Nutanix Expands Into Enterprise, AWS Hybrid Clouds

Hyper-converged infrastructure solution developer Nutanix this week unveiled a new appliance targeting such enterprise applications and refreshed its operating system with the ability to help its appliances seamlessly integrate with public cloud services.

The new solutions show that Nutanix is now enterprise-ready, said Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based company.

"We are removing the barriers for enterprise data center managers to deploy hyper-converged infrastructure," Smith told CRN. "This lets them deploy hyper-converged infrastructure for any workloads and gives them the ability to build hybrid clouds using any public could. And we're ensuring customers can leverage their Nutanix investment for the long term."

[Related: The Power Of One: New Converged Infrastructure Solutions]

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Nutanix will be exhibiting the new solutions at next week's VMworld conference, where it will have a large presence after being asked to not attend last February's VMware Partner Exchange.

New from Nutanix is the NX-8150, which Smith said was built specifically for high-end workloads including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SQL and Oracle RAQ. For example, he said, in one test, Nutanix served 3,500 Exchange mailboxes on one device.

"Nutanix runs all enterprise workloads today," he said. "But running at high scale has challenges because of the demand for compute and storage performance. The NX-8150 has no compromises on compute, capacity and storage I/O."

Compared to Nutanix's current 6000-series appliances, the NX-8150 offers increased storage performance along with the ability to handle a larger number of both spinning hard drives and SSDs, Smith said.

"The 3,500 Exchange mailboxes managed by one unit is six times the capability of our current models," he said.

The NX-8150 also gives customers more flexibility in terms of their CPU, SSD and memory configuration, whereas before they could only vary the amount of spinning drive capacity, he said.

Customers can mix-and-match the NX-8150 with Nutanix's 6000-series in clustered configurations, he said.

The enterprise market is a necessary move for Nutanix, which has already shown its strength in such areas as virtualized desktop infrastructures, said Jeff Eiben, executive vice president of business development at River Port Technology, a Pittsburg-based solution provider and Nutanix partner.

Nutanix has done well in helping find new opportunities versus trying to replace solutions from established vendors such as Hewlett-Packard or Dell, and customers are already making second purchases, Eiben told CRN.

NEXT: Cloud Connect Brings Nutanix To Hybrid Clouds

"Re-ups with Nutanix are pretty impressive," Eiben said. "When the light bulb goes on, people love it. As people get more comfortable with the platform, they realize it's not that disruptive. And with a larger version, Nutanix is now open to more mainstream applications."

Nutanix also introduced Cloud Connect, a new capability to version 4.1 of the Nutanix operating system that allows the Nutanix appliances to connect to public cloud services to tie public and private clouds together.

Cloud Connect is Nutanix's first step in a strategic roadmap to help customers build hybrid clouds, Smith said.

"It lets customers store data in public clouds including Amazon Web Services so they can back up data from a Nutanix cluster to the public cloud for longer-term storage of critical data," he said.

Cloud Connect is a fully-integrated service, with no additional plug-ins required, Smith said. It allows backups to be done at very granular levels, including single virtual machines. It also includes WAN-optimized technology.

"We are mindful that backups can be resource-intensive," he said. "So when backup data is sent to a public cloud, only the changes to the data are sent."

Cloud Connect will be available at no charge to customers. However, Smith said, customers will be responsible for having AWS accounts and for the separate AWS billing.

While AWS is the first target for Cloud Connect, architecturally it supports all public cloud services, Smith said. "This is the first phase in a much larger investment in the cloud," he said.

Eiben said it was important for Nutanix to integrate Cloud Connect into its software.

"Everyone is talking hybrid cloud today," he said. "This gives Nutanix a foot in the market. Cloud Connect is not necessarily a game changer or something that has been holding it back in the market. But today it is becoming table stakes."