Nutanix Clusters:
Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure for the Multicloud Era

Nutanix Now Available
on Amazon Web Services

By Vidhi Taneja & Sahil M Bansal

August 10, 2020 | min

Today’s digital innovation era coupled with increased remote work requirements over the last several months has put an increased focus on IT teams to rapidly innovate to support business needs, all while working remotely themselves. To satisfy the IT challenges of rapid provisioning, while maintaining centralized control, there has been an increased adoption of public clouds like AWS, Azure, GCP and others. IT teams need to be able to extend their existing on-premises environments and skill sets to public clouds of their choice and take advantage of various public cloud services while maintaining a unified infrastructure management plane. Such a solution is not just a typical hybrid solution or a multicloud solution. It needs to rather be a true Hybrid & Multicloud solution. 

Nutanix Clusters is a state-of-the-art cloud offering that enables seamless hybrid cloud deployments that are natively integrated into public clouds. You get direct, low latency access to the cloud-native services with predictable Nutanix resilience, efficiency, and performance. The solution has been purpose-built so you can achieve agility in extending your data center capacity using public cloud elasticity and maximize operational efficiency by leveraging the same skill sets and tools across private and public clouds. 

Nutanix Cloud Platform for the Hybrid and Multicloud Era

Nutanix Clusters is designed to offer consistent experience between the on-premises and public cloud environments. You can move applications across these environments without the risk, cost or time taken to refactor applications, to truly achieve freedom from any lock-in to the underlying cloud. 

Nutanix Clusters Features and Benefits

Nutanix Clusters runs on AWS as the first supported public cloud provider, with others to come very soon. It enables you to run the Nutanix HCI stack directly on AWS EC2 bare metal instances using your existing VPCs. Prism Central can be used to centrally manage your on-premises as well as AWS deployments, helping you unify private and public cloud infrastructure operations. You can provision Nutanix Clusters on any of the globally available AWS regions with a choice of general purpose, storage intensive or compute intensive baremetal instance configurations, as required by your workloads.  

Not only does Nutanix Clusters help you decouple applications from the underlying platform, it also helps you decouple your business investments from the underlying platform. You have the freedom to use your portable Nutanix software licenses to the cloud of your choice. Additionally, you can also choose from pay-as-you-go (PAYG) or commitment-based subscription plans for flexible consumption. You can keep your existing investments with the public cloud providers and use your credits, discounts and the choice of payment models for the bare metal instances and cloud resources consumed. 

Nutanix Clusters gives YOU the control and delivers YOUR Nutanix software in YOUR AWS account, on YOUR terms.

Use Cases

  • Lift and Shift: Move applications to the cloud or consolidate your data centers. No need to re-architect applications. Simply “lift and shift'' them without any change, saving significant costs and time investments.
  • On-Demand Elasticity: Quickly scale capacity, or expand to different geographical regions, in minutes by bursting into public clouds to support seasonal demands.
  • Business Continuity: Leverage public clouds for high availability and disaster recovery without the complexity arising from managing a secondary datacenter or a stand-alone disaster recovery solution.
  • Cloud-Native Services: Modernize legacy on-premises applications with direct access to cloud-native services like artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and more to advance your digital initiatives.

Key Workloads

  • Virtual Desktops on Cloud: Leverage public cloud resources to simply scale VDI infrastructure. 
  • I/O  Intensive Applications: Enable high end databases, big data and other I/O intensive apps to move to cloud without compromising on performance. 

