At its inaugural .NEXT conference today Nutanix announced a management platform for its hyper converged infrastructure alongside a much-anticipated implementation of its own hypervisor that’s based on the open source Kernel-based Virtual Machine software.
In addition, the company announced it has split its product portfolio into a Nutanix Acropolis infrastructure and Nutanix Prism management software. Included in the Acropolis platform is a new App Mobility Fabric software that enables IT organizations to convert one hypervisor into another, which Nutanix expects will be used to convert commercial hypervisors, such as VMware’s or Microsoft’s, to its new KVM implementation that has been hardened for enterprise application environments.
“We want customers to be able to convert hypervisors seamlessly,” Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing for Nutanix, said. “We want the entire infrastructure stack, including virtualization, to become invisible.”
Abstracting various elements of IT infrastructure to be able to manage them all as a single system is a hot topic these days. Also today, a company called Mesosphere launched into general availability its Data Center Operating System, which, as the name implies, treats the entire data center as a single computer.
The degree to which that actually occurs inside any IT organization is likely to vary. But Nutanix has been at the forefront of a shift towards hyper converged infrastructure platforms, where servers and storage are all physically and logically integrated with one another.
To that end the Acropolis Distributed Storage Fabric, included in Acropolis, can now mount volumes as in-guest iSCSI storage for applications with specific storage protocol requirements, such as Microsoft Exchange.
At its core, Nutanix says, the Acropolis platform is more efficient from a storage perspective than other platforms because is includes support for erasure coding storage optimization, while Nutanix EC-X technology reduces the storage required for data replication by up to 75 percent when compared to other traditional data mirroring technologies.
The end goal is to elevate the IT management team in a way that enables them to service application requirements on demand without having to manually manage each component of the IT infrastructure environment individually, Smith said.
Proving its own hypervisor based on open source software also goes a long way in reducing the costs created by relying on commercial hypervisors.
Thanks mainly to that simplification market research firms such as Technology Business Research are now forecasting that the market for converged infrastructure systems will reach over $19 billion by 2018. What portion of the overall IT infrastructure market that number will represent remains to be seen.
Nutanix, with help from a reseller agreement struck with Dell, has jumped out to an early lead in the hyper converged infrastructure category. But over time it’s not clear whether hyper converged infrastructure is going to dominate the data center or prove to be a momentary trend, once software-only approaches to providing the same capabilities become more robust.