Nutanix Adds SDN Features to Its Cloud Software Stack

Also at its .NEXT conference, the company brought multi-cloud management and SaaS capabilities to its Enterprise Cloud OS offering.


Nutanix, which initially made its name with its software stack for hyperconverged infrastructures, is continuing to build out its portfolio for products aimed at helping enterprises more easily manage and migrate their workloads through multiple cloud environments.

Included in the host of new capabilities announced this week at Nutanix’s .NEXT Conference was the addition of Flow into the vendor’s Enterprise Cloud OS software platform, bringing software-defined networking (SDN) functionality around network management and application security. Flow includes technology Nutanix inherited from the acquisition of Netsil earlier this year. The technology is designed to secure applications that run in both public and private clouds as enterprises increasingly move to a distributed computing environment.

“Nutanix simplified traditional data center infrastructure with HCI and now we bring that same ‘one click’ simplicity to networking and security,” Mike Wronski, principal product market manager at Nutanix, and Abhishek Tiwari, director of product management at the company, wrote in a blog post.

Flow includes network visualization features that give application managers a view of network performance and availability and microsegmentation that provides greater security around the workloads and data by enabling granular control and governance around all application traffic. In addition, through service insertion and chaining, customers can integrate network functions from Nutanix technology partners into their networking policies, while Flow also offers automation around network configuration operations, including VLAN configuration or load balancer policy modifications.

“Our approach to microsegmentation doesn’t start with networking—in fact it is agnostic to how the underlying network is configured or built,” Wronski and Tiwari wrote. “Unlike traditional approaches where you are required to start planning with logical networking as a path to microsegmentation—Nutanix has no such requirements or complexities. We allow you to incorporate microsegmentation with Flow without any changes to existing network configuration.”

Also at the .NEXT show, Nutanix officials announced new software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. Beam, the SaaS technology, is based on the company’s acquisition in March of the Minjar Botmetric service and is aimed at enabling enterprises to better manage their use of multiple public clouds through analytics and visibility into cloud consumption and costs. They also can ensure compliance and analyze security operations, according to company officials. Botmetric already is used to manage more than $1 billion of cloud spending in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, and will expand to other clouds, including Google Cloud Platform, in the future.

“The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS already enables organizations to automate application provisioning and lifecycle management across multiple clouds with Calm, and empowers end-users with self-service using the Nutanix Marketplace,” Gil Haberman, director of product marketing at Nutanix, said in a blog post. “Beam complements our approach by adding business-level insights to deliver governance and cost optimization across multiple environments.”

Era also will be integrated into the Enterprise Cloud OS stack and enables users to more easily manage their database operations through single clicks, starting with integrated snapshot capabilities that enable databases running on Nutanix to be cloned or recovered at any point in time. In addition, there is a one-click automated clone-and-restore feature for all database transactions. Initially, Era will support Oracle and Postgres database engines and will expand to other databases in the future. More features also will be added, including full database provisioning.

Nutanix started off in the hyperconverged infrastructure space competing with the likes of Pivot3 and SimpliVity (now part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise), but in 2016 company officials said they wanted to expand the vendor’s reach into the cloud. That included offering tools that would help enterprises build private clouds with the same capabilities as they saw in the public clouds, but also to help them manage their private and public cloud operations.

Later that year, the company went public and has seen momentum grow in recent quarters as it continues its shift increasingly away from hardware to focus more on software sales. In its financial quarter that ended in January, Nutanix saw revenue grow 44 percent over the same period last year, hitting $286.7 million. The company had 8,870 customers, adding 1,057 during the three-month period.