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Nutanix announces support for Intel Skylake processors with Enterprise Cloud OS

We are excited to announce Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software support for Intel Skylake-SP microarchitecture processors.

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS is compatible with the widest range of turnkey appliances and validated platforms, including Nutanix NX, Dell EMC XC, Lenovo HX, HPE Proliant, Cisco UCS, and other platforms from these and other vendors are added as they become available.

In early 2016 Intel released its Broadwell range of Xeon E5 v4 processors for dual-socket server platforms. The Broadwell tick release came a new manufacturing process, a reduction to 14nm from Haswell’s 22nm microarchitecture. Fast forward approximately eighteen months, and a new range of Intel Xeon processors are shipping. This new tock release continues with the same 14nm manufacturing process from Broadwell, but has a new microarchitecture named Skylake-SP.

The Skylake-SP platform breaks away from the E3, E5 and E7 series naming, and introduces a new Xeon Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum nomenclature. Furthermore, Intel is also moving from the traditional two-step tock-tick model in favor of a three-step process-architecture-optimization process.

What does this mean to you?

The next generation Intel Skylake-SP platform promises to be more capable than ever before with:

  • lower processor latency with an increased core count (up 27% from 22 to 28)
  • full support for DDR4 memory with no performance penalty for 3rd DIMM channel use, delivering an increased sustainable memory bandwidth
  • lower power consumption

You can read more on an Intel Xeon processor technical overview here.

Nutanix platform performance testing is showing approximately a 14% uplift in VM-dense scenarios, such as virtual desktop infrastructure and some server virtualization or private cloud use cases.

When will it become available?

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS already has support for Skylake-SP with the Acropolis Operating System (AOS) 5.1.3 release, introduced in October 2017 explicitly to support this new Intel microarchitecture.

Customers will also soon be able to choose how to deploy Intel Skylake-based platforms, from turnkey appliances by Nutanix or one our OEM partners such as Dell EMC and Lenovo. Alternatively customers will be able to download and deploy Nutanix software on one of our Skylake-validated platforms, such as from Cisco and HPE.

Nutanix NX appliances will enter their 6th generation this year, starting with the 2U, four-node NX-3060-G6 platform leveraging Xeon Silver and Gold processors for a variety of general purpose and VDI use cases.

Being able to fully populate RAM without the 3rd DIMM slot performance penalty is effectively a performance increase, and when combined with the extra two processor cores, VDI scenarios are showing approximately 14% more VDI VMs when compared to the NX-3060-G5 platform.

You might be wondering how businesses should size for these improved platforms? Well fear not, as the platform improvements brought about by Skylake-SP have already been built into Nutanix Sizer. This enables businesses to make accurate infrastructure sizings based on the types and sizes of workloads they are wanting to run, the hot/cold data-sets, and Sizer will run thousands of iterations based on the desired target platform vendor, with hundreds of best practises.

Consider the Nutanix Sizer scenario below for 5000 Citrix XenDesktop knowledge workers, which would require 27x NX-3060-G5 nodes, each with 28 processor cores in 12U of rack space to power all required VMs and user home storage (based on 2 vCPUs, 2 GiB RAM, 10GiB user data and 20GiB gold image capacity):

Nutanix Sizer

An equivalent NX-3060-G6 platform could host approximately 700 additional users, or alternatively a reduction in infrastructure could host the same number of users.

How do businesses adopt the new platform?

Simply.

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS architectures are not bound by processor families, so refreshing your Nutanix IT infrastructure with an updated architecture is a breeze. The Nutanix Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF) will ensure that data is replicated and available across all new nodes as they are added into your existing clusters.

Nutanix software customers choosing to deploy on their own servers need simply to choose a validated platform from our HCL, which details all required components and firmwares that have been validated for use with Nutanix software, and Foundation Manager is used to deploy the Nutanix software. These customers have the added flexibility of moving their Nutanix software licenses over to the new infrastructure from the old one.

Consider also, that as it is possible to mix all-flash and hybrid platforms within the same cluster, your next platform refresh might benefit with a jump to all-flash nodes.

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS evolves alongside your business and with each new generation of the platform – Learn more here.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer

This blog includes forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements concerning our plans and expectations relating to product features and technology that are under development or in process and capabilities of such product features and technology, our plans to introduce product features in future releases, product performance, competitive position and potential market opportunities. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and instead are based on our current expectations, estimates, opinions and beliefs. The accuracy of such forward-looking statements depends upon future events, and involves risks, uncertainties and other factors beyond our control that may cause these statements to be inaccurate and cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied by such statements, including, among others: failure to develop, or unexpected difficulties or delays in developing, new product features or technology on a timely or cost-effective basis; delays in or lack of customer or market acceptance of our new product features or technology; the introduction, or acceleration of adoption of, competing solutions, including public cloud infrastructure; a shift in industry or competitive dynamics or customer demand; and other risks detailed in our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this presentation and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or subsequent events or circumstances.

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