At a .NEXT Europe conference today, Nutanix took the next logical step in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) by embedding network virtualization and security technologies into its core platform.
Prabu Rambadran, director of product marketing at Nutanix, says IT organizations that opt to deploy Nutanix Acropolis Microsegmentation Services (AMS) will no longer need to deploy third-party software-defined networking (SDN) software because the framework for managing network virtualization software is now baked into the platform.
“We’re driving network microsegmentation into the platform,” says Rambadran.
AMS runs on top of an open source Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) that Nutanix makes available to its customers as an alternative to VMware. Switch vendors that have formally announced support for AMS include Arista, Brocade, Mellanox and Plexxi. In addition, Citrix and F5 Networks have announced that their security technologies are compatible with AMS. Monitoring of the overall Nutanix environment will be enabled via the Prism management tools that Nutanix also provides.
Nutanix initially gained ground as a provider of HCI by deploying VMware on its hardware. Over the last few years, however, Nutanix has been making the case for its own KVM alternative to eliminate VMware licensing fees. Nutanix has become a major force in the data center as IT organizations look to reduce their total costs by unifying the management of servers and storage in a single platform that also costs less to acquire.
Via reseller agreements with first Dell prior to its merger with EMC and then Lenovo, Nutanix quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the data center. Now Cisco, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and EMC before and after its merger with Dell all offer HCI systems to compete in what is now the fastest growing segment of the data center market. In addition, there are also several HCI software-only options. Nutanix, in the meantime, has expanded its own data center ambitions by making its software available both on rival platforms such as Cisco as well as on public cloud infrastructure.
For its part, Dell EMC continues to resell Nutanix HCI platforms alongside the HCI platforms it gained via its merger with EMC, which also brought VMware into the portfolio of companies operating under the umbrella of Dell Technologies.
What is not clear is the degree to which IT organizations are embracing HCI to lower the cost of acquiring IT infrastructure versus proactively trying to reduce the cost of managing IT. But whatever the motivation, a fundamental shift that reduces the need for dedicated server and storage specialists in favor of IT generalists that rely on automation baked into the infrastructure to manage both servers and storage is now well underway.