Nutanix is rapidly accelerating and delivering on their vision for simplicity beyond the software defined data center. The conference focus was on delivering the Enterprise Cloud OS to manage running applications and enabling choice across multiple public clouds (Google, AWS, Azure), multiple hypervisors, and introducing on premises hardware options longer limited to x86. Attendance was reported to be double what it was the previous year.
The hardware discussions were brief and primarily about choice and qualified hardware independence for on-premises environments; Nutanix Super Micro, Dell, and Lenovo are the bulk of what's shipping. Cisco and HP have been qualified but have minimal adoption. The earlier announcement with IBM to enable managing IBM P-Series Linux (and eventually AIX) through Prism, as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud, was positioned as enabling even more choice beyond x86 environments.
The Big Announcements that I think show
Nutanix's vision and imagination are:
Nutanix Calm is what I consider the most interesting announcement. Calm abstracts application environments from the underlying infrastructure, understands the options forrunning that application on Nutanix or in one of the public clouds, and exposes the costs for running a specific application so you can make an informed placement decision. Leveraging Kubernetes to containerize and enable portability, Calm has one powerful goal: to simplify the ability to deploy a Hybrid Cloud so you can move workloads to where and when they are best suited, in one-click. Calm will include a marketplace of applications including Hadoop, Splunk, SQL, your custom internally developed application blueprints, etc., and will automate the setup of these applications using the same process and parameters whether you are running on-premises, on AHV, or in the Google, AWS or Azure clouds. The automation handles the optimization for the target environment. Requestors can order from the marketplace to have the application automatically provisioned.
Nutanix’s target availability for Calm is Q4 2017
Xi Cloud Services
Xi Cloud Services will enable you to provision and consume Nutanix infrastructure on demand as a native extension of the enterprise datacenter, delivering a turnkey cloud service built from the same infrastructure stack, with the same tooling and SLAs as the core Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform. The initial service Nutanix will roll-out represents huge simplification for DR planning and implementations. Xi will discover application inter-relationships, and automate setting up and managing cloud-based DR for those applications using snapshots and remote replication. It will enable you to be running production VMs on VMware, HyperV or Azure, but your recovery cloud hypervisor could be different. The goal of Xi DR services is to simplify DR as a feature of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, with the alterative being incurring additional management and complex configurations.
Nutanix’s target availability for Xi is 2018 and will initially be hosted by Google.
VM and DB extract
VM and DB extract: application-level, migration discovery and execution tools for moving applications from anywhere (bare metal, other VM's) to Nutanix. This will make migrations into an Nutanix environment much easier to execute for customers and minimize downtime. The initial DB to be supported is SQL server.
One-Click Networking: moving beyond compute and storage, Nutanix is eliminating the current need to separately define and match network switch parameters with the Nutanix server and virtualization network configuration. This extends the simplicity of hyper-converged environments to eliminate errors and reduce the inherent complexity across specialist domains. Initial API integrated partners include Lenovo, Plexxi, to name a few.
GCP Google Cloud Platform
The GCP Google Cloud Platform partnership announcement got a lot of buzz and for good reason. Some of the goals that were communicated included:
- One-Click Hybrid Operations with Nutanix Calm and GCP to have a common management point of control for provisioning and migrations
- Nutanix Xi Cloud services on GCP to natively extend a customer's on-premises datacenter into GCP in a unified fabric for both Mode 1 and 2 applications
- Nutanix Calm with built-in Kubernetes support for containerization
- Collaboration on IoT use cases that enable real-time edge intelligence with cloud computing. A concept demo using TensorFlow was in one of the breakout sessions to show eliminating latency by processing as close to where the data acquisition and resulting action needs to occur
X-Ray is an automated testing and benchmarking tool, delivered as an OVA VM, that enables you to test for database co-location / workload interference, long-term snapshot impact, rolling upgrades, workload simulators, and node failure simulations.
Nutanix Go: it wouldn't be considered “in the Cloud” without a scale up and down financial model to reduce risk for the on-premises part of the hybrid cloud strategy. Nutanix Go enables adding nodes for short-term (6 and 12 months) and long term (2, 3, 5 years) time horizons. A customer can renew or return with no penalty. Go enables platform choice and includes Prism ultimate edition software. Other benefits include reducing idle infrastructure, reducing cost vs. the public cloud, and accelerating time to value.
I left the conference with a much better appreciation for Nutanix's vison and strategy for the future. They are focused clearly on having great service for their customers evidenced by their high Net Promoter Score of 90 and sustained NP excellence for the fourth year in a row. The hyper-converged infrastructure concepts Nutanix pioneered are really just a means to the end with "invisible infrastructure" being the end goal. The high value software that Nutanix is delivering powerful tools and enablers for easier adoption and management of applications across public and private clouds by eliminating infrastructure dependencies and complexities.