Nutanix Hyperconverged Infrastructure: Product Overview, Analysis

The company's virtualized data center and storage platform enables enterprises to rapidly deliver a high-performance IT environment on demand, giving application owners a true cloud-like experience.

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Company name: Nutanix (hyperconverged data center and storage infrastructure)

Company description:  Nutanix is a global leader in cloud software and hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, making infrastructure invisible so that IT can focus on the applications and services that power their business. Companies around the world use the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software to bring one-click application management and mobility across public, private and distributed edge clouds so they can run any application at any scale with a dramatically lower total cost of ownership. The result is organizations that can rapidly deliver a high-performance IT environment on demand, giving application owners a true cloud-like experience.

In 2016, Nutanix was named the top technology IPO and as of June 2018, Nutanix has 3,710 worldwide employees and 10,000 customers, including 33 of the Forbes Global  50 companies. A few example customers include JetBlue, Deloitte, The Home Depot, Toyota, AT&T.

Nutanix was founded in 2009 by Mohit Arona, Ajeet Singh and Dheeraj Pandey, the current CEO. Nutanix’s headquarters is located in San Jose, Calif., and the company has offices worldwide.

Markets: Virtualization, Private Cloud, VDI, Enterprise Applications, Server Virtualization, Big Data, Converged, Hyper-Converged, Web-Scale IT, Enterprise Storage, Virtual Computing Platform, Datacenter Infrastructure, Hybrid Cloud, Data Center, Data Centre, Cloud, and Storage

International Operations:  Nutanix has offices located around the world including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Israel, Australia, India, Korea (Republic of), United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Norway, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Brazil and New Zealand.

Product and Services

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software combines the agility and simplicity of the public cloud, with the security and control organizations need in a private cloud. Built on the industry’s leading hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology, it integrates compute, storage, virtualization and networking in a full-stack solution that runs nearly any application.

Key Features

  • Xi: Nutanix Xi provides a native extension to the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform. Leveraging common infrastructure stack and single point of control, Xi uniquely enables IT teams to extend their environment beyond traditional datacenter boundaries to an integrated cloud environment that can be instantly provisioned and automatically configured. The first service offered through Xi will be disaster recovery.
  • Acropolis: Acropolis converges compute, storage, networking, virtualization and security services into an agile software-defined infrastructure stack that can run virtual workloads, container-based services and bare metal applications. It enables IT to rapidly deliver against business needs at a favorable TCO, while retaining hardware and virtualization technology that best suit their skills.
  • Prism: Nutanix Prism is an end-to-end management solution for virtualized data center environments. By streamlining and automating common workflows, it eliminates the need for multiple management solutions across datacenter operations. Powered by advanced machine learning technology, Prism provides actionable insights that help IT managers optimize virtualization and infrastructure management.
  • Nutanix AHV: Nutanix AHV is a license-free virtualization solution included with Acropolis that delivers enterprise virtualization ready for a multi-cloud world. With Acropolis and AHV, virtualization is tightly integrated into the Enterprise Cloud OS rather than being layered on as a standalone product that needs to be licensed, deployed and managed separately. Common tasks such as deploying, cloning and protecting VMs are managed centrally through Nutanix Prism, rather than utilizing disparate products and policies in a piecemeal strategy.
  • Flow: Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS with AHV and Flow deliver advanced networking and security services inside the datacenter, providing application-centric visibility and protection from network threats, automation of security baselines, and prevents data loss. Native network microsegmentation functionality provides application-centric security through a combination of discovery, visualization and a unique policy model that simplifies and automates the application of granular network policy (microsegmentation) between the virtual machines that comprise an application.
  • Era: Nutanix Era automates and simplifies database management, bringing one-click simplicity and invisible operations to database provisioning and lifecycle management (LCM). Space and time-efficient time machine technology allow DBAs to clone, refresh, and restore databases to any point in time. Using Nutanix Era, DBAs will be delighted for getting back their weekends, and CIOs will be contented for lowering TCO of their database estate
  • Beam: Beam is a multi‐cloud optimization service delivered as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS. Beam provides organizations with deep visibility and rich analytics detailing cloud consumption patterns along with one‐click cost optimization across their cloud environments. Beam proactively identifies idle and under-utilized resources, and delivers specific recommendations to right‐size infrastructure services and ensure optimal cloud consumption.
  • Object Storage: Acropolis Object Storage Service (AOSS) is a software-defined object storage solution that non-disruptively scales-out while lowering overall costs. It's designed with an S3-compatible API interface to handle terabytes to petabytes of unstructured data. AOSS natively includes erasure coding, compression, and deduplication to optimize capacity utilization. It's deployed and managed as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, which extends to service files, blocks, and VMs reducing the need for additional storage silos.
  • AFS:(AFS) is a software-defined file storage solution built into the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software that can eliminate standalone file-based storage products from NetApp, EMC and others. AFS enables consolidation of VMs, and unstructured file data onto Nutanix with unified management out of Prism, thereby eliminating the need of a separate NAS (Network Attached Storage) silo. AFS is simple to deploy and manage out of Prism, can be scaled up or scaled out on demand, and is enterprise grade supporting both SMB and NFS file protocols.
  • Calm: Nutanix Calm enables cloud operators to automate provisioning, scaling and management of applications to make their infrastructure more agile and application centric. With Calm, Cloud operators are empowered to deliver self-service to end-users while centralizing control of their cloud environment.
  • Xtract: Nutanix Xtract streamlines adoption of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform by providing infrastructure-centric and application-centric migration tools and automating the many steps required to manually migrate or rebuild VMs and applications to new infrastructure. Split into two technological approaches, Xtract for VMs automates “lift and shift” VM migrations, whereas Xtract for DBs migrates full database instances at the application-level. Both technologies enable easy adoption of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud for existing workloads.
  • X-Ray: Nutanix X-Ray is a comprehensive hyperconverged infrastructure and enterprise cloud testing app, offering organizations the simplest way in which to test, analyze and report on the architectural, performance and scalability differences between platforms. Common, real-world datacenter scenarios such as taking snapshots, cloning and host hardware failures can negatively affect consistent application performance and are tested to assess the impact to applications throughout the infrastructure lifecycle.

