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Nutanix .NEXT 2016: It's a Wrap

What an amazing month it has been! Looking at the numbers from Nutanix .NEXT (held June 21-22 at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas), no one would suspect that this was only our second annual user conference – with 2500+ attendees, 67 breakout sessions, and over 120 speakers.

Our customers’ passion for doing the right thing for their datacenters with Nutanix was one of the top reasons why this year’s event was so successful. From sharing their own stories of transformation, to walking attendees through their own best practices, to meeting with Nutanix and our Elevate partners, the event is inspiring us to further drive innovation. Our customers have been the backbone of .NEXT – daring to “Take the NEXT Step” to Enterprise Clouds.


 
Since Nutanix started selling, our teams have worked closely with customers to help them break free of the restrictions imposed by legacy storage, compute, and virtualization. It wasn’t surprising to see Dheeraj Pandey, Nutanix founder and CEO, in his keynote speak about Nutanix’s evolution from being just a provider of hyperconverged infrastructure, to being a trusted partner to our customers on their journeys to Enterprise Cloud.

Howard Ting, Nutanix CMO, and Sunil Potti, Nutanix Chief Product and Development Officer, together set the tone for the conference in the day one keynote by asking attendees and customers to build and deploy their enterprise cloud platform “on your terms.” In short, customers should be able to buy it the way they want, run it on the equipment they want, and connect it to any public cloud they want. Nutanix has been innovating on this journey to the enterprise, announcing and covering a rich set of products, features, and functionality to further break down silos and make datacenter infrastructure invisible.

Here is a recap of some of the news from .NEXT.

On Platforms

  • The Nutanix team spoke about the diverse set of options customers have with their deployments.
  • Nutanix enterprise cloud platform’s Broadwell refresh includes options for all flash. Customers will be able to order the all flash storage configuration on refreshed NX platforms, bringing the benefits of flash to all Nutanix models.
  • Lenovo extends Lenovo HX Series: From ROBO-focused HX1000 and HX2000 using Xpress software, to HX3000/HX5000/HX7000 for enterprise datacenters, Lenovo’s recently refreshed HX Series running AHV helps cut customer breakeven time to just nine months for Microsoft applications (source: Wikibon).
  • Nutanix and Dell OEM relationship: Dell’s Alan Atkinson spoke to attendees about extending the OEM relationship and continuing to help our joint customers (including Williams) on their journeys to Enterprise Cloud in confidence.
  • Microsoft Cloud Platform System – Standard on Nutanix: Nutanix expands its relationship with Microsoft through a jointly engineered hybrid cloud solution. This brings Azure-consistent clouds to datacenters large and small – ideal for Microsoft application workloads.
  • Nutanix InstantON VDI for Citrix: Nutanix and Citrix’s solution for VDI built on the native MCS integration with AHV– with the amazing sub-$500/user list price and average 4-hour deployments – captured attendees’ attention.
  • Nutanix Xpress: Announced last month (alongside InstantON VDI), Xpress is aimed at solving the IT needs of smaller organizations, with all of the benefits and support Nutanix is known for.
  • Nutanix and Crystal group ruggedized solutions for extreme environments: Working closely with Crystal Group, Nutanix launched our first solution for extreme environments, where traditional hardware won’t suffice, including mining, oil/gas, military, government field deployments, and more.

On Product and Technologies (aka Acropolis and Prism)

  • Acropolis Block Services: Nutanix extends the value of Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric to applications and workloads not running on Nutanix, including bare metal app deployments and more.
  • Acropolis Container Services: Nutanix is delivering support for Docker/Containers with the Nutanix Acropolis DSF Volume Plugin for Docker and the Docker Machine Driver as a tech preview in 4.7.
  • Acropolis File Services: Announced earlier this year, Nutanix AFS coupled with Nutanix AHV/Citrix MCS was a popular topic with attendees, especially those struggling to justify moving NetApp C-DOT or maintaining file service silos.
  • Performance enhancements: Sunil Potti showed attendees that Nutanix Acropolis 4.6 raised the bar on performance.
  • Self Service: Not to be confused with self-service restore, Nutanix Self-Service is being designed to allow end users to deploy applications from a catalog/list based on set IT policies – simplifying application development and delivery.
  • Network visualization: In a subsequent release, Prism is expected to feature an integrated network configuration for AHV and network visualization to show how VMs are connected to both physical and virtual networks, simplifying remediation of network issues. By using LLDP/CDP and SNMP, network visualization will work with almost any top-of-rack switch.
  • Scenario-based modeling and JIT provisioning: Furthering the functionality built on top of Nutanix X-Fit, this capability (expected to be available in a subsequent release) will enable IT staff to foresee the impact of application performance and availability changes for better decision making.
  • AHV Enhancements, including dynamic resource scheduling and affinity rules: AHV DRS balances computing workloads with available resources in a virtualized environment factoring in compute, memory, storage, VM/host affinity, and anti-affinity rule capabilities. Using deep knowledge, AHV will be able to proactively identify and resolve storage and compute contention as well. These features are expected to be available in a subsequent release.
  • Managing ESXi from Prism: In the future release, Nutanix Prism is expected to be able to manage VMware ESXi environments, bringing the same one-click management simplicity to VMware that customers enjoy with AHV today.

