Nutanix announces all-flash appliance, new synchronous replication capability

The company is announcing its first all-flash offering, the NX-9000 appliance. It is also announcing Metro Availability, a new capability which allows a customer to deliver synchronous data replication to two data centres.


Prabu Rambadran, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Nutanix

 Web-scale converged infrastructure vendor Nutanix has beefed up its portfolio with two separate announcements. The company is announcing its first all-flash offering, the NX-9000 appliance. It is also announcing Metro Availability, a new capability which will be in their forthcoming Nutanix Operating System 4.1 release. It allows a customer to deliver synchronous data replication to two data centres, which is a first for a hyper-converged infrastructure vendor.

Nutanix has built high-performance flash technology into all its platforms, but the NX-9000 is its first all-flash solution. It is designed to run applications with large working sets, such as databases supporting online transaction processing.

“It is a very high-end solution, although the NX-8150, which we introduced this summer, remains our key mission-critical business workload product,” said Adam Moreland, Product Marketing Manager at Nutanix. “We had customer demand for an all-flash solution because there are situations where the customer has a very large data set that would exceed the size of the flash tier, so being able to offer all-flash has an advantage.”

Moreland said that while numerous companies now offer all-flash storage, including some high-flying startups, Nutanix’s architecture gives it a competitive advantage.

“There are a number of all-flash solutions there, but they follow traditional architectures with dual controllers, and they hit a cliff where you exceed the performance available,” he said. “Nutanix has offered the same value proposition from the beginning, with our Nutanix Distributed Filesystem’s capabilities, how far we can scale out, and being able to manage multiple distributed workloads all from one interface.” It can avoid the dual-controller bottlenecks by optimizing flash capacity with its scale-out compression and de-duplication technologies that leverage unused compute resources across all nodes in the cluster, which lowers operational complexities and costs.

“This is something a customer would buy for a very specific task within a larger deployment,” Moreland said. “We have customers in the field already who are using it.”

The NX-9000 system is available today with list prices beginning at $USD 110,000 per node.

Nutanix’s other announcement is that with the 4.1 release of their operating system software, they are introducing Metro Availability, which uses synchronous mirroring to stretch datastores for virtual machine clusters across two sites.

“This lets customers stretch their cluster across two different geographies,” said Prabu Rambadran, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Nutanix. “Every time you write data to the primary data centre, it is synchronously replicated to the secondary data centre.”

Rambadran said this functionality is great for customers who have enterprise grade workloads with high SLA levels that can’t have downtime.

“Disaster recovery is one big use case for this, and another is site maintenance and disaster avoidance,” he said.

Rambadran also pointed out that Metro Availability has several major advantages as a management tool.

“One is the pure simplicity of setup,” he said. “There are five clicks to set it up. You point to the remote site, choose the remote container you want to replicate, enable replication and you are done. It’s also on the same Nutanix management console, not a separate one.”

Rambadran also noted that the primary and secondary sites can be 400 km apart, farther than other systems. Sites do not have to be isolated for one specific workload. Replication to sites beyond a second one is also possible, although this would require asynchronous replication.

“Data is also compressed before it is transferred, so you use less bandwidth, which not all vendors support,” he said.

Metro Availability will be available in the upcoming 4.1 version of the Nutanix Operating System. Existing customers will get a free upgrade of the OS from 4.0, which is non-disruptive. It will be available generally by the end of the year.