San Jose-based converged infrastructure vendor Nutanix has added to its solution roster. The upstart start-up, which has been successfully challenging the large established hardware vendors, has announced Cloud Connect, a new software capability which will leverage the public cloud and thus enable hybrid cloud architectures. They also announced a new, more powerful, hyper-converged platform, the NX-8150.
“Cloud Connect is our first entry into the hybrid cloud arena,” said Howard Ting, Nutanix’s Senior Vice President, Marketing & Product Management. “As a company, we believe in the public cloud. Just because we sell datacenter appliances doesn’t mean we don’t embrace it. That would be foolish for any company, especially a young company like ourselves, to fight that trend, particularly since in some cases it will be able to deliver better services and pricing.”
Ting said that in a world that is moving to the hybrid data centre, with the public cloud and multiple hypervisors, Cloud Connect is necessary to provide a full end to end solution for their customers.
“This lets us make use of the public cloud, and that’s a big breakthrough,” he said. “We expect big adoption of this, and expect that almost all Nutanix customers will leverage it in some way once we have it built out.”
This first cloud offering will only encompass AWS, and it will only be for archival and backup use cases, but Ting stressed that this is just a beginning on both fronts.
“This very first release will allow customers to move a workload for archival and backup to AWS, but there will be more public clouds coming, including Azure and others, including ones with some Canadian companies,” Ting said.
“The use cases we support will also expand,” he added. “Right now, it’s archival and backup, because that’s cheap and deep. The next one will be disaster recovery. Another scenario we are working on is cloud bursting, which is used by companies like ecommerce which have huge seasonal spikes. It lets you build for normal demand and handle the peaks with ‘bursting’ – using the public cloud to provide peak storage capacity. It’s a very valuable use case but it’s also difficult to do technically, especially when multiple public clouds are involved.”
Ting said that technical issues were a significant reason why the public cloud capability came later than their original solution.
“There are some significant tech challenges involved, especially with moving from one public cloud to the other,” he said. “You can’t just take a workload from Azure and drop it into Amazon, and there are other technical interoperability issues as well.”
Archival and backup was a good place to start, Ting said, because it’s easy for Nutanix to deliver a lot of value, and there aren’t the time sensitivity issues as with the other use cases.
“Many companies pay a lot of money for archiving, and they pay too much,” he said. “Public clouds can provide archiving and backup for a much lower price. Data recovery and bursting have a lot of time sensitivity, and you need services switched on very quickly, but in archiving, that’s less important, which was another good reason to start there.
Ting said that it would be 1-2 years before Nutanix can deliver the DR and bursting capabilities.
“It’s not something that’s coming in the next few months,” he said. “DR is the next step and bursting the last.”
The other part of the Nutanix announcement is the NX-8150, a powerful hyper-converged appliance engineered for applications that demand high storage capacity, low latency and fast storage performance, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, and Oracle and SAP databases.
“This new platform shows that we can run any enterprise workload, including applications like Exchange,” Ting said. A single Nutanix NX-8150 can support up to 3500 Exchange mailboxes in just 2U of rack space.
“Bringing out the 8150 is a reflection of the attention we are getting in enterprise markets globally,” said Anton Granic, Senior Director, Nutanix Canada. “As we take down bigger logos, this will allow us to go after every workload in the enterprise.”
Granic said that in the Canadian market, they found that many organizations were struggling with figuring out which of their largest applications they could virtualize without affecting performance.
“The 8150 takes away a lot of the concerns that customers had about ability to run any workload and any application at any scale,” he said. “It’s a real closing of the loop.”
“Previously, the issue wasn’t that customers were unwilling to run us, but with some high-demand applications, they felt they had to compromise a little bit – on storage or performance,” Ting said. “With this, we now clearly have the best product that can handle any workload.”
Ting also indicated the 8150 won’t just be a high-end niche product.
“For anything that’s not VDI – which is a big workload for us – this will be the lead offering,” he said. “This is not some niche thing.”
Ting said that Nutanix believes their addressable market is $50 billion, and they are well positioned to go after it.
“This is the most disruptive company, with the best technology in the market, and is 100% channel committed,” he said.