Nutanix Insights: Striving Towards A Healthier Cloud

July 13, 2020 | min

Today, Nutanix starts the rollout of a new predictive health and automated support offering called Nutanix Insights. With a simple objective, it empowers customers to leverage the wealth of Nutanix best practice know-how and learnings from our field and support teams to proactively support their cloud infrastructures, keeping them healthy and optimized.

Providing customers with a predictive health and support service is no easy undertaking, however. Nutanix has been working towards this capability for several years, and it all started with building a world class Support organization.

Support has always been a top priority at Nutanix, where we treat customers the way we would all like to be treated when calling a customer service team. With no defined “support tiers,” our customers always quickly reach a Nutanix Systems Reliability Engineer (SRE) expert--someone with years of real-world, hands-on experience--who works with the customer until the issue is resolved, without the customer being passed among multiple teams.

The technical support experience our customers receive has enabled Nutanix to achieve a 97% customer retention rate and an average Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90 for the past six years, a stark difference from the software industry average NPS of 40. While we are proud of these achievements, Nutanix is excited about making infrastructure support even more proactive and streamlined.

Intelligent. Predictive. Secure.

Nutanix Insights helps customers keep their cloud infrastructures running in a healthy and optimized state. It also works to reduce instances when a support case would be required and expedite issue resolution if one is needed. This latter benefit comes in the form of Support automation, saving IT administrator time by simplifying support ticket management.

Early Access & Co-Development

We are extremely thankful for the feedback and input from over 60 customers from around the globe and across industries that participated in the early access (EA) program.

At Nutanix we love engaging with our customers as we develop our products because it helps us stay true to our mission of simplifying IT with invisible infrastructure. For Insights, this mission translates into a seamless, automated, and predictive support experience. 

“Time is the most valuable resource for us and the thousands of IT administrators that deliver value to their business users,” said Prashant Batra, Director of Product Management for Insights. “We expect to see a significant time saving on their infrastructure support operations, freeing them to focus on more important activities.”

Nutanix Insights is predicated on Pulse telemetry being enabled on customers’ Nutanix clusters. Pulse securely sends system-level telemetry data to Nutanix for analysis to determine the best course of action on issues as they appear. 

Predictive Health

Insights began as a tool for Nutanix’s Support team, enabling them to provide a more efficient service to customers. With the global launch of Insights, all Nutanix customers now gain access to the service by way of an updated Support portal dashboard, featuring new panels with actionable data such as Discoveries and Clusters by Discovery Impact.

Above: an updated Support portal showing Discoveries and Clusters by Discovery Impact 

Discoveries provide IT administrators with information on the difference between their infrastructure configuration and what the recommended configuration should be. This single pane provides organizations with the ability to manage the health of their entire Nutanix infrastructure, across cluster, site, and geography boundaries. 

If the Insights service detects a match between data transmitted in customers’ Pulse telemetry and a discovery policy, it becomes a Discovery listed on the customer’s support portal. IT administrators can easily view and prioritize Discoveries based on impact level, allowing them to focus their time on the most important infrastructure issues first.

Above: screenshot showing Discoveries in priority order 

Discoveries are made using the wealth of Nutanix Support knowledge garnered over the years, which is stored in a variety of documents, including:

  • Field Advisories
  • Security Advisories
  • Knowledge Base (KB) Articles
  • Best Practice Guides
  • Software End-Of-Maintenance (EOM) and End-Of-Life (EOL)

Where possible, Insights offers actionable Recommendations along with the Discoveries. This provides IT teams with a clear understanding of the required steps to rectify the issue, without needing to open a Support case.

Above: an example Recommendation to resolve a known Intel microcode bug.

For example, the Recommendation above provides an easy solution for IT administrators to follow; in this case, it recommends using Nutanix Lifecycle Manager (LCM) to upgrade the BIOS and BMC of the nodes in question.

In the example below, Insights has detected a potential issue with a RAM DIMM module that may require replacing. This level of proactive awareness enables organizations to take corrective action prior to issues, such as this hardware failure causing unplanned downtime.

Above: a high priority Discovery with an actionable Recommendation

Insights also monitors and tracks software, as in the following example which highlights that a version of AOS has gone end-of-life (EOL). Discoveries such as these help IT administrators plan ahead and take timely and proactive actions to keep their software updated so that they don’t find themselves on a version that has passed its EOL. Clear, easy to follow recommendations provide the information for organizations to keep infrastructures running optimally.

Above: a software license Discovery with two actionable Recommendations

Support Automation

If a Discovery is made for which there is no current Recommendation, then Insights can automatically open a Support case on behalf of the customer, assign an Systems Reliability Engineer, and upload applicable diagnostic logs from the correct time period.

Customers maintain control over their diagnostic data, including logs, and Insights enables organizations to select whether to automatically collect them or whether prior approval is required.

Above: Insights diagnostics settings for automated support

The combination of Insights Recommendations and Support automation can have a dramatic impact on the amount of time IT teams spend diagnosing infrastructure issues and managing them through to resolution.

Based on internal Support data for 2020, Insights would have provided actionable Recommendations for about 30 percent of the issues raised with Support at launch, enabling customers to resolve potential issues such as these more quickly and without the need for a support case. 

“Not having a ticket to open is already a good thing, but the possibility to see the problems related to a version installed on a cluster and how to solve them is great. It's the same philosophy that made the one-click upgrade.”

- EA participant Olivier Massoni, Systems Engineer
at Compass Group France

The general availability rollout of Insights to all Nutanix customers will be running through July and August. Further information on Nutanix Insights can be found on its product page, and if your organization has yet to be enabled for Insights but you want immediate access, please complete the form at the bottom of that page. 

Gain insights on how to achieve a healthier cloud for your organization with fewer support cases and faster issue resolution by enabling Pulse telemetry today.

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