Desktops-as-a-Service, With No Cloud Lock-In – Frame and Nutanix Xi Cloud Services
Earlier today, we announced the intent to acquire Fra.me and, following the closing of the acquisition, make available Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) within Xi Cloud Services. The service will initially support 1-click desktop instances on AWS and Azure, and continually expand to all types of cloud environments. Nutanix’s mission has been to simplify the entire IT stack, starting with physical infrastructure, and gradually enveloping the rest of the datacenter infrastructure. Xi Cloud Services will be an evolution of this strategy, to both bring the power of hybrid cloud to enterprises, and supporting a cloud-first consumption model of on-demand services with zero friction to enterprise systems and tooling. This is an alternative take on a pureplay public cloud path, because at the end of the day, if we cannot help businesses focus on their revenue generating activities, and get everything else out of the way in the most expedient and cost-effective manner, what really is the purpose of applications and IT?
While remaining razor sharp focused on this mission, Nutanix has evolved to meet the infrastructure demands of mission critical applications, high performance transactional databases, large capacity data lakes and really any application – to use an analyst term, mode-1 and mode-2 applications – “pets vs. cattle” – and make infrastructure invisible to deliver these applications. This concept is made concrete with 1-click capabilities, algorithmic intelligence, zero touch ops, consumer grade UX and web scale engineering.
The diversity of Nutanix’s customer base has grown tremendously, as have the nature of applications, Virtual Desktops and Apps (we’ve loosely bucketed this under “VDI”) are still near and dear to our heart. Very early on, when the concept of hyperconvergence was novel, VDI environments were the first ones to realize how game changing collapsing the boundaries between storage, network, servers, virtualization and ops could be, without requiring silos of individual expertise, nor needing high opex to keep things up and running. VDI championed the cause of hyperconvergence, demonstrating to the world that there was a new way to build data centers for any application – a way that offered a much more compelling solution than a pure public cloud destination.
Current VDI solutions run great on Nutanix – and while VDI is no longer a majority workload for us, like it once was, it is still a meaningful part of the overall business, with an approximately equal mix of the two most popular solutions. Even as Nutanix has constantly innovated beneath the application stack, to make delivery of VDI continuously better – with the introduction of AHV for invisible virtualization, Prism Pro for zero-touch operations, Flow for app-aware network security, AFS for software defined scale-out file services – we’ve always been left with this lingering feeling that more could be done with VDI.
In early 2016, we partnered with Citrix, and leveraged the invisible virtualization of AHV, to greatly simplify Citrix deployments. There has been tremendous customer recognition of the value of this integration. We followed this up in late 2017, with InstantON for Citrix Cloud which further eased customer deployments of VDI, and delivered faster time to value. As we got into thousands of customer environments, providing the invisible infrastructure for all popular VDI offerings, a changing customer dynamic became visible. This behavior was driven by questions around the need to pay for 24×7 desktop instances, even when consumption was largely 8×5, or the rationale for on-prem desktops when all the apps were moving to SaaS and cloud delivery. It quickly became evident that there was a growing need to radically simplify how desktops and apps were consumed, with a cloud-native architecture – something the market is increasingly referring to simply as DaaS. AWS sort of pioneered this with launch of Workspaces, but the lock-in to just one cloud, as well as the capability levels of the offering meant there was a large unmet need in the market. It was this opportunity, and the intersection of minds, that brought Frame and Nutanix together, to expand the impact we can jointly make within enterprise environments on the journey towards simplicity, now enveloping the Desktops and Apps layer.
Imagine the possibilities, with the planned 1-click simplicity of Nutanix Xi Cloud Services, attached to Frame’s compelling DaaS offering, that did not have any cloud lock-in. Frame embodies the ideas of choice, openness and simplicity – all near and dear to Nutanix. If something can’t be simple enough to be accomplished with a 1-click user-experience, go back to the drawing board and do it again. If the architecture isn’t cloud scale – rethink the whole tech stack. If the benefits aren’t compelling enough to earn a consistent 90 NPS score (as Nutanix does) – focus maniacally until real value is delivered.
To this end, Frame has built a born-in-the-cloud DaaS solution that can be delivered from almost any cloud, consistent with Nutanix’s philosophy of customer choice. By avoiding lock-in to any single cloud provider, IT’s long term risks are minimized. Given the natural appeal of Xi, where all enterprise operational tooling can remain unchanged, embracing the public cloud becomes even easier, amplifying the possibilities of this offering. The icing is Frame’s high fidelity user experience, with a powerful delivery protocol, allowing even the most demanding graphics-intensive applications to work flawlessly over consumer networks — all from an HTML5 browser without any client software required.
We are truly excited to have the extremely talented and hungry Frame team join us on this journey Nutanix has been on. Launching Frame as a Nutanix Xi Service will be an exciting step in this journey, and we look forward to disrupting yet another layer of the enterprise stack – to bring cloud scale desktops and apps, powered by a 1-click user and admin experience to everyone.
This blog contains express and implied forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements relating to the closing of the Frame acquisition, the impact of the Frame acquisition to our business, our plans to introduce product features in future releases, including Nutanix Xi Cloud Services and the integration of Frame into Nutanix Xi Cloud Services and our other offerings, and our ability to successfully integrate Frame and its employees and intellectual property. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts and instead are based on our current expectations, estimates, opinions, and beliefs. Consequently, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements. 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 close, or unexpected difficulties or delays in closing, the Frame acquisition; 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 desktops-as-a-service platforms or our new product features or technology; our ability to successfully integrate Frame’s employees and intellectual property; the possibility that we may not receive anticipated results from the Frame acquisition; the introduction, or acceleration of adoption of, competing solutions, including public cloud infrastructure; and other risks detailed in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended April 30, 2018, filed with the SEC on June 12, 2018. Our SEC filings are available on the Investor Relations section of the company’s website at ir.nutanix.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this blog 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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