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Protecting Enterprise Applications in (“Nutanix”) Style 

By Sachin Chheda

In the Enterprise Strategy Group 2015 Report on IT Spending Intent, 26% of the respondents indicated that improving data backup and recovery was one of their top priorities for the next 12 months. From the same pool, 23% rated business continuity/disaster recovery programs as a priority for their organizations.

Data protection and business continuity is big business in IT. Organizations world wide have spent billions of dollars a year with vendors such as Symantec (soon to be Veritas), IBM, HP, and EMC to protect their valuable application data and ensure continuity through disasters. Even the storage vendors like NetApp have jumped in, seeing an opportunity to help customers ensure better RPO and RTOs over traditional OS agent centric approaches used by the likes of EMC, IBM Tivoli and others.

So why would we here at Nutanix write about data protection and disaster recovery for your critical enterprise applications? Because it is in our engineering DNA and we want to save you time, money, and frustration which you are seeing with your current setup. Starting at the platform level and extending up to the storage, virtualization and management stacks, Nutanix has designed in features and functionality to create a highly available, self healing solution that delivers the right service levels for your applications and VMs—without the costs or the management overhead. The figure below provides a summary of the different features and functionality in the Nutanix solution. This list is growing fast with new enhancements made in every release.

Over the past year or so, Nutanix has introduced numerous, innovative features aimed at minimizing downtime and ensuring IT can meet service levels. These features have already had a positive impact on VM/application uptime. In a recent study of 13 Nutanix customers IDC found that on average, downtime was reduced by 97% and the management overhead was reduced by 71% versus previous legacy deployments.

Here are the some of the features that stand out in addition to the VM-centric snapshots, cloning and multi-site replication (yes, 1:many and many:1) functionality:

  • 1-Click non-disruptive upgrades that maintain VMs and applications’ continuous access to storage, even as the CVMs are being upgraded.
  • Tunable redundancy, providing administrators with the ability to choose how many copies of virtual disk/app data they want to maintain in a cluster (two or three), giving the VM/app ability to continue operating even if (one or two) nodes in a cluster fail.
  • Erasure Coding, which is now generally available with 4.5, giving colder data (example: Write Once Read Many files) the same level of data and cluster resiliency with a substantially smaller footprint.
  • Cloud Connect, introduced almost a year ago, allows you to snapshot and asynchronously replicate VMs to the public cloud (initially Amazon Web Services, AWS). Starting with 4.5, organizations can also backup to Microsoft Azure. Cloud Connect also takes advantage of efficient VM-centric replication, where the only data replicated is the deduplicated and compressed changed blocks, minimizing bandwidth and cloud costs. The backup and replication workflows are seamlessly integrated into Nutanix Prism.
  • Metro Availability, announced the same time as Cloud Connect, enables zero RPOs. It maintains a synchronous copy across two Nutanix clusters connected through a low latency IP fabric (<5 ms RTT which is metro distances). Like with Cloud Connect, Prism is the management interface – no extra modules to install and no separate tools to master. It just works. The synchronous replication functionality within Metro Availability can also be used to provide a zero RPO solution for Hyper-V environments. For Nutanix this is referred to as “sync rep” which supports synchronous replication between two separate Hyper-V clusters.

We are also excited about the eco-system being built around the Nutanix XCP. CommVault and Nutanix have collaborated, integrating the Commvault Data Platform with Nutanix XCP. Through CommVault IntelliSnap, automate the creation of native Nutanix VM-centric snapshot copies across Nutanix XCP, and catalog the snapshot data to simplify the recovery of individual files, databases or virtual machines; all without the need for a collection of scripts and disparate snapshot, backup, and recovery tools.

The innovation doesn’t stop there. Nutanix has brought the simplicity of consumer-grade management by integrating the ability to recover a single file from previous snapshots. You can read about the feature aptly named Self-Service File Restore and Acropolis 4.5 here. And if you plan to use Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor with Acropolis 4.5, you can take advantage of VM HA functionality. Read about that part 1 and part 2).

Nutanix has also significantly invested in building out and validating solutions for critical enterprise applications including Microsoft SQL ServerMicrosoft ExchangeOracle, and the recently certified SAP NetWeaver. This includes setting up applications to run optimally while using both Nutanix and application centric features and methods.

For example, starting with the 4.5 release, guest clustering is supported using the Nutanix “volume group” feature. Volume groups unlocks shared storage architectures traditional technologies like Windows Server Failover Cluster within virtual machines, by presenting Nutanix virtual disks as iSCSI storage with SCSI-3 persistent reservation support. Read more about this here.

If your organization can benefit from a change to your enterprise apps infrastructure, we’d love to talk. Send us a note at info@nutanix.com, or send us a DM on Twitter @nutanix. You can also sign up to attend one of the .NEXT on Tour events coming near you.

Not yet ready to talk, but want to learn more?