Dan's Take

Nutanix's Broad Infrastructure Play

Two new products that may encroach on offerings from VMware and Microsoft.

Nutanix announced a "next-generation Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP)" to deliver what it is calling "invisible infrastructure." What the company was really announcing was Acropolis, what the company calls a virtual computing platform, and Prism, an infrastructure management tool.

At first glance, Nutanix appears to be positioning itself to offer a complete stack of systems infrastructure with the goal of moving things such as the OS, virtual machine (VM) software and basic infrastructure management tools into the background so that IT administrators can largely ignore them. The goal is convincing IT administrators and developers to trust that the Nutanix machine learning capabilities and distributed processing model will do the right things at the right moment, without requiring intervention most of the time.

Let's look at the pieces of this announcement.

Acropolis
Nutanix has long offered a distributed computing fabric that allows enterprises to support virtual environments without having to concern themselves with low-level functions like allocating processing power, memory and storage. The company's technology included a highly scalable, self-managing and self-healing computing environment made up of an intelligent distributed storage fabric and self-optimizing virtual workload environment, providing application mobility through movement of VMs.

The application mobility capability supports VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and a native hypervisor based on the proven Linux KVM hypervisor. This last bit is new. Nutanix has added a KVM-based VM software environment that's tightly integrated into the Nutanix distributed computing environment and its management tools.

Prism
Nutanix says that Prism "features innovative one-click technology that streamlines time-consuming IT tasks, and includes one-click software upgrades for more efficient maintenance, one-click insight for detailed capacity trend analysis and planning, and one-click troubleshooting for rapid issue identification and resolution."

Dan's Take: Simplification or Incursion?
Each release of the Nutanix platform has added new features, including support of its own Linux distribution, VM software, distributed file system, security and management tools. On one hand, this could lower overall support costs and simplify a computing environment. On the other, it could be seen as a competitive move that attempts to reduce VMware's and Microsoft's control over their joint customers.

You'll have to watch what Nutanix does and how its software partners will respond to the incursion into their space. In the end, however, enterprises are likely to applaud the Nutanix moves, because their overall computing environments will become easier to provision and use. Additional benefits they're likely to notice are a reduction in machine processing, memory and storage requirements.

One thing I noted while attending the first Nutanix customer event is that Nutanix customers raved about the company, its products, its service and its overall attitude.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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