Insight and Analysis

eWEEK has been covering Nutanix since its beginning. Here is a link to all eWEEK stories on the company.

Gartner Peer Reviews has 220 reviews on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, both hyperconverged and the integrated infrastructure systems versions, plus the Acropolis hypervisor.

Here are highlights from a Gartner review of the hyperconverged platform. This one is fairly typical:

Overall Comment: “Nutanix is a stable product with proven technology. We are running mission-critical applications on our cluster. The support is great and very capable of handling technical questions. They know more than only their own product. If you run an application on Nutanix, they will help you also to run that particular application on Nutanix. The update process of Nutanix is easy. We do it ourselves with no downtime. After every update, we see performance improvements!! Nice! And for the same money we get after every major update new features, without paying more.”

If you could start over, what would your organization do differently? “We had some hurry to get a cluster for our VDI implementation. So we’ve only looked to our contracts with vendors. So this was Dell for us. Maybe we had to ask multiple vendors, including Nutanix itself to do an offer.”

What one piece of advice would you give other prospective customers? “Let’s inform you well about this product through sales. Place take a proof of concept to see the product in action, so you can see what kind of benefits it has for you.”

What one thing do you wish the vendor did differently? “We bought the Dell XC series. The support for the hardware and Nutanix software will be done through Dell support. Sometime it is not handy when you have questions about Nutanix. Because Dell Support is not always the right source to ask the question. But Dell EMC support is growing and their knowledge about Nutanix will be better and better. Keep up the good work!”

What do you like most about the product or service? “Our administrators can manage this cluster by themselves without partners.”

What do you dislike most about the product or service? “Only that we need to get support from Dell itself, but the quality of Dell EMC support is getting better and better.”

Would you recommend this product or service to others? “Yes.”

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IT Central Station has a list of 38 Nutanix reviews. Here are highlights from a recent review posted in June 2018:

Primary Use Case:  “As a systems integrator we use Nutanix on a daily basis since 2013 as our main strategic and only infrastructure solution for virtualization and its related storage component. We can offer most use cases today on Nutanix, including VDI, server virtualization, big data and mission critical.”

Improvements to My Organization:  “As a system integrator, Nutanix offers a highly standardized solution which can be deployed in timely fashion compared to legacy three-tier, generation one converged, and most competing hyper-converged solutions. This allows us to move quickly with a small team or architects and implementation specialists for large projects.”

Valuable Features:  “Some years ago when we started working with Nutanix, the solution was essentially a stable, user-friendly hyperconverged solution offering a less future-rich version of what is now called the distributed storage fabric. This is what competing solutions typically offer today, and for many customers it isn't easy to understand the added value (I would argue they should in fact be a requirement) Nutanix offers today in comparison to other approaches.

“Over the years Nutanix has added lots of enterprise functionality like deduplication, compression, erasure coding, snapshots, (a)-sync replication and so on. While they are very useful, scale extremely well on Nutanix and offer VM granular configuration (if you don't care about granularity, do it cluster wide by default), it is other, maybe less obvious features, or I should say design principles, which interest most customers a lot.” (To read the complete review, go here.)

List of current customers: JetBlue, Deloitte, Home Depot, Toyota, AT&T, Honda, Pansonic, Yahoo, Telstra, Hallmark

Delivery:  Nutanix has a software-centric business model.

Pricing: For information, contact (855)-NUTANIX.

Other key players in this market: Dell EMC, Cisco and HPE, VMware, AWS

Contact information for potential customers: 

Resources

eWEEK.com

Gartner Peer Insights

IT Central Station

Crunchbase

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he...