Nutanix Introduces Multi-Cloud Capabilities, Extends Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Across The Data Center To Cloud

Nutanix has added multi-cloud capabilities to its hyper-converged infrastructure software stack, including a single software fabric that works across on-premises appliances, from multiple vendors, and across multiple clouds as well.

The new capabilities, introduced as the first of several new cloud services, were unveiled at the Nutanix .NEXT conference held this week in Washington, D.C.

Nutanix also unveiled a strategic relationship with Google that will allow certain Nutanix-based hyper-converged infrastructure services to run natively on the Google Public Cloud.

[Related: Nutanix Brings Its HCI Software To HPE Servers, Adds New Appliance Rental Option]

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Nutanix is looking at how to help partners and customers build coherent hybrid clouds, something that has proven difficult with more traditional on-premises infrastructures, said Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing at San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix.

"And we are looking beyond hybrid clouds to remote offices, even at remote locations like military installations, oil-gas fields, and so on," Smith told CRN. "It's what we're calling the 'edge cloud.'"

To make that happen, Nutanix unveiled Nutanix Xi Cloud Services, which extends data center services to the cloud via the company's Prism centralized data center infrastructure management software.

The focus of Nutanix Xi Cloud Services is to take out the complexity of extending on-premises services to the cloud, Smith said. "Today, customers need a complex, expensive lift and shift to get to the cloud," he said. "We're eliminating that need by providing a common experience across on-prem and cloud environments."

The first Nutanix Xi Cloud Service, which is expected to be available early next year, is Xi Cloud Disaster Recovery. "Customers will be able to set up, manage, and test complete disaster recovery services in minutes," Smith said. "This can all be done without a separate disaster recovery site or a third-party cloud."

The Nutanix Xi Cloud Service takes advantage Nutanix's own cloud which is based in several colocation centers to provide customers with the ability to offer a variety of cloud services related to the company's hyper-converged infrastructure, he said.

With the new strategic relationship with Google, those services can also be run natively in the Google Public Cloud.

The Xi Cloud Disaster Recovery service is slated to be available early next year, with other services to follow, Smith said.

Nutanix also unveiled the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software, an application that extends the Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure environment to the cloud.

With Nutanix Enterprise Cloud, the Nutanix software stack, which is currently available for on-premises deployments in appliances from Nutanix, Dell EMC, Lenovo, and IBM, is now available as a native cloud-delivered solution, Smith said.

"This is a major advancement in terms of providing hybrid cloud services," he said. "We're providing complete application mobility regardless of whether customers want to work on-premises or in the cloud."

Also new is Nutanix Calm, a single software fabric that lets customers define and publish applications in the form of blueprints that can then be provisioned across different cloud environments, Smith said.

Nutanix Calm, which is expected to be available late this year, takes advantage of the compute and storage capabilities of the Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure software stack to converge applications using the VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV hypervisors across Xi Cloud services and public clouds starting with AWS, Smith said Nutanix Calm will eventually be offered across Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, he said.

"We're allowing customers to decouple their applications from their infrastructures," he said. "Customers can choose to run their applications where they want to based on cost and performance requirements … The net effect will be to elevate traditional IT managers to become cloud IT managers."

Customers definitely have an appetite for extending their hyper-converged infrastructure deployments to the cloud, said Rick Gouin, chief technology officer at Winslow Technology Group, a Boston-based solution provider and channel partner to both Nutanix and Dell EMC, which OEMs the Nutanix software stack for its XC series appliances.

"Dell EMC already has a good story with its VxRail integration to the cloud," Gouin told CRN. "There's a definite need for Nutanix to do this."

Customers are moving to clouds in varying degrees of speed, and are looking at more than one cloud, Gouin said. He looks forward to having Nutanix's multi-cloud capabilities on the Dell XC series appliances.

"For the most part, new Nutanix capabilities come to the XC series quickly, but not all," Gouin said. "Nutanix supports Xen hypervisors, but Dell XC appliances do not, probably because of Dell's VMware relationship."

Nutanix will leverage existing channel partners for its new multi-cloud initiatives, Smith said.

"Xi Cloud gives partners the ability to add a set of integrated cloud services to their Nutanix clients," he said. "And Nutanix Calm provides partners with differentiation for hyper-converged infrastructure in the cloud. It will increase the market with automation tools to extend beyond existing infrastructure to DevOps."

Nutanix will provide partners with new technical and sales training, but does not plan to offer new certifications, Smith said. "Our goal is to make this part of our existing programs to provide a consistent selling process for our partners."