Nutanix Brings SAN-free Data Center, Raises $33 Million

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Nutanix has built a compute and storage infrastructure for implementing enterprise-class virtualization without complex and expensive external network storage (like a SAN or NAS).  Last week Nutanix raised a new round of financing, led by current investors and joined by a few new ones.

$33 million Series C

Nutanix announced it has raised $33 million Series C funding from significant current investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures, and new investors Battery Ventures and Goldman Sachs. In its short two and a half year existence the company has raised $71.5 million, and 75 percent of that is set aside for a future war chest. Nutanix launched its product shortly before VMware’s VMworld 2011 conference, preceded by Series A and Series B financing rounds. Nutanix went on to win the Desktop Virtualization category for the ‘Best of VMworld 2011′ awards.

Collapsing compute and storage

“We are in a perfect storm of paradigm shifts in the datacenter – cloud computing, software-defined storage, and server-side flash. That, coupled with our execution, has given us an enviable stature within the marketplace,” says Dheeraj Pandey, co-founder & CEO of Nutanix. “Collapsing compute and storage was a radical idea when we took it to Bipul in late ’09. The market has spoken, and spoken resoundingly.”

The product, Nutanix Complete Cluster makes no assumptions about what purpose the hardware will serve, and the customer is empowered to customize what it will be used for through its software. Clusters start out at four nodes of x86 servers, bundled with VMware’s hypervisor and then mix in Fusion-io flash localized storage and distributed redundancy via high speed Arista 10GbE to-of-rack switches.  It is converged compute and storage architecture, using commodity components and a software solution that provides complete server and storage capabilities that are needed to run virtual machines and store data.

“We’ve changed the game with what people now call software-defined storage,” said Mohit Aron, co-founder and CTO of Nutanix. “Bringing the Google virtues of embarrassingly-parallel computing to the masses is a very hard problem. The attention to detail vis-à-vis ease-of-use and deployment, hi-density performance, and seamless scalability are the little things that are making us viral.”

Preaching it’s ‘SAN-free’ data center mantra the company has attracted large enterprise and government customers.  Last spring Nutanix announced it has closed million dollar deals with U.S. Federal Government customers. With the 2U ultra-dense Complete Cluster, agencies can maintain strict service level and information security governance while building cloud infrastructure at 40 percent lower cost than traditional approaches.

Bolstering Virtualized Hadoop

Nutanix also announced a turn-key platform that employs VMware’s core virtualization technology and Fusion-io (FIO) flash for cost effective virtualized Hadoop deployments that demand high IO performance and rapid capacity expansion without the need for a SAN or NAS. The software-based approach to storage provided by Nutanix Complete Cluster is ideal for running virtualized scale-out workloads such as Hadoop.

“In order for Hadoop to thrive in the private cloud, it must borrow from the scale-out converged architectures prevalent in the public cloud — virtualized, elastic, and with multi-tiered storage. To succeed, vendors must address this problem for the mass market with a software-defined approach delivered on off-the-shelf hardware,” said Merv Adrian, a Vice President at Gartner.

Nutanix offers the best of both worlds; a high performance turnkey SAN-Free server platform for virtualized Hadoop workloads. Its solutions reduce complexity and speed time-to-value for sophisticated Hadoop projects, as well as allow for VM management and provisioning.  It complements VMwares’ project Serengeti, an open source initative to enable the rapid deployment of an Apache Hadoop cluster on a virtual platform.

IPO Coming?

TechCrunch notes that Nutanix is following a similar pre-IPO path as its partner Fusion-io did last year, and that the company has hired Goldman Sachs.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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