At a Lenovo Accelerate 2016 conference today, Nutanix revealed that it is working on an appliance in partnership with Lenovo designed specifically to bring hyperconvergence to the small-to-medium business (SMB) market.
While neither company provided any actual details, Brian Cox, director of product marketing for Nutanix, says the new appliance is being built from the ground up on Lenovo infrastructure and will be formally unveiled next month.
Lenovo already has a HX Series of hyperconverged appliances for data center environments that it built in partnership with Nutanix. Nutanix also offers its own hyperconverged platform based on x86 servers in addition to partnering with Dell to market a hyperconverged platform based on x86 servers manufactured by Dell. To make matters more interesting, Lenovo also resells hyperconverged software developed by several different Nutanix rivals. But according to Emilio Ghilardi, president of Lenovo North America, in terms of its overall data center strategy, Nutanix is its most strategic hardware partner.
Cox says all these partnerships serve to highlight how, at its core, Nutanix is really a software company. Nutanix software, for example, can be deployed on hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft or an instance of the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) that Nutanix has hardened. Today IT organizations can even back data up from one hypervisor environment to another to, for example, reduce their VMware licensing costs, says Cox.
In the future, Cox says, as part of a hybrid cloud computing conference, there will also be instances of Nutanix software running in the cloud that IT organizations can employ to back up data or use as disaster recovery sites.
In general, Nutanix is making a case for shifting away from three-tier IT architectures where compute, storage and networking are deployed and managed separately in favor of a model that converges compute and storage in a scale-out architecture. At the moment, hyperconverged systems are the fastest growing segment of the data center market. The debate now is to what degree vendors participating in this sector have actually converged those systems. Cox says for a system to be truly converged, it needs to be built from the ground up versus simply repackaging legacy technologies.
Clearly, as the hyperconvergence market continues to expand, the elbows that rival vendors are throwing are getting progressively sharper.