In September 2023, Cisco announced end-of-sale and end-of-life dates for its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution. The last date to order the product will be September 11, 2024, and software maintenance releases and bug fixes will no longer be issued after September 11, 2025. This announcement came less than a week after Cisco announced a strategic partnership with Nutanix, a competitor in the HCI space, to offer “Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix.”
Cisco’s announcement wasn’t a surprise to those closely following the HCI marketplace. Despite strategic acquisitions and investment, Cisco’s product HCI roadmap has been lagging for some time. Over the last decade, it’s become clear the vendor’s top innovation priority is its UCS products, which run other HCI solutions. A strategic partnership with Nutanix allows Cisco to maintain its core focus on UCS while giving customers an “approved” option that still generates revenue.
But the announcement isn’t insignificant. The Cisco HyperFlex product line contains over 200+ product SKUs and there are plenty of enterprise customers that use HyperFlex to reduce infrastructure costs, increase IT agility, and improve application performance.
The problem is that HCI solutions require a significant investment and can be difficult to switch away from once entrenched into the enterprise IT ecosystem. This may catch some enterprise IT and IT procurement groups off-guard. Here are some things to consider as you strategize next steps for your Cisco Hyperflex investment:
Review Pricing Around Existing Hyperflex Agreements ASAP
While the end of sale and end of software maintenance releases date are in the near-future, Cisco’s will allow existing customer renewals and support contracted customers beyond those dates. NPI advises customers gain clarity on Cisco’s sunset timeline, explore renewal options and, if applicable, secure the most favorable pricing possible. This will help protect the IT budget as you determine a switching strategy that works best for your requirements.
Understand Cisco’s Preferred Alternative to HyperFlex
According to Cisco’s FAQ, customers can migrate from the HyperFlex solution to Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix on qualified HyperFlex M6 hardware and with the purchase of a new Nutanix software license. There will be no direct credit for existing HyperFlex licenses although Cisco has said it is working on “a number of migration offers” to reduce the cost of switching.
Evaluate Competitive Alternatives
If you don’t want to migrate to Nutanix, there are two things you should know. First, start evaluating the competition ASAP. Keep in mind that HCI alternatives like VMware and SimpliVity will be looking to capitalize on Cisco’s soft exit. Expect disparity in deal pricing and contractual business terms as these vendors feel out their leverage. NPI can assist in helping you determine if your deal pricing is best-in-class as well as guide negotiations. Second, if you don’t want to migrate to Nutanix, you can repurpose existing Cisco HyperFlex hardware as standard Cisco UCS.
Non-Cisco HCI Clients Should Also Review Their Agreements
Because of Cisco’s announcement, NPI anticipates there may be increased pricing pressure for customers of other HCI vendors (e.g. VMware and others) as they adjust selling strategies to accommodate for market conditions. Again, perform IT price benchmarking on all purchases and don’t approach renewals on autopilot.
Cisco UCS Customers Should Scrutinize Upcoming Purchases
Finally, Cisco’s other related solutions like UCS will likely see some pricing shifts as the vendor tries to recoup any lost revenues. The same advice as above applies – review any upcoming UCS purchases to ensure pricing is at or better than fair market value range, and that contractual terms are optimized for cost and flexibility.
If you need help benchmarking pricing for your Cisco purchase or renewal, NPI can help. Contact us to learn more.