Nutanix’s New 'Central' Tool Manages Multi-cloud from Single Console

At its .NEXT Conference, Nutanix announced Nutanix Central, a tool for single-pane multi-cloud management, as well as new data services for Kubernetes and Project Beacon, a platform-as-a-service offering.

Wylie Wong, Regular Contributor

May 9, 2023

5 Min Read
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Nutanix knows it’s difficult for enterprises to manage their applications and data across a hybrid, multi-cloud environment. To solve that problem, the company today announced it is developing Nutanix Central, a cloud-based tool that will enable its customers to centrally manage their workloads across public clouds, on-premises data centers and edge locations.

At its .NEXT Conference in Chicago, Nutanix also bolstered its Kubernetes strategy by announcing Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes, a new capability within its Nutanix Cloud Platform that will speed application development by allowing enterprises to provision storage, make snapshots of data and manage the disaster recovery of their Kubernetes applications.

Analyst Scott Sinclair of Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) said the announcements are important improvements to Nutanix’s software portfolio because most enterprises and mid-sized businesses today operate in distributed locations and in distributed application environments. Most enterprises are also building cloud-native, containerized applications using Kubernetes, he added, which makes capabilities like this even more pertinent.

ESG research shows that IT organizations are facing increased pressure to speed operations and reduce the burden on IT operations personnel – and Nutanix Central enables that by enabling self-service capabilities and simplifying IT management, he said.

Related:Nutanix Expands Partnerships to Embrace Cloud, Containers

“It adds greater sophistication and greater scale to what organizations can manage,” Sinclair said in an interview with Data Center Knowledge. “In a nutshell, a map shows where all your Nutanix environments are, and it allows you to access and manage those environments from just a single interface. To have a centralized management experience that spans locations is extremely valuable.”

Nutanix is a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software and ranks second behind VMware in market share. But as the industry has shifted to hybrid, multi-cloud computing, Nutanix has spent the past few years leveraging its HCI software to build a cloud management platform, called the Nutanix Cloud Platform, to better compete in the lucrative hybrid and multi-cloud management space, analysts said. That space is increasingly competitive and includes rival offerings from VMware, Red Hat and the major cloud providers.

For example, VMware’s tools designed to simplify multi-cloud adoption and management include Tanzu Kubernetes software and Aria, a software tool for centrally managing the performance, cost and security of multi-cloud workloads.

“Nutanix has another approach, specifically for its customers, to reduce the complexity and increase harmonization across a multi-cloud environment,” ESG analyst Paul Nashawaty told DCK. “It allows for a more effective, faster cadence for applications to be released as well as a faster self-service model that platform teams can actually get to.”

Nutanix Central and Nutanix Cloud Platform Improvements

Nutanix Central, which is currently under development and available under early access, allows organizations to break down silos and centrally manage their apps and data at scale, which is important for large customers, said Lee Caswell, Nutanix’s senior vice president of product and solutions marketing, in an interview with the media.

For example, retailers with a large number of stores will benefit from having one single dashboard to manage their edge locations, the company said. Meanwhile, an organization that owns on-premises data centers and uses different public cloud providers across different geographies can take advantage of Nutanix Central for a centralized governance and security program.

Nutanix today also announced improvements to the Nutanix Cloud Platform, including high-performance storage-only nodes and the independent scaling of compute-only nodes running database virtual machines on either Nutanix’s AHV or VMware’s ESXi hypervisor, Caswell said. Enterprises can use their cores more efficiently by independently scaling compute and storage, he explained.

New Data Management Features

The new Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes is a necessary feature for enterprises to manage their data more easily while building and running Kubernetes applications, said ESG’s Sinclair.

“For anyone doing Kubernetes in production with stateful apps, this would be an essential table-stakes feature that I would want,” he said. The product is under development and available under early access, the company said.

Nutanix made two other data announcements:

  • Multicloud Snapshot Technology, which is under development, will enable Nutanix customers to create a snapshot directly to cloud-native object stores, such AWS’ S3 object storage service. Use cases include the ability to create snapshots for data backup and recovery. Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes can leverage this technology to protect and migrate stateful Kubernetes applications and data across cloud infrastructures, the company said. “You can take your snapshots and move them into an S3-compatible location of your choice,” Caswell said.

  • Nutanix Objects Storage and Snowflake integration, which allows organizations to use Snowflake Data Cloud to analyze data directly from data stored on Nutanix Objects Storage, the company said. This capability is available now.

Project Beacon Platform-as-a-Service Offerings

Nutanix also announced Project Beacon, a multi-year effort to offer data-centric Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) services available on Nutanix or from public cloud providers, the company said.

Today, many PaaS services that organizations use for applications result in cloud vendor lock-in because the services are tied to specific cloud providers, the company said. The goal of Nutanix’s Project Beacon is to deliver PaaS services that are not tied to a single provider, so developers can write applications and run them anywhere, the company said.

“Today, the PaaS-level services that we have are tied to what we call NCI (Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure), our storage and hypervisor stack,” Caswell told the media. “Going forward, what we’re going to be demonstrating is to have our app and data services move into hyperscaler infrastructure directly.”

Project Beacon will deliver platform services with a single API and console, integrated with Kubernetes, and with a consistent, simplified management environment, the company said. Nutanix’s first Project Beacon effort is with database services.

“We can take our database-as-a-service offering and allow that to go and run directly on AWS without requiring a customer-controlled hypervisor,” Caswell said.

Project Beacon will offer enterprises a different consumption model, said ESG’s Nashawaty.

“It comes down to the consumption model. You can have HCI built in your cloud hyperscaler, or you can have HCI built in your data center, or you can have a platform-as-a-service that’s just consumed on what you need for the ebb and flow of your application,” he said.

About the Author(s)

Wylie Wong

Regular Contributor

Wylie Wong is a journalist and freelance writer specializing in technology, business and sports. He previously worked at CNET, Computerworld and CRN and loves covering and learning about the advances and ever-changing dynamics of the technology industry. On the sports front, Wylie is co-author of Giants: Where Have You Gone, a where-are-they-now book on former San Francisco Giants. He previously launched and wrote a Giants blog for the San Jose Mercury News, and in recent years, has enjoyed writing about the intersection of technology and sports.

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