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Rendering of a data center filled with Nutanix appliances (Source: Nutanix video)

Nutanix Adds SDN to Its Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Also rolls out database deployment easy-button and public cloud management tool at its .Next conference

Nutanix, a pioneer in the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) market, is adding software-defined networking and database management to its software mix.

The San Jose, California-based company, which still sells HCI appliances but has lately been focused on selling its software for managing hyperconverged infrastructure environments across different hardware vendors, announced several new software products at its .Next Conference in New Orleans Wednesday.

The biggest news for data center operators is the availability of Nutanix Flow, which allows IT administrators to monitor network performance, define security policies through micro-segmentation, and automate common network configuration changes, said Greg Smith, Nutanix’s VP of product marketing. Nutanix Flow is integrated into the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, software that allows enterprises to build infrastructure services in their own private clouds. 

“What it does is provide a single console to give the data center operator a full view into compute, storage, virtualization, and now networking,” he said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge. “We are providing automation, visibility, and security for virtual and physical networking in the hyperconverged domain.”

Nutanix on Wednesday also announced Nutanix Era, which allows enterprise customers to configure and deploy databases with several clicks of the mouse, Smith said. With it, a user can create a platform service that they could layer on top of their private cloud.

Nutanix Era, which will be available in the second half of 2018, includes snapshot technology that lets enterprises clone or recover a database at any specific point in time. The software initially will support Oracle and Postgres, but the company plans to support other databases in the future, Smith said.

Thirdly, Nutanix announced its first ever software-as-a-service offering: Nutanix Beam, which lets enterprises analyze and better manage their use of public cloud.

Organizations of all sizes use the public cloud in hopes of reducing costs, but some find that they spend more money than they expected because they don’t have visibility into what all their users are doing on the public cloud, Smith said.

When an IT administrator logs into Nutanix Beam and provides their credentials for Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, for example, Nutanix Beam provides detailed information on the public cloud resources the organization is using and identifies zombie virtual machines (VMs that are running but aren’t doing any useful work) or other waste.

Beam, available now, is based on the Botmetric technology Nutanix recently acquired from Minjar.

“We will analyze the real-time consumption of the cloud, and we will help you forecast how much you will spend over a period of time,” Smith said. “We will give you straightforward recommendations on how to optimize your costs, how to delete unused resources, and how you can right-size other resources and change the instance types from one to another to save costs without impairing performance.”

Laura DuBois, IDC’s group VP for cloud IaaS, computing, storage, and infrastructure software, called Nutanix’s announcements “relevant and compelling.”

Nutanix competes against the likes of VMware, HPE SimpliVity, and Pivot3 in the hyperconverged-infrastructure space, but it also has a bigger vision, beyond hyperconvergence, wanting to grab a piece of the hybrid cloud market, she said.

The new Nutanix Beam SaaS is an example of Nutanix trying to bridge the private and public cloud worlds, she said.

Furthermore, the company previously announced a partnership with Google Cloud Platform, which includes the release of Nutanix Calm software that allows customers to manage applications between GCP and Nutanix environments. It is also reportedly working on its own public cloud service to compete against AWS.

Nutanix Flow is an important new offering, because it adds networking as part of the company’s software-defined infrastructure platform, DuBois said. In the past, Nutanix’s customers had to implement their own software-defined networking environment using VMware’s NSX software or other alternatives, she said.

According to Smith, micro-segmentation allows IT organizations to define security policies on the network and govern East-West traffic between VMs running on a Nutanix private cloud. It essentially puts a stateful firewall on every application and protects workloads from both internal and external threats, he said.

“Micro-segmentation is all about security and providing the right security controls for specific workloads and applications,” DuBois said. “There is huge customer demand for it, and the fact that Nutanix is offering this as an alternative to other commercial products like NSX is compelling.”

Nutanix Era allows the company to provide its enterprise customers the ability to create an internal database service that’s equivalent to a database service that AWS provides its public cloud users, she said.

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