With Nutanix Acropolis and Prism 4.7 now generally available, you can read about the features and technologies announced in the 4.7 release notes, the launch blog, and the press release, including quotes from customers and partners including Masdar, Hexaware, and Applied Innovation.

Sessions and Customers

With over 120 speakers across 67 sessions, attendees were treated to an amazing assortment of topics spread across applications and workloads, product and technology, Nutanix fundamentals, IT vision and strategy, and the ever-popular crowd-sourced Unconference tracks.

Nutanix customers, including Tractor Supply Company, Excelitas, Vonage, Toyota, Cardlytics, NASDAQ, Hallmark Business Connection, American Red Cross, Q9, Texas A&M University, and many more joined Nutanix and industry experts in these sessions – sharing best practices, detailed solutions, industry panel discussions, and other topics.

Even with repeat sessions, popular topics such as those covering best practices for databases, business continuity, VDI, AHV, and Prism, were packed with eager-to-learn attendees. Browse through the conference agenda at www.nutanix.com/next/agenda to see if there are specific sessions that catch your eye. We are bringing some of the most popular sessions to .NEXT on Tour (more on this below), but don’t hesitate to reach out if you or your team wants a deeper dive beforehand.

Sponsors

Nutanix was also proud to share our user conference with 45 Nutanix partners, including OEMs, Elevate partners, and conference sponsors. These companies were involved in a wide range of activities; engaging attendees at the .NEXT Solution Expo, in breakout sessions with detailed case studies, and various other venues.

Of particular interest to attendees was the ongoing discussion with customers in practically all of the sponsor and application and workload sessions on the topic of “product versus platform” – as customers evolve from deploying products (our HCI roots) to leveraging enterprise cloud platforms.

 

 

SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE

TheCUBE returned this year with an amazing showcase of interviews with Nutanix execs, luminaries, customers, and more, including Microsoft Technical Fellow Jeffrey Snover, Nutanix Chief Product and Development Officer Sunil Potti, and theCUBE guest of the week, Harvard Business School professor and Nutanix advisor, Deepak Malhotra. You can watch the interviews on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLenh213llmcb6di3kP-2syfXy3LnVNfvt

First Annual Nutanix NEXT Awards

Nutanix announced the winners of the first annual NEXT awards during the day two keynote from a list of 16 finalists. The winners were chosen by a panel of experts, including Glenn Allison, VP of Enterprise Architecture and IT solution delivery at Tractor Supply Company, industry analysts, and Nutanix CMO, Howard Ting.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Champion Award: Jeff Babcock, Manager, IT Infrastructure and Security, Empire Life
  • Disruptor Award: Biju Samuel, Director of Information Technology, Cardlytics
  • Elevate IT CIO Award: John Mason, CIO, Bottomline Technologies
  • Industry Innovator Award: Matt Day, ICT and Support Manager, Langs Building Supply
  • Public Sector Visionary Award: Thomas Sasala, Chief of the Strategy, Plans & Architecture Center, Joint IT Service Provider, The US Pentagon

Wrapping Up

Are you excited about what Nutanix can do for your organization? And you are ready to take the next steps? Here are a few ways to engage:

Ben Woo from Neuralytix, who was also one of the judges for the NEXT Awards, summarized the attendee experience quite nicely in his blog, “Finally, and perhaps what is most important is that attendees were very positive about the outlook of Nutanix and found the .NEXT conference useful. Neuralytix’s long-term outlook of Nutanix is equally positive.”

Send us a note (DM on Twitter @Nutanix or through the comment box below) if you have a blog that you would like us to showcase in the comments session. Until NEXT time… so long!

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