Nutanix Looks to Move Beyond Hyperconverged Space

With new capabilities in storage, automation and hypervisor support, the company wants to become a data center platform vendor.

cloud platform

Nutanix, which has made its name in providing software for the growing hyperconverged infrastructure market, is looking to take a larger role in the data center.

At the company's .NEXT Conference 2016 June 21 in Las Vegas, Nutanix officials announced additions to its offerings that are designed to enable enterprises to build out data center environments that give them the tools, flexibility, automation and ease of use that they find in public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS) while keeping hold of the security and control of their businesses.

Nutanix is looking to grow from a vendor that sells software into the hyperconverged infrastructure space to one that can enable businesses to run all of their applications and that can connect to other technology platforms, according to Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing at the company.

"Our ambition has long been to move beyond hyperconverged and become a platform for the data center," Smith told eWEEK. "We're not offering solutions, but a platform. We want to run all the workloads in the data center."

The company has taken a number of steps to meet that goal, he said. Nutanix unveiled its Acropolis Container Services (ACS), which enables containerized applications and emerging microservices architectures to run on the company's platform with persistent storage, a key capability for the platform, Smith said. Currently, enterprises need to use virtualization technologies for applications that require persistent storage and use containerization for others. With Nutanix's platform, customers can run both traditional and next-generation applications.

The move is another step in the effort to remove silos within the data center by enabling the platform to run all workloads, rather than only the virtualized ones, he said.

"A platform, if properly architected, can break down those silos," Smith said.

The company also introduced Acropolis Block Services (ABS), which enables databases running on servers from OEMs like Lenovo, Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Cisco Systems to use the Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric to ensure high levels of data performance and availability, officials said. This will help businesses that not only are running services in containers, but also applications like Oracle RAC or DB2 on bare metal servers.

In addition, Nutanix is offering all-flash nodes with all of the appliances in the company's portfolio, bringing more choice to customers. Smith said the Nutanix offering will give enterprises an alternative to all-flash arrays from storage vendors like EMC, NetApp and Pure Storage, who put their arrays into traditional data center architectures. Next-generation offerings like Nutanix's are better suited for taking advantage of new hardware technologies like NVMe for accessing nonvolatile storage devices.

The vendor also is offering self-service capabilities in its Prism management software that enable developers and operators to directly provision their infrastructures and resources. With the new capabilities, end users can allocate the resources they need immediately, while IT administrators continue to keep control over the infrastructure. In addition, one-click planning within Prism will enable IT administrators to model scenarios via Nutanix's X-Fit machine intelligence technology that will tell them what the impact changes within the IT environment will have on application performance and availability, officials said.

New AHV dynamic scheduling will make it easier for end users to better place virtual machines (VMs) through an analysis of compute, memory and storage resources, while integrated network visualization capabilities give them a better idea of how VMs are connected to physical and virtual networks.

Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud Platform also makes it easier to build private clouds based on OpenStack software, and through a joint solution with Microsoft that combines Microsoft's Cloud Platform Systems (CPS) and Nutanix's Enterprise Cloud Platform to create an Azure-like hybrid cloud environment for enterprise applications. In addition, the next release of Prism will enable customers to manage VMware ESXi environments, expanding the hypervisor options beyond KVM and Microsoft.

ABS and ACS will be available next month in the 4.7 release of Prism, while such features as the self-service capabilities, scenario-based modeling, AHV dynamic scheduling, ESXi support and network visualization will come in a release after that. The OpenStack drivers are available now, and Microsoft CPS on Nutanix will be released in July.