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Nutanix NEXTConf Heavy On News, But Google, Veeam Deals Get The Buzz

Nutanix NEXT

NUTANIX NEXTConf — This week’s Nutanix NEXTConf at the Gaylord Convention Center in suburban Washington, D.C., was heavy on announcements.

Nutanix’s vision is a hyperconverged, single-OS, multi-cloud infrastructure built on a mix of hardware, managed from one console via its Prism software. If the hypervisor of choice is Nutanix’s AHS, all the better, and in fact, Rajiv Mirani, SVP of engineering, told us that Acropolis has made strides in taking market share from VMware ESX, though he didn’t present any hard statistics or case studies. Many of the show’s announcements are aimed at increasing AHV adoption.

Nutanix Stage

Roughly 4,000 people attended this week’s Nutanix NEXT in Washington, D.C.

The conference was sold out, with about 4,000 total attendees, up from some 2,500 at last year’s NEXTConf event in Las Vegas.

The news getting the most buzz from attendees we spoke with is an alliance with Google Cloud to enable a unified, full-stack cloud infrastructure. Google Cloud SVP Diane Greene took the stage on Wednesday to explain exactly what that partnership – which brought Nutanix a tidy 7 percent stock price bump – will entail. Highlights include a single control plane for migrating applications between GCP and Nutanix cloud environments and native support for Kubernetes in Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud OS, easing deployment and management of containerized applications in Nutanix shops.

The two companies will also collaborate on the Internet of Things. GCP customers can use Nutanix as an “intelligent edge” for IoT applications using TensorFlow for processing.

These initiatives are underpinned by the announced-but-not-yet-available Calm automation and life-cycle management software, based on Nutanix’s 2016 acquisition of Calm.io, and Xi Cloud Services, which the company says will deliver a “turnkey cloud service built from the same infrastructure stack with the same tooling and SLAs as the core Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.”

While the Xi service is promising for Nutanix’s channel, it’s not due for release until the first quarter of 2018, said Mirani. And, its success will depend on AHV adoption. Calm is due by year’s end.

Software, Cloud Vision

Sunil Potti, Nutanix SVP of engineering, led the Thursday keynote lineup.

Nutanix's Potti

Nutanix’s Sunil Potti makes a point with Dilbert on stage at Nutanix NEXT.

“We’re ensuring that the software form factor is first and foremost,” said Potti, insisting that a single OS that powers a variety of architectures while delivering an excellent experience is possible.

“We refuse to acknowledge that you need 15 different products for 15 different use cases,” he said. “You can deliver the same operating system regardless of the workload — any workload, any form factor, in an open way.”

In a veiled shot at VMware, Potti says the hypervisor layer is now the bottleneck — and announced one-click migration of ESX to AHV, along with native encryption, advanced disaster recovery with one-click failover and 15-second IPOs, and automated database migration and network segmentation.

John White, VP of product strategy at cloud and data center infrastructure as a service provider Expedient and a speaker at Channel Partners Evolution, was impressed with the keynote but says he has yet to see AHV in wide use; still, lots of people are looking at it to potentially avoid the “VMware tax,” so he’s watching adoption.

“They are creating desirable features that solve challenges when trying to adopt cloud locally,” said White. “The key will be how they can execute on this vision.”

Other announcements didn’t get as much keynote love, but they’re here now and will help channel and system integrator partners, including MSPs and CSPs looking to sell services based on Nutanix.

In a deal with HPE — which was oddly absent from the sponsors board — Nutanix’s Enterprise Cloud Platform software will be available on a term-license basis on HPE ProLiant servers, in addition to Cisco UCS B-series blades (UCS C-series was already supported). The company also supports Dell EMC and Lenovo hardware for those not looking to go the appliance route, and at the show IBM announced it will run the entire Nutanix stack on Power platform.

Nutanix PayGo

The Nutanix Go program is designed to let companies lease hardware in a flexible consumption model.

Nutanix also announced an end to the three-node minimum purchase and an expansion of the Go program, where companies can essentially lease hardware in a flexible consumption model.

Nutanix showcased case studies from some of its exhibitors, including Lenovo. Kirk Skaugen, president of Lenovo’s data-center group, discussed case studies for customers using its solutions with Nutanix, including Calloway Golf, Jiffy Lube and Beam Suntory.

“Our goal, quite simply, is to be your fastest growing partner,” said Skaugen.

Silver sponsor Veeam Software announced an expanded partnership with Nutanix in which it becomes the premier availability solution provider for Nutanix virtualized environments. Veeam also will natively support Nutanix AHV in its Availability Suite by year’s end, an announcement that drew applause. In a statement, the companies said they are “fully committed to the channel” and that the deal will increase partner sales opportunities. Veeam will become a strategic technology partner within the Nutanix Elevate program and be a featured app in the new Nutanix Marketplace.


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