Nutanix at its .NEXT Europe conference has signalled its ambitions now extend into the realm of DevOps. The company announced it will make available an Acropolis Compute Cloud (AC2) and an Acropolis Object Storage Service on top of its Enterprise Cloud OS software that creates an instance of a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform that can be deployed on-premises or in a public cloud.
In addition, Nutanix is embedding an App Marketplace in its Nutanix Calm orchestration software through which applications developed on top of Enterprise Cloud OS can be accessed.
Finally, Nutanix has added Veritas Technologies to the list of providers of data protection software that can be employed to provide backup and recovery software for applications running on top of its core AHV hypervisor.
Greg Smith, vice president of product marketing for Nutanix, says his company is now moving well beyond simply trying to combine compute and storage in a locally deployed appliance. It envisions organizations employing Enterprise Cloud OS to drive hybrid cloud computing applications across a consistent set of automated orchestration services based on a common platform optimized around an HCI architecture.
HCI architectures were pioneered by cloud service providers, and Nutanix applied those concepts to local data centers in the form of an appliance. The company then took the software it developed for the appliance to create a portable cloud operating system environment it is now extending with, for example, an object service that is compatible with the S3 interface defined by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Smith says Nutanix is making the compute and storage services available on top of Enterprise Cloud OS as an alternative to more expensive compute services based on platforms such as VMware. Nutanix is essentially in a race against other providers of HCI software to extend the reach of its platform. VMware, for example, has made its software stack available on the IBM Cloud and similarly is working to make its software available on AWS. Smith says the Nutanix approach gives IT organizations more control over where they want to deploy HCI software on any platform, including server platforms from Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) if they so desire. All three of those vendors also provide access to rival HCI software platforms.
Nutanix developed its own hypervisor on which Enterprise Cloud OS is built to enable its software to be deployed on multiple platforms. But just to make things more interesting from an IT operations perspective, Nutanix also has HCI software that can be deployed on a VMware hypervisor.
Against that backdrop, IT organizations are trying to determine the rate at which they want to replace traditional rack-based systems with HCI platforms, which combine compute and storage to reduce the total cost of operating an IT environment. Most legacy applications still expect to access external storage. But as new applications are developed, the expectation is that most of them will run on some form of an HCI platform that can scale out to support a much broader range of applications.
It’s not likely legacy applications running on rack systems will go away anytime soon. But it is apparent that IT operations teams will be managing a mix of rack and HCI systems for years to come.