County of San Mateo Heads to .NEXT


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An Interview with Jon Walton, CIO, San Mateo County, California

Jon Walton is the CIO for San Mateo County, California. We interviewed Jon for a Nutanix case study last year. (You can read the full story on our web site.) We recently caught up with him again last week to hear how the Nutanix deployment is progressing, and to find out if he is attending .NEXT this year. Here are some of the highlights of our recent conversation.

Q. How are things going with Nutanix? Do you have any additional plans for the new infrastructure?

Everything is running beautifully, and we are continuing to expand our use of Nutanix. Since we started the project about three years ago, we’ve grown from 500 VMs to about 1100 VMs. We have a total of 40 Nutanix nodes now and are replicating our virtual environment between two data centers. Nutanix enables my engineers to focus on business needs and new projects, rather than spending all of their time on command line “nuts and bolts” technology issues.

Q. Are you realizing all of the benefits you expected with Nutanix?

We just conducted an ROI analysis with Steve Kaplan, VP of Channel and Strategic Sales at Nutanix, calculating the hard dollars we would have spent if we had continued to grow our traditional server storage architecture to support that many VMs. We estimate that by the end of this year we will have already saved over $6 million by moving to the Nutanix hyperconverged configuration, rather than purchasing and deploying all of the traditional server, storage, compute environment we would have required.

Q. Are you planning on using the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV)?

Yes, we are evaluating AHV now. We‘ve been a VMware customer for a long time, and think VMware is a great company with an excellent product, but there are some really compelling reasons to move to AHV in terms of cost and simplification. Our engineers have been early beta testers with AHV, and we really like the features. We anticipate adopting that platform within the next six months.

Q. Are you using any public cloud services for your applications today?

We are already using the public cloud for a number of County applications, using Amazon Web Services (AWS) with Nutanix and CommVault. We already have about 70 TB of storage in the Amazon Government Cloud for data retention purposes. We were also the first California entity to go live with WorkDay, the cloud-based ERP solution for HR and payroll, and are using the public cloud for Office 365, a case management system for our DA’s office, and a number of service desk applications.

Q. Will you be attending .NEXT this year?

Yes, I am on the ‘Making Your Case with ROI’ panel with Steve Kaplan and three Nutanix customers, we’ll be discussing how to construct compelling business cases for new IT investments, the session is at 9.30am on Wednesday 22nd June. As a CIO, I am always interested in hearing all of the latest IT industry news. I’d like to find out what other organizations have saved by moving to hyperconverged infrastructure, and all of the other benefits they’ve obtained. I also want to hear what Nutanix is doing with their ecosystem partners to expand the hyperconverged model out to the application layer, the database layer, and the network layer.

I just attended an EBC briefing at Nutanix and was thrilled to hear that Nutanix is partnering with Avaya. That’s a big deal for us because we’re planning to replace over 15 aging PBX systems in the County over the next three years with a very up-to-date, streamlined, VoIP-based phone system. The fact that Nutanix is working with a key telecom vendor like Avaya confirms that we made the right decision by moving to the Nutanix platform. They’re supporting the critical business systems we need for the future.

Come visit us at .NEXT!

Nutanix .NEXT is scheduled for June 20-22, 2016 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information and to register for the user conference, please visit: