When styles of computing shift, most major IT vendors view it as an opportunity to rip and replace existing systems at a significant cost. The end result is that it usually takes a while before the benefits of those IT advancements make it out to the broader market.
Nutanix provides its Virtual Computing Platform (VCP), which combines servers, virtual machines, Flash memory and hard disk storage in one integrated appliance, all managed under a global file system. This company may prove to be a notable exception to that broader rule.
This week, Nutanix took the converged infrastructure concept a step further with the release of version 4.0 of the Nutanix Operating System. The new version adds support for multi-cluster management, additional systems analytics, deduplication of MapReduce processes used in Hadoop environments, the ability to upgrade of the operating system in clusters of any size with no downtime, integrated backup and disaster recovery, and support for Windows PowerShell via a Nutanix REST application programming interface that allows Windows users to programmatically manage their Nutanix clusters.
Steve Kaplan, vice president of channel and strategic sales for Nutanix, says VCP is essentially a commercial implementation of IT infrastructure architectures that were pioneered at organizations that needed to manage applications at hyperscale on the Web. In fact, Kaplan notes that the engineering team that created Nutanix originally worked on the Google File System before helping found Nutanix.
While major enterprise server vendors have been applying similar concepts to create converged systems, Kaplan says VCP is designed to allow IT organizations of all sizes to scale out their IT operations using a turnkey appliance without having to rely on legacy storage area networks (SANs) or network attach storage (NAS) systems that access compute resources over a network.
Unlike other converged systems, VCP doesn’t include an integrated physical switch. But Kaplan notes that most IT organizations are first looking to converge the management of servers and storage in the simplest way possible.
While it’s hard to say to what degree Nutanix can usurp the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo in the data center, the company does offer an interesting approach to converged systems that is unencumbered by previous investments in legacy architectures. No doubt rival vendors are headed in the same general direction. But for organizations looking to move to converged systems, Nutanix provides an affordable way to make that jump.