Nutanix Widens Coverage for Cloud Native Users With Expanded Project Beacon

By Thomas Cornely

May 21, 2024 | min

We announced Project Beacon a year ago to share our vision for decoupling applications and their data from the underlying infrastructure to truly enable application mobility across clouds. As we shared this vision with customers over the last year, we saw an opportunity to expand the scope of the project to benefit the developers building Kubernetes-based modern applications across clouds and the operators tasked with deploying, securing and managing these Kubernetes environments.

Developers building new applications need fast, easy access to resources and services on reliable, scalable infrastructure. These include both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) data services such as blocks, files and objects, as well as more advanced platform-as-a-service (PaaS) data services such as databases, streaming, caching, and increasingly AI inference endpoint services. While the majority of cloud-native applications are born in a cloud, very few are actually multicloud and built to be moved easily from one cloud to another, or on-premises.  They also lack consistent data services to store, protect, and process data, across clouds.

The challenge with existing cloud native storage services一just like with platform data services一is that they are native to just one particular public cloud. This means, for example, developers and operators who want to deploy an application that was built on AWS, and relies on Amazon’s native storage services, to another public cloud or a private cloud will need to find an alternative storage solution and rewrite the application logic. This creates application and data silos, slows down development and time to market, and creates operational complexity.

Finally, for an application to be easily portable between clouds and on-premises, it falls to Kubernetes platform engineering teams to deliver consistent Kubernetes platforms with these data services across all these environments, and do so in a way that is secure, complies with enterprise policies and ideally remains manageable over time. As a result, platform engineering teams supporting production Kubernetes clusters increasingly need:

  • Tools to consistently deploy, manage, secure and operate the Kubernetes environments that developers demand, whether these Kubernetes clusters run on AWS EKS, Azure Kubernetes Service or Google Kubernetes Engine.
  • Infrastructure data services (blocks, files and objects) that can accelerate application development, simplify data resilience across availability zones, and can be managed consistently across clouds.
  • Platform data services and AI model endpoint services that can be accessed consistently across clouds.

These are the challenges Project Beacon aims to address, building on our experience breaking down silos, building tools that simplify operations across complex environments, and delivering high performance, web scale data solutions. 

Expanding Project Beacon

The recently announced Nutanix Kubernetes Platform will on day 1 deliver a unified management plane for CNCF-compliant Kubernetes distribution, including cloud-native Kubernetes services such as EKS, AKS and, in the near future, GKE. With a single pane of glass, platform engineers will be able to consistently deploy, secure, manage and operate large fleets of Kubernetes clusters, across on-premise and public clouds.

For infrastructure data services, we are expanding the scope of Project Beacon to include cloud native block and file storage services that can be consistently managed natively in public clouds, in on-premises private data centers, and at the edge. These cloud native data services will integrate seamlessly with the modern orchestration environments used in public clouds, facilitating easier management, strengthening digital resilience, and enabling better compliance with evolving regulations.

This will give platform teams and developers building and running modern applications seamless, fast, and secure access to the same powerful data and storage services no matter where they choose to deploy. This will reduce operational complexity, managing just one data service in multiple environments, rather than different teams managing different data services in each environment. This will result in higher development velocity, faster time to market, and increased deployment flexibility over the lifetime of the application. Another benefit will be providing modern, cloud-native applications with the same data services that are available to enterprise workloads, including high performance, disaster recovery, high availability between availability zones, and integrated security, without requiring application developers to develop and deliver all these capabilities themselves.  

Introducing new Cloud Native Data Services

As a key step in this journey, we are developing Cloud Native AOS, which will take our proven and resilient AOS stack and deliver it in a containerized platform, with early access planned for the second half of 2024. The first use case available will be Nutanix Data Services (NDK) powered by Cloud Native AOS, which brings enterprise-grade data protection and data management capabilities to cloud native apps starting with AWS EKS with a vision to expand across any hyperscaler and Kubernetes environment.

A critical target use case for Cloud Native AOS is building cloud native applications that can simply maintain data access in the face of availability zone failures, full region or even cloud failures. This level of resilience has traditionally required fully re-architecting applications to have the application itself manage data replication between availability zones and regions. While technically possible, this approach drives up the cost and complexity of application modernization. Cloud Native AOS will deliver automated replication of all container data across availability zones and regions allowing a container to seamlessly access its data wherever it is running. With this capability, even the simplest application will benefit from the most advanced levels of resilience and high availability.

Given these capabilities, Cloud Native AOS will also be a key building block for our own suite of data-centric multicloud PaaS services.

Coming later, Nutanix Files running natively on public cloud will provide enterprise-grade file services in the public cloud. It will help customers easily and cost-effectively support hybrid cloud use cases such as disaster recovery.

By bringing together cloud native platform data services, infrastructure data services, and kubernetes management through our recently announced Nutanix Kubernetes Platform, we plan to deliver a complete modern apps platform delivered everywhere. You can sign up here to get updates on Project Beacon and participate in the beta process as we roll out new capabilities and services in the future.

Functionality and features contemplated by Project Beacon is currently under development. More information can be found here.

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