This week I had the ultimate privilege of attending the first Nutanix .Next Conference and present some of the work I’ve been doing, along with a great customer case study and talk to many partners and customers. The conference was a sell out with more than 1000 attendees, not bad for a first user conference. From the moment I arrived till the moment I left I constantly had the feeling of how lucky we are to be part of the Nutanix team and ecosystem, and how thankful I am to be able to make an positive impact on our customers. The conference was refreshing in many ways compared to other big conferences I’ve attended, firstly due to the unscripted and passionate nature of the keynote, the customer stories, live on stage and video recorded, and the live demos that caused many OMG moments among everyone who saw them. I think the customers that grabbed a selfie during the keynote with Dheeraj Pandey, Nutanix CEO, set the scene. Ultimately the whole conference was about the Customer and Partners, and how they have been positively impacted. This is why every breakout session had a customer presenting their stories as well. This article is the first of what will cover the highlights and key announcements from the conference.
Firstly I would like to thank Polo, Director of IT Infrastructure from Kellogg. He and I presented a break out session titled “Run Your Databases on Nutanix – What Are You Waiting For?”. Customers have been running critical databases on Nutanix for some time, and it’s always great to hear from a customer that is doing it. Polo told a very powerful story of how Kellogg is using Nutanix technology to deliver faster to their business and achieve their mission of enriching the lives of everyone as a result. Kellogg has deployed Nutanix NX8150 Appliances for SAP and Oracle workloads among other things. The NX8150’s are a great choice for large database platforms and applications. The Dell XC 730xd-24 is the equivalent platform for customers that wish to run on the Dell hardware.
One of the ways the .Next conference demonstrated it’s all about customers is that Nutanix supports customer choice. Choice in terms of hardware, choice in terms of hypervisor, and choice in terms of cloud platform or execution runtime. Essentially Nutanix vision is to provide a simple application fabric that makes the infrastructure invisible and let customers focus on the applications and business value. This application fabric is delivered by Nutanix Acropolis, and the simplified management is provided by Nutanix PRISM. The two combined form the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform.
Some of the new features will be available in future releases of Nutanix OS (NOS), but Acropolis Hypervisor is available right now, as is cloud connect to AWS, and Azure Pack integration with Microsoft Azure. There is no reason why VMware vCloud Air and the the vCloud Network will not be added in future depending on customer demand. In the future customers will have the ability to change hypervisors, or clouds, with the click of a button and seamlessly run multi-hypervisor environments. I see this as a very powerful feature for allowing customer experimentation, as well as giving them the power to change as and when required if it meets their business requirements. This also provides great encouragement for all parties to continue innovating rapidly and providing the most customer value.
Now speaking of the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor. This is really a cut down and security hardened fork of the popular KVM hypervisor. Nutanix has added some special source around DISA STIG implementation and security hardening for multiple security frameworks, and also continuous security compliance enforcement and reporting (implementation to fully hardened for production in 30 seconds, not 12 months). We’ve also taken the IO path out of the kernel to improve performance. Yes, thats right. While other players are trying to stuff as much as possible into the kernel (bad idea, who wants a bloated kernel), we’re taking it out. It works a lot better that way. As a result we can provide as good as makes no difference equivalent performance across all the hypervisors we support, including the Acropolis Hypervisor. This is just another way we’re providing customer choice. Acropolis Hypervisor is included in the price of all Nutanix OS Editions, and is provided completely free of charge in unsupported form as Nutanix Community Edition.
During the .Next Conference Dell has announced they will support the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor and new appliance varieties from Q3. One of the appliances they are introducing is the XC430, which is a short depth appliance suitable for military use and environments that are space constrained. You can read more about the Dell Announcements.
So how is Acropolis Hypervisor being used by customers? Here is a video from one of the customers using it in production today (It’s been available since Jan 2015).
Another great story from a customers that I’ve been involved with is Nintendo North America. They are using the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor and the REST API’s to provide completely end to end automated deployment of production and dev/test environment refreshes from production for Oracle EBS and Oracle RAC. A single completely integrated end to end application environment can be provisioned within minutes, with all applications, packages and supporting monitoring systems and identities updated. Nintendo really put the Xtreme into the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform. What’s more, due to the intelligence in the Nutanix platform that I like to call Data Avoidance, creating multiple test environments does not consume any additional storage space. Before Nutanix creating a single refreshed copy of a production environment would take in the order of 10 days and consume many TB of storage.
In addition to Kellogg, Nintendo and many others I also had the pleasure of talking to the team from Empire Life. They migrated from Mainframe to Nutanix and have improved their performance and manageability greatly as a result. Cost savings of up to 65%, 16:1 reduction in rack footprint in their datacenters. Kellogg migrated off HPUX to Nutanix and Nintendo migrated from IBM pSeries to Nutanix. All of these environments are running mission critical systems for these customers. Regardless if your migrating from traditional Unix or Mainframe, or from physical Linux or windows, or from an existing virtual platform, Nutanix is solutions that can help you do it successfully. It is a well proven path running business critical applications on Nutanix, as our existing customers have shown.
Before you watch the keynote announcements there is one more powerful customer story that a customer shared during the opening of the conference. The customer was Corporate Services Corp. They are running Virtual Desktops, Unified Comms and soon Oracle on Nutanix platforms. During the sales process while our SVP’s of Sales and Product Management were in Philly the customer had a critical outage on their existing SAN and Compute platforms. Within 65 hours of the call being placed to Nutanix regarding the SAN problem they had the necessary equipment delivered and their systems migrated to the new Nutanix platform and off the SAN. Next time you’re thinking about what a migration project from one SAN to another looks like, or implementing three tier architecture, just think about this story.
Then of course there is things like this tweet below and other examples such as a national US retail giant upgrading 11 clusters, 142 hosts running more than 3000 VM’s during weekday lunch time. This is now common place with Nutanix customers.
— Cameron Stockwell (@ccstockwell) June 12, 2015
Here is the video of the keynote announcements from the .Next Conference. For more videos be sure to check out the Nutanix You Tube Channel.
This article mainly reflected on the aspects of the Nutanix .Next conference related to business critical applications as this is the area that my team and I are directly involved with. But of course everything from VDI, NFV, Unified Comms and more is run on Nutanix. Nutanix is providing invisible infrastructure so customers have choice, and so customers can spend more time delivering business value, more time with their families, rather than managing infrastructure. For all of the customers and partners that attended the first .Next I hope you enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing even more people next year at the Wynn in Vegas. That’s a wrap!
This post first appeared on the Long White Virtual Clouds blog at longwhiteclouds.com. By Michael Webster +. Copyright © 2012 – 2015 – IT Solutions 2000 Ltd and Michael Webster +. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission.