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Q9

Q9 Builds Private Cloud Service on Nutanix

Business Needs

Wanted to launch an enterprise-class, private cloud service for customers across Canada.

Solution

  • Nutanix NX-3060 Enterprise Cloud Platform
  • Nutanix Acropolis-based Enterprise Cloud with integrated AHV hypervisor
  • Nutanix Prism management solution

Benefits

  • Radically simplified the software stack to deliver a new private cloud ofering
  • Reduced time to revenue by rapidly onboarding new customers without custom coding
  • Changed the focus from infrastructure management to solution engineering

Challenges

Q9, Canada’s leading provider of outsourced data center services, had been receiving requests from its customers to offer an enterprise-class private cloud environment to complement its core co-location operations. “Many of our clients have had difficulty scaling their on-premise and co-located environments,” explained Tim Harrison, Product Architect and Technology Advocate at Q9. “Their traditional IT applications have continued to demand more from their infrastructure and new paradigms are bringing a lot of change to their business, but acquiring, installing, and maintaining new hardware and virtualization stacks to support that scale and growth has been a very expensive, complex, and time-consuming process. They are looking to Q9 as a trusted partner to build reliable application-focused infrastructure solutions which are easy to use, fast to deploy, and designed to allow them to focus on insight, innovation, and growth.”

“We also provide dedicated solutions for customers who don’t want to use a multi-tenant environment, including most of the companies we serve in the oil and gas market,” added Nabeel Sherif, Product Manager at Q9. “Due to the huge economic swings within the energy market, it’s very difficult for them to justify having large infrastructure installations on site. As a result, they have been asking for more flexible solutions. It’s the same with the financial industry. They are asking for dedicated solutions with more control over data security and sovereignty. By offering a Dedicated Private Cloud product, we are directly addressing those requirements.”

Solution

The Q9 team chose the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud system for its new service offering. “Nutanix has a lot of advantages over the other platforms,” Sherif stated. “Nutanix delivers all of the benefits of a self-contained environment. It provides all of the functionality of a traditional data center virtualization stack, but without the convoluted infrastructure requirements and software complexity. And by using the built-in Nutanix AHV, we can deliver an integrated software and hardware deployment, with a single interface, dedicated to each customer.”

Nutanix enables customers to install their traditional enterprise applications, but they can also leverage that same infrastructure to build cloud-ready applications. “We can take our current customer base with very traditional dedicated environments, migrate them into data center virtualization with Nutanix, and also give them a full path to cloud,” Harrison added. “They gain the flexibility to build their cloud apps on top of Nutanix with AHV, or they can leverage Nutanix with Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure if they choose.”

Q9 started with an initial purchase of 60 NX-3060 systems with the built-in AHV hypervisor. “AHV is a huge differentiator for us,” noted Harrison. “It’s a great hypervisor with no licensing fees, and is based on widely deployed and heavily supported open source technologies. Plus, Nutanix gives us the ability to bring in disparate VMs from different hypervisors and run them within our private cloud. So if our customers are running ESXi or Hyper-V on-premise or in the data center, including any Nutanix-based installation, and they don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy their own DR environments, they can leverage Q9’s Dedicated Private Cloud for DR. The AHV hypervisor is a great open technology solution and a profitable opportunity for us as a service provider.”

Results

Nutanix has enabled Q9 to reduce time to market for new customer solutions. “Development is much easier now,” said Harrison. “We don’t have to build a custom user interface to enable our customers to take advantage of the Nutanix platform which allows us to spend more time integrating solutions and less time doing custom development. We can deploy an entirely new Nutanix cluster in minutes, rather than the days or weeks it used to take us to build a dedicated environment with multiple software and hardware components on other virtualization platforms.”

“We are now demonstrating our Dedicated Private Cloud based on Nutanix to clients,” said Sherif. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers who are still running bare-metal and have not virtualized have gone from saying, ‘This is an interesting idea, but we aren’t ready to virtualize’, to ‘We need to find how we can migrate to this platform.’ With Nutanix, we are now able to help those customers do heavy duty virtualization and easily move to an enterprise cloud solution.”

Next Steps

“Whether it’s our Dedicated Private Cloud service, or the forthcoming Virtual Private Cloud offering where customers can purchase individual VMs rather than a dedicated cluster itself, Nutanix has been able to support all of our different use cases,” noted Harrison. “We are now looking at adding hosted applications such as VDI on top of Nutanix. For Q9, that’s the value of Nutanix: it allows Q9 to eliminate the need for our customers to focus on managing infrastructure which, in turn, opens up new opportunities for them to grow and innovate.”

“Nutanix has provided us a very solid foundation for our Dedicated Private Cloud,” concluded Harrison. “We now have an enterprise cloud service that makes sense for high-value VMs and workloads, which also provides market leading resource elasticity, pay-per-use pricing, and regional and national cluster replication options not typically available with private cloud solutions. With Nutanix, we are bringing together the best of both worlds.”

“[Nutanix] allows Q9 to eliminate the need for our customers to focus on managing infrastructure which, in turn, opens up new opportunities for them to grow and innovate.”

– Tim Harrison, Product Architect and Technology Advocate, Q9