Nutanix, is it a gamechanger ?

Ever heard of Nutanix ?

I think its time now to tell the story about something that might change the data center as we know it.

Traditional infrastructure for virtualization includes servers, network and storage. Normally operated by different departments within the IT organization. This often leads to problems when there is a performance issue, everybody start to blaming each other.

This is also in general a very expensive solution with both servers, switches and SAN equipment. All of this often duplicated to make it high available with redundant extra HW, often doing nothing most of the time.

With VDI becoming more and more common, even in smaller organization, it’s has become a challenge to provide adequate performance for that environment without being affected by other storage activity.

One way could be to separate storage for the VDI environment on it’s on storage, preferably on something with low latency, able to provide high IOPS during bootstroms etc. Here flash-based arrays like Nimbus, Purestorage, Violin or hybrid arrays like Nimble could play a part. Even the big storage providers like NetApp, EMC, HP, IBM now have both hybrid and pure flash-based arrays to compete with the new kids on the block.
But even with these solutions we still have a solution divided into three different areas. Server, network and  storage are just faster, but they will still need to be maintained by different groups of people. And they will still need to communicate over a network.

We are more and more moving towards the software defined data center with public, hybrid and private cloud becoming the standard for the new data center. We need to adopt to this and get rid off all the old legacy systems to be able to smoothly migrate resources between in-house and hosted solutions.

With IT becoming more centralized and outsourcing into cloud solutions becoming some kind of best practice, IT technicians must strive to make the infrastructure as easy to maintain as possible, otherwise it will be outsourced to someone doing it faster and cheaper.

Nutanix, delivering kind of appliance box with CPU and storage locally in the box is definitely on the right track here. By delivering a 2U box with four servers, each with 2 CPU’s, up to 512 GB RAM,SSD and SATA drives with a total of 8 TB useable storage with high IOPS and a distributed filesystem where everything scales linear when adding more 2U boxes it becomes a very easy to manage solution.

Inline dedupe, compression, remote replication to a DR site box, support for running Vmware, Hyper-V or KVM as hypervisor makes it a very attractive solution for running VM’s.

There are a number of different HW specs to choose from, from high density boxes with four nodes to low latency with 2 and added storage capacity or even with Nvidia GPUs to provide VDI solutions capable of delivering 3D and CAD performance.

if you are already running a Vmware shop, just add the box to your Vmware data center or DRS cluster and live migrate machines over to the new hosts.

There is so much new about this that I must urge you all to look deeper into it.  Below are links to some interesting sites and some withepapers.

Update #1:

vSAN is a new feature in vSphere 5.5 that have some of the features that Nutanix offers. This article explains Nutanix more in detail and also compares it to vSAN.


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