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Welcome To The Era of Invisible Infrastructure, Here Today With Nutanix

By Nutanix Team

A little more than five years ago, Nutanix set out to raise the bar for enterprise infrastructure by rethinking storage and compute for a virtualized world. Hyperconvergence, a fundamentally different approach to enterprise storage and compute conceived by Nutanix, eliminated the complexity of the three-tier SAN architecture and made storage invisible. In five short years, hyperconvergence has gone from being an outlier in the datacenter to gaining mainstream adoption across a broad range of use cases by businesses of all sizes.

Today, Nutanix is announcing a bold strategic vision and product direction for the company — our Act II — to make the entire physical and virtual infrastructure stack invisible. We are raising the curtain on the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP), a turnkey software-defined infrastructure solution that marries web-scale engineering with consumer grade design.

Public cloud services, in spite of their shortcomings, offer a glimpse of what invisible IT infrastructure looks like, and our goal with the XCP is to bring the same cloud-like simplicity, agility and predictable scale to the enterprise datacenter. In a future where most businesses will embrace a hybrid cloud strategy, it is imperative that the private datacenter infrastructure closely mirrors the public cloud, in terms of how it is built as well as in the experience it delivers.

Nutanix XCP is comprised of two product families – Nutanix Acropolis, a converged scale-out data fabric that combines feature-rich software-defined storage with built-in virtualization, and Nutanix Prism, an integrated management platform delivering one-click simplicity to infrastructure operations.

The Journey to Invisible Infrastructure

There are three big milestones on the journey to invisible infrastructure — 1. Make storage invisible, 2. Make virtualization invisible, 3. Make the cloud invisible. Nutanix XCP puts us well on the path to making storage and virtualization invisible, and sets us up to make the cloud invisible.

 

Making Storage Invisible

The Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS), a core Nutanix innovation, leverages web-scale technologies and architectures to deliver a distributed, scale-out, self-healing storage fabric. We are now extending the reach and applicability of this storage to every enterprise workload in a number of ways:

  1. We have continued to drive relentless optimization of the storage layer. The Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric, a 100% software-defined storage system built on the foundation of NDFS, delivers exceptional performance through advanced optimization, including data locality and data tiering services.
  2. A broad range of hardware platforms, including the all-flash NX-9000 series, the compute-heavy NX-3000 series and the storage-heavy NX-6000 series allow compute and storage to be independently scaled in a single Nutanix cluster. Our OEM partner, Dell, provides an equivalent set of platform solutions with their XC series appliances. And, we recently announced the NX-6035C to round out the portfolio by providing storage capacity without additional compute to run VMs
  3. We are going from fixed hardware platforms that targeted specific point applications to a Configure To Order (CTO) model that covers every practical combination of performance and capacity for compute and storage. The easy-to-use Nutanix Sizer tool simplifies the process of designing the best configuration for any environment
  4. While NDFS was purpose-built for VM storage, we are now offering a native scale-out file server that will deliver seamless file storage integrated into the platform. This solution, available in Q4 of this year, will allow every node in the cluster to spin up one or more file servers and scale as the cluster grows
  5. New software capabilities, such as the ability to pin virtual machines to Flash, optimize the platform for applications such Oracle that require consistent IOPS performance. We are also delivering the ability to present storage directly as an iSCSI target to the guest OS for applications such as Microsoft Exchange
  6. The Nutanix solution has offered deduplication and compression in the storage fabric. Both these storage efficiency techniques work well for different specific workloads, but both are non-deterministic in the degree to which they work. We have now implemented an innovative Erasure Coding algorithm into the system that delivers predictable storage efficiency across all workloads, and runs in the background so as to not impact performance.

