The teams are exploring how to leverage Optane SSD capabilities in a high-performance storage tier in the Nutanix stack. Another project deals with figuring out how Intel’s Optane PMem can integrate into the Nutanix software stack. The benefits of PMem could include larger virtual disk capacities, improved user application performance, faster node recovery time, more virtual machines per cluster node, and support for emerging applications that can use PMem directly, such as SAP HANA.
Mills is quick to mention that the point of the Lab is innovation, which doesn’t necessarily lead to productization.
“Will it result in significant performance advancements in our product in the future? I believe so. But we will base our productization plans on what we find, and we learn new things every week.”
A Natural Partnership
Harris said that part of the Intel-Nutanix synergy is figuring out what customers truly need.
“Innovation is not merely about getting together the widgets like Intel hardware and Nutanix software and making them work seamlessly together,” he said. “It’s about making sure we focus on the right widgets to yield a solution that ensures we create – and even augment – new customer value for positive outcomes.”
For Mills, working directly with Intel can smooth some of the bumps that occur naturally in any project.
“They bring experts and architects to the table whenever they’re needed…that’s a tremendous value, especially when you're doing something pretty cutting-edge related to new technologies,” Mills said.
“Without the close collaboration of the company that developed the technology, you don't know if you can address any gaps.”
Value Across Industries
The Intel-Nutanix Innovation Lab aims to add value across many industries, according to Intel’s Harris.
“The work we do would enable any OEM at the competitive technology level to take the same optimizations and drive them into their own systems,” Harris said.
“Having that optimization in the Nutanix stack, for example, is not exclusive. We don’t put a walled garden around any of the work we do in the Innovation Lab.”
Harris said that, in addition to making the technologies non-exclusive, the lab would release specific platform designs, much like an off-the-shelf turnkey system, so OEMs don’t have to invest their own time and money in R&D.