel has been working with Cisco for several years now to help build up the capabilities and value of Cisco’s HyperFlex* Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) solution. Cisco HyperFlex received tremendous recognition for the technology, including a Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave Leader ratings. I’ve written a couple of past blogs to celebrate our collaboration. Check out New Hyperconverged Solution to Amp Up Your Data Center and Upping the Ante in Hyperconvergence, where I wrote about HyperFlex all-NVMe with Intel® Optane™ SSDs as the caching layer. It’s a great time now for another.

When we talk about HCI, we usually talk about data centers and hybrid clouds. But today, I’m going to change direction to address a component of what Cisco is calling HyperFlex Anywhere and talk a little bit about IoT. “HCI is not enough hype for this guy that he needs to talk about IoT too”, you must be thinking to yourself. Well, there is a reason.

You see, I think IoT is truly transforming some markets finally. In manufacturing, IoT enables much better safety and process control by providing centralized management and real-time process controls. It also helps prevent down time by enabling pre-failure diagnostics. Another market that is transforming in a very big way thanks in part to IoT is retail. The media has been full of news on the “death of retail”. Yet the retail segment is fighting back with a vengeance using technology to strengthen the fundamentals of their businesses and create new customer experiences.

Both Cisco and Intel, each on its own and sometimes together, have been focusing on this industry to help it deploy transformational technologies. Capabilities like RFID, computer vision, and advanced analytics (sometimes called “Artificial Intelligence”) all come together to help retailers (see here for one example of many) improve in areas as diverse as inventory management and customer satisfaction.

One of the implications of these developments is the growing demand for compute and storage right there in the retail store. What is really needed is a data center grade solution that has been properly optimized to meet the unique needs of on-site deployments. To provide for this need, Cisco has created HyperFlex Edge*, which takes advantage of Cisco and Intel’s collaborations throughout the history of HyperFlex and sized to scale from 2 to 4 server nodes. Combined with technologies like Cisco Intersight*, and Cisco SD-WAN* customers get a set of solutions that enable them to deploy cutting edge digitization solutions to their branch stores and factories while minimizing the need for specialized onsite IT skillsets.

To demonstrate this value, we have developed a demo together for Cisco Live Barcelona. The demo will be shown at the HyperFlex display located in the main datacenter campus area. Using the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit, we showcase some exciting retail specific use cases. OpenVINO™ is an open source toolkit that enables customers to quickly implement highly optimized Computer Vision solutions from smart cameras and video surveillance to robotics, transportation, and more. In the Cisco Live demo running on HyperFlex Edge, we demonstrate the ability to do real-time video analytics to provide store owners with important intelligence on clientele demographics and customers’ moods while shopping at the store. So come by, take a look, and let us know… don’t you want one right now?

For more information on HyperFlex announcements at Cisco Live Barcelona check out this blog.