Nutanix – Supporting the Federal Mission From Day 1
Nutanix has enjoyed extraordinary success in the Public Sector for a company at our stage and a dinner conversation at Citrix Synergy got me thinking, “Why is this?” Unfortunately, there was a light federal presence at Synergy, and due to Sequestration and government travel restrictions this has been a common theme at many industry conferences this year. In this tough economic climate how is Nutanix still seeing such great traction across federal customers? I think the answers lies in a combination of some decisions Nutanix made early on and some key trends prevalent across the Federal Government.
Nutanix made a conscious decision to invest in the federal space. Some of our first customers happened to be federal agencies and integrators and rather than shy away from this complicated sector we dove straight in; hiring a team who is comfortable speaking in acronyms, achieving a GSA schedule, as well as having an engineering team that was willing to invest in government compliance items like STIGs and Common Criteria. These decisions weren’t made on a whim but driven by a vision that the capabilities provided by the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform would perfectly meet the needs of emerging trends in the federal space.
Federal Datacenter consolidation is an Executive Order and has had a ripple effect across departments and agencies with “virtualize first” policies, agency-wide license agreements, and a concerted effort towards private clouds. Federal IT buying and building has traditionally been done in silos, with departments or individual programs controlling the process. This trend has led to thousands of datacenters and I’m sure an untold number of servers hiding in basement rooms and comms closets. This model is inefficient both from a procurement and an operations and maintenance perspective. Government leadership has realized to reduce costs and drive datacenter efficiencies consolidation is needed.
This consolidation is well under way and on a massive scale. Private clouds are being built across departments, agencies, and even DOD branch levels. These “Federal clouds” will rival the largest of Commercial Enterprises and demand a flexible, modular, and scalable approach. By adopting practices and technology from hyperscale companies like Google and Facebook, Federal agencies can keep their data in-house and still realize great efficiencies with private clouds. Nutanix, with roots in the Google File System, can deliver these kinds of efficiencies.
With the Nutanix scale-out model and building block approach, organizations can grow their cloud as demand necessitates rather than large bulk purchases that drastically extend the time to value. In addition, even though consolidation is mandated, new datacenters do not spring up overnight. By reducing rack space, power, and cooling between 25% and 50%, Nutanix can allow your current datacenter to go further. Avoid that call to the power company for another high power circuit!
Federal agencies are going mobile. Locked-down BlackBerrys are rapidly being replaced with iPhones, iPads, and mobile devices of all flavors. Why pay for a workforce of laptops when BYOD can be achieved securely and cost effectively? The latest End User Computing suites paired with Mobile Device and Application Management are allowing this paradigm shift but backend infrastructure is still required to securely store data in the Enterprise datacenter safely behind the firewall. Mobility and the “consumerization” of IT demand a dynamic infrastructure that can handle compute-intensive Virtual Desktop Infrastructures and storage-intensive follow-me data services. Building an “Enterprise Dropbox” and delivering on-demand applications is not an easy feat and Nutanix simplifies the infrastructure, assisting Federal agencies in meeting these challenging new workloads.
One of central tenets of both datacenter consolidation and Government mobility is locating data in a single protected location. A relaxed approach to data management has led to incidents like Wikileaks and other cyber incidents that make headlines almost weekly. A new focus on cyber demands that organizations treat data security as a top priority. By centralizing data it can be better protected, and by picking the right platform, data management becomes a background task. Nutanix seamlessly moves data from higher performance tiers to storage-heavy archive nodes, and effortlessly transfers data between datacenters.
In addition, the analysis of cyber threats is a hot topic and demands a capable Big Data infrastructure that can store and process the terabytes of data being fed into these analytics systems. Nutanix provides the perfect infrastructure for Hadoop and other Big Data applications.
Another Federal mandate, Continuity of Operations or COOP, regains focus with every incident of severe weather; Katrina, Sandy, Snowmaggedon. Mobility allows users to operate from anywhere and a robust disaster recovery plan allows Enterprise Services to be served from anywhere.
Nutanix delivers replication designed for the modern datacenter, designed at a granular level, only replicating data as needed from site-to-site. Primary sites and secondary sites can be configured into a continuous replication grid allowing seamless failover and failback. With point-in-time backups and the ability to restore single VMs, an organization can also protect from the all to common human error. A disaster recovery plan delivered by Nutanix leads to true Business Continuity.
To end, I’ll go back to the beginning. Every product that is truly disruptive provides a financial benefit. Federal Sequestration has forced agencies to rethink their buying practices. No longer can large bulk purchases be made where equipment sits in the corner for multiple months, sometimes years, until a project is fully deployed. Purchases must be made intelligently, on demand, as infrastructure is needed.
Nutanix frees you from the bulk buy mentality. Start with a 2U block weighing in at less than 80 lbs, grow in single server-node increments, scale in a half of a single rack unit and add compute and storage in a matter of 3 mouse-clicks. All this coupled with the fact that Nutanix can be up to and sometimes greater than 50% less expensive than a traditional infrastructure and it is evident how we can help Federal organizations in a fiscally constrained environment. Gone are the days where agencies are forced to shell out for big iron. Nutanix delivers a scale-out approach that can grow on-demand, in a modular fashion.