Key Features

  • Native networking integration: Nutanix Clusters enables you to run all of your Nutanix software in your existing AWS VPCs and completely eliminates the networking overlay complexity. Reuse your existing AWS networking setup - cloud accounts, VPCs, subnets, and Direct Connect.
  • Rack Awareness & Auto host remediation: Nutanix Clusters intelligently picks the node placements across AWS racks to ensure highly available rack-aware design, even if a complete rack becomes unavailable. If any individual AWS host instance is reported as unresponsive by EC2, it triggers a node replacement operation to make sure the cluster health is restored.
  • Just-in-time scale and shrink: Easily add new compute nodes when you need to spin up more hybrid cloud capacity. You can either manually add nodes and expand the size of your cluster with one-click or use triggers based on capacity consumption to scale out nodes automatically.
  • On-demand hibernate and resume: Maximize hybrid cloud cost efficiency with a unique one-click hibernate and resume feature (currently in early access), so that you only pay for EC2 bare metal instances when you need them. The hibernation feature sends data to cost-efficient S3 storage, uninstalls your Nutanix software and stops the EC2 bare metal instances so that you can stop incurring bare metal compute costs. When you are ready to use your cluster again, you can bring it back from hibernation with just one-click and all your data preserved.

Nutanix Clusters Console 

Nutanix Clusters console orchestrates the provisioning of clusters in your AWS accounts. This global service provides deployment automation, cluster lifecycle management, IAM, RBAC, security, scaling, metering, logging and other functions related to cloud distribution. It continuously monitors the health of the bare metal instances in the cluster and executes the required remediation actions if any of the instances get into a degraded state. The day-to-day cluster administration, management, monitoring and workload operations can be performed via Prism Central.

Storage Architecture

Nutanix Clusters Storage Architecture

AHV hypervisor exposes the local NVMe storage to controller VMs (CVMs) to manage storage across different bare metal instances. The CVMs cluster together and provide a single storage fabric across all nodes with all the enterprise storage capabilities that enterprise apps need. The storage fabric from a Nutanix Cluster on AWS can be connected to a Nutanix Cluster running on-premises using Nutanix AOS DR, backup and replication capabilities, allowing seamless mobility of stateful applications from on-premises to AWS and back. While AHV is installed in the Nutanix Clusters on AWS, you can have any supported hypervisor in your on-premises Nutanix Clusters. 

Networking Architecture

Nutanix Clusters Networking Architecture

Nutanix Clusters natively packages in all the required networking integration so that you do not have to manage any network overlays. There are no management VMs needed which reduces complexity and costs. Nutanix Clusters installs AHV on the AWS bare metal instances with user VMs that are assigned IP addresses provided by native AWS network infrastructure. When user VMs talk to each other within two Nutanix Clusters on AWS or with a Nutanix Cluster and cloud-native EC2 VMs, they can talk natively to cloud services without going through any gateways or any packet translations, resulting in high performance and low latency networking.

AHV has been modified to achieve deep integration with AWS networking. AHV runs an efficient embedded distributed network controller that integrates user VM networking with AWS networking. The network controller does not create an overlay network and the AHV embedded network controller simply forwards the packets from the host to the right VM on the host or wherever it might have migrated to. IP address management is integrated with AWS VPC, hence all user VM IPs are allocated from the AWS subnets in the existing VPCs. As a result of this architecture, there is no need for network controller VMs, network edge gateways, or any other management VMs and Nutanix Clusters supports near-native networking performance between AHV user VMs and EC2 instances. 

Supported Instance Types

Nutanix Clusters supports 4 AWS EC2 bare metal instance types to allow for a variety of different use cases and provide global coverage across 20+ AWS regions.

Please check the Nutanix Support Portal for latest information.

Global availability with Nutanix Clusters

Get Started Today!

Nutanix Clusters provides the fastest path to a hybrid and multicloud and is now available for you! Visit the Nutanix Clusters website to learn more and choose your next steps:

  • Test Drive: a self-guided tour of a Nutanix Clusters on AWS setup showing how to use Clusters to establish hybrid connectivity and easily migration applications across clouds
  • Free 30-day trial: use your existing AWS accounts with access to EC2 bare metal instances and establish hybrid connectivity between Nutanix on-premises and Nutanix on AWS.

(Note - The free trial is of the Nutanix software. Users are responsible for costs of AWS bare metal instances)

With Nutanix Clusters, you can now greatly accelerate your cloud adoption. We are excited to be a partner in your hybrid and multicloud journey. Please feel free to contact us at and we would be happy to support you.

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