So Long to the SAN?

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole spoke with Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix.


Is the SAN about to become a clunky, old relic of the past? Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix, says the end is nigh for the venerable SAN. His Complete Cluster integrates compute and storage into a single node, making the data center both more responsive and more scalable. Most importantly, he says it allows enterprises to roll out new virtualization infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of a traditional SAN-based architecture.


"We have a healthy respect for SANs for what they achieved in the last 15 years. But there are winds of change due to virtualization, Big Data and NoSQL."

Dheeraj Pandey

Cole: Nutanix is talking about the SAN-less enterprise with the release of the Complete Cluster. What do you have against SANs?

Pandey: We have a healthy respect for SANs for what they achieved in the last 15 years. But there are winds of change due to virtualization, Big Data and NoSQL. SANs were not built for any one of these. They are now past their prime. If anything, their presence is ugly when force-fitted. They are the grand old daddy of storage that deserve respect, as long as they know that they are now "a" piece - not "the" piece - in the bigger storage puzzle of cloud computing and Big Data

Cole: How would the Complete Cluster change things?

Pandey: There will be a big change in what the midmarket and departmental IT in the Fortune 500 pay for storage performance and management. But there is no - I repeat, no - change to the operational workflow of a virtualization administrator. The day-to-day vSphere experience is seamless for a VMware admin. We do the heavy-lifting of vCenter integration so that there is virtually one pane of glass to look at. The Complete Cluster empowers virtualization admins to do more with less equipment. It is the industry's first truly converged server/storage infrastructure for enterprise-class virtualization that completely removes the need for network storage. It is a high-performance hardware/software solution that enables companies to virtualize their data centers at a fraction of the cost of traditional server and SAN infrastructure. It is the only system of its kind that has a scale-out converged architecture that combines servers and storage in a single tier designed specifically for virtualization and optimized from the ground up to make use of flash SSDs in its core architecture.

A single 2U Nutanix Complete Block contains four x86 nodes, eight Intel Xeon processors and 192 GB RAM, upgradable to 768 GB, for running virtual machines. It also has 1.28 TB of ioMemory technology from Fusion-io, 1.2 TB of SATA SSD and 20TB of SATA drives for storing virtual machine data.

Cole: Do you think established enterprises are ready for such a dramatic architectural change? How easily does your platform integrate into legacy infrastructure?

Pandey: Disruptive change is a common occurrence in the storage market. In the product adoption curve, corporate IT within the Fortune 500 is considered a laggard. Startups must focus on early adopters and fence-sitters, which are more to be found in the midmarket and departmental IT rebels within large enterprises. The laggards eventually take note. This is exactly how many multi-billion dollar companies have been built in the last 10 years - from the bottom up. That being said, we do integrate quite seamlessly with legacy infrastructure because we value investment protection as a critical virtue of any new technology.

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