 

Making Virtualization Invisible

Once you tackle the storage problem, the next step on the journey to invisible infrastructure is server virtualization. Nutanix is taking on the challenges and limitation of present day virtualization solutions head-on in a couple of significant ways:

1. The Acropolis App Mobility Fabric

The Acropolis App Mobility Fabric is an open runtime environment that can deliver powerful virtual machine placement, migration conversion and HA in a hypervisor-agnostic way. Current virtualization solutions were designed around the limitations of legacy infrastructure. As a result, they control core data services such as provisioning, snapshotting and cloning, often using hypervisor-specific formats. This hinders cross-platform mobility and creates lock-in to a specific virtualization platform. By moving intelligent data services to the storage fabric where it belongs, Acropolis AMF is able to provide seamless mobility across hypervisors. In the future, this mobility will be extended to containers and public cloud services. The Acropolis platform has the support of a broad community of technology partners who are committed to driving down cost and complexity.

The Journey to Invisible Infrastructure

There are three big milestones on the journey to invisible infrastructure — 1. Make storage invisible, 2. Make virtualization invisible, 3. Make the cloud invisible. Nutanix XCP puts us well on the path to making storage and virtualization invisible, and sets us up to make the cloud invisible.

 

Making Storage Invisible

The Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS), a core Nutanix innovation, leverages web-scale technologies and architectures to deliver a distributed, scale-out, self-healing storage fabric. We are now extending the reach and applicability of this storage to every enterprise workload in a number of ways:

  1. We have continued to drive relentless optimization of the storage layer. The Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric, a 100% software-defined storage system built on the foundation of NDFS, delivers exceptional performance through advanced optimization, including data locality and data tiering services.
  2. A broad range of hardware platforms, including the all-flash NX-9000 series, the compute-heavy NX-3000 series and the storage-heavy NX-6000 series allow compute and storage to be independently scaled in a single Nutanix cluster. Our OEM partner, Dell, provides an equivalent set of platform solutions with their XC series appliances. And, we recently announced the NX-6035C to round out the portfolio by providing storage capacity without additional compute to run VMs
  3. We are going from fixed hardware platforms that targeted specific point applications to a Configure To Order (CTO) model that covers every practical combination of performance and capacity for compute and storage. The easy-to-use Nutanix Sizer tool simplifies the process of designing the best configuration for any environment
  4. While NDFS was purpose-built for VM storage, we are now offering a native scale-out file server that will deliver seamless file storage integrated into the platform. This solution, available in Q4 of this year, will allow every node in the cluster to spin up one or more file servers and scale as the cluster grows
  5. New software capabilities, such as the ability to pin virtual machines to Flash, optimize the platform for applications such Oracle that require consistent IOPS performance. We are also delivering the ability to present storage directly as an iSCSI target to the guest OS for applications such as Microsoft Exchange
  6. The Nutanix solution has offered deduplication and compression in the storage fabric. Both these storage efficiency techniques work well for different specific workloads, but both are non-deterministic in the degree to which they work. We have now implemented an innovative Erasure Coding algorithm into the system that delivers predictable storage efficiency across all workloads, and runs in the background so as to not impact performance.

 

Making Virtualization Invisible

Once you tackle the storage problem, the next step on the journey to invisible infrastructure is server virtualization. Nutanix is taking on the challenges and limitation of present day virtualization solutions head-on in a couple of significant ways:

1. The Acropolis App Mobility Fabric

The Acropolis App Mobility Fabric is an open runtime environment that can deliver powerful virtual machine placement, migration conversion and HA in a hypervisor-agnostic way. Current virtualization solutions were designed around the limitations of legacy infrastructure. As a result, they control core data services such as provisioning, snapshotting and cloning, often using hypervisor-specific formats. This hinders cross-platform mobility and creates lock-in to a specific virtualization platform. By moving intelligent data services to the storage fabric where it belongs, Acropolis AMF is able to provide seamless mobility across hypervisors. In the future, this mobility will be extended to containers and public cloud services. The Acropolis platform has the support of a broad community of technology partners who are committed to driving down cost and complexity.