Rapid Spread of Hybrid Multicloud IT Drives Need for Simplification

How a recent Cisco-Nutanix partnership aims to simplify IT operations across distributed environments, unifying application, data and infrastructure management.

By Gene Knauer

By Gene Knauer March 26, 2024

Enterprise CIOs are facing a myriad of challenges ― from evolving security attacks to sustainability requirements and a rapid evolution in IT infrastructure and services. On top of that, the reasons to test and implement artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) applications are growing irrefutable. Meanwhile, network vendors are re-aligning and forging new partnerships to better support enterprises building their future on hybrid multicloud IT systems. 

Hybrid multicloud infrastructure is becoming a standard approach, according to findings from the 2024 Enterprise Cloud Index, a Nutanix-sponsored survey of 1,500  Ninety percent of ECI respondents are leveraging the best environment (e.g., data center, cloud, edge) for each of their applications. Over 80% of organizations believe hybrid IT environments are most beneficial to their ability to manage applications and data. 

The ECI report showed that the rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI), modern applications, and data is driving IT infrastructure modernization. Nearly 40% of ECI respondents indicated that running AI applications on their current IT infrastructure will be a significant challenge. 

“We expect organizations to prioritize IT modernization and edge infrastructure deployments, which can facilitate faster processing and access to data,” the ECI report stated. “This, in turn, will improve their ability to link data from multiple environments to give better visibility of where data resides across their sprawling ecosystems.”

As enterprises manage distributed workforces and data centers, CIOs are assessing whether they have the right IT operations in place and whether IT teams have the requisite skills to onboard and manage the new kinds of apps and vast data lakes in distributed architectures with multiple vendors.


Hybrid Multicloud IT Teams Benefit from Cisco and Nutanix Partnership

To address these growing challenges, Nutanix partnered with Cisco to help IT teams to simplify, automate, secure and accelerate the delivery of infrastructure and workloads within cloud operating models and harness the power of AI to empower businesses.

Technology Providers Realign for the Hybrid Multicloud Future

Last year, a report from IDC forecast that by 2027, two-thirds of the $483 billion spent worldwide for enterprise applications will be from investments in public cloud software. The deepening dependence on multicloud and hybrid cloud architectures led to Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, broadening the company’s focus from chips and hardware manufacturing to VMware’s software stack that serves as the foundation for private and hybrid clouds.

The acquisition of Juniper Networks by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) gives HPE a modern, AI-driven networking fabric to train and deploy AI applications for HPE’s edge-to-cloud strategy based on a cloud-native architecture. More recently, IBM announced plans to acquire Advanced, specializing in application modernization, helping customers transition from mainframe to cloud-based solutions. Last year, IBM acquired StreamSets and weMethods, leaders in application and data integration, adding data ingestion capabilities to IBM’s AI and data platform, as well as integration and API management tools for hybrid multicloud environments.


Generative AI Propels IT Modernization

The shift to hybrid multicloud is widespread and happening quickly because of a confluence of hardware and software innovations, according to Lee Caswell, vice president of product and solutions at Nutanix. Things are evolving and converging rapidly, driving the need for simplified management.

“Many customers from Nutanix started off in virtual desktop infrastructure, then went to databases, then went to analytics, and now are looking at AI and generative AI, as the next thing,” Caswell said In a Tech Barometer podcast interview.

“And if you can assimilate that easily with the same team instead of having a separate architecture, it just makes it a lot easier to get some operational leverage, particularly when you're having trouble finding talent.” 

Caswell said this rationale was behind the Nutanix partnership with Cisco, announced in August 2023.

Nutanix and Cisco Join Forces

“Move fast and break things,” Mark Zuckerberg famously told developers at Facebook, which became the company’s motto. In 2014, he amended it to: “Move fast with stable infrastructure.”

That could also serve as the rationale for the Nutanix partnership with Cisco. Given how fast companies must move today to stay ahead of or on pace with their competition in a digital business landscape, multiple-point solutions are out and integrated platforms are in.


Focus Shifts to Migration in Wake of Broadcom’s VMware Acquisition

Caswell explained that the Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix solution is designed to simplify the on-premises components of hybrid multicloud IT by creating a turnkey hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution. This co-engineered and validated solution reduces IT’ operational burden by accelerating operations and freeing up personnel to work on mission-critical business objectives.

Nutanix Cloud Platform

According to Jeremy Foster, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Compute, “This partnership [provides] a complete solution spanning virtual compute, networking and storage across customer data centers and public clouds. By combining Cisco’s award-winning SaaS-managed compute portfolio with Nutanix’s market-proven cloud platform software, we can help customers develop a balanced approach to power modern workloads on-prem and in the cloud."


IT Leaders Get AI-Ready and Go

Additionally, Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) can be integrated with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to enhance network management capabilities. This integration allows the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) to work with Nutanix AHV, providing virtual and physical network automation and visibility of virtual machine (VM) endpoints within Cisco ACI. This collaboration streamlines network operations, enhances visibility, and simplifies security policy management within enterprise environments.

“The integration of Nutanix AHV and Cisco ACI is something that I'm personally excited about,” said Jason Burns, director of technical marketing at Nutanix. 

“As a former network engineer, I love to see the automation point where we can make networks inside of the network fabric and have that pushed into the compute fabric. You get a system that allows you to easily deploy applications because the network substrate is already there. That's complemented by what Nutanix is doing on the virtualization side, both with our flow virtual networking, flow network security for virtual networks, and micro-segmentation inside the hypervisor itself. So you have this physical network layer that Cisco is providing and the virtual network layer that Nutanix provides, all tied together.” 

The solution provides visibility to different IT teams into what’s happening in each of their respective domains: networking, compute and storage.

The Power of Simple

“With 750 million new applications expected to be deployed in the next three years, more than in the past 40 years of computing, the question customers need to answer is how do you assimilate that quickly without overburdening your staff?” asked Nutanix’s Lee Caswell.

He said the answer is a standardized, simplified, integrated single-platform approach that provides a consistent cloud operating model, end-to-end visibility across networking, compute, and storage domains, and the ability to deploy and manage applications and data across data centers, edge networks and hybrid multicloud architectures quickly and easily.  

Editor’s note: Learn more about Cisco and Nutanix: A Unified Approach to Hybrid Multicloud.

Gene Knauer is a contributing writer specializing in B2B marketing for technology companies.

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