Nutanix's hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software is now available as a service on AWS. The move allows Nutanix to better compete against rival VMware, enabling its on-premises data center customers to more easily switch to a hybrid cloud model.
The Nutanix Clusters on AWS solution, announced last year and made broadly available this week, lets enterprises move applications from their private clouds to AWS without having to re-architect their apps. They can even deploy cloud instances and manage the hybrid cloud infrastructure with a single interface, Nutanix’s Prism management software, Monica Kumar, senior VP of marketing at Nutanix, said.
“They can create a hybrid cloud in under one hour,” she told Data Center Knowledge.
Nutanix, which got its start selling hyperconverged infrastructure appliances, is now a top player in the HCI software market. It does still sell appliances, but several years ago it changed its strategy, starting a push to get its software in as many hardware platforms as possible. It ended up striking deals with the likes of Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and Lenovo.
Nutanix’s HCI software, which includes the Acropolis hypervisor, software-defined networking, and database management software, allows enterprises to build private clouds and manage their compute, storage, virtualization, and networking through a single pane of glass.
Today, Nutanix ranks second behind VMware in the hyperconverged infrastructure software market. Its new partnership with AWS expands the market for Nutanix’s software, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
Software and cloud companies are all vying for a piece of the lucrative hybrid cloud market. Software vendors like Nutanix and VMware are offering to help enterprises migrate to hybrid cloud from the data center up, while public cloud providers AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are tackling it through a “cloud down” approach, he said.
AWS, for example, developed AWS Outposts, which allows companies to use AWS-designed hardware to run AWS compute and storage services on premises and is fully integrated with the AWS public cloud. AWS also has a close partnership with VMware, whereby VMware runs and sells cloud services using its own software stack on bare-metal hardware inside AWS data centers. It’s called VMware Cloud on AWS.
Microsoft Azure offers Azure Stack, which runs on on-premises hardware from its partners. Google Cloud offers the Anthos platform to help organizations go hybrid cloud.
“It’s clear, as further evidenced by this Nutanix-AWS offering, that the world is going to be hybrid,” Laliberte said.
But why would AWS partner with Nutanix if it could possibly take sales away from both its VMware partnership and Outposts? The answer: It opens up AWS to Nutanix’s installed base of about 16,580 customers.
“They are the leader,” Laliberte said in reference to AWS. “For them, this is just another way to get enterprises to consume their services.”
Nutanix Clusters on AWS
Nutanix Clusters on AWS is available on bare-metal Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in 20 AWS regions. Nutanix Clusters offers built-in integration with the AWS networking layer, which removes network latency and ensures good performance, Kumar said.
The network integration also simplifies deployment by allowing customers to use their existing AWS accounts, including unused credits, virtual private clouds, and subnets, the company said. Customers can also use Nutanix’s Xi Beam tool to get visibility into public and private cloud spending, so they can choose the most cost-effective environment for their needs, the company said.
Nutanix’s existing customers have multiple ways to pay for the new Nutanix Clusters on AWS service. They can port their existing on-premises Nutanix licenses to the cloud, use a pay-as-you-go-model, or a “cloud commit” model, in which customers pay for what they use but commit to a minimum amount they plan to spend, Kumar said.
Nutanix executives said they expect four main use cases to the new cloud service:
- Customers that want to “lift and shift” applications from their own data centers to the cloud.
- Customers that need scale capacity or need to expand to new regions quickly to support seasonal demands or changing priorities. One use case is expanding Virtual Desktop Infrastructure deployments.
- Customers that want to use AWS as a secondary site for disaster recovery.
- Customers that want to pair AWS’s cloud-native services, such as artificial intelligence or analytics, with their on-premises applications.