Nutanix takes on VMware

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Nutanix is readying updates to its hyper-converged infrastructure platform for running virtual machines that it claims will take away much of the complexity of deploying and operating infrastructure and enable IT departments to focus on delivering applications and services.

Announced at the Nutanix .Next user conference, the firm’s “invisible infrastructure” initiative aims to take its existing hyper-converged compute-and-storage platform to the next level by enabling customers to choose whichever virtualisation technology they wish and by introducing its own management tools to rival VMware’s vCenter.

These capabilities will be delivered in Acropolis, which is effectively an enhanced version of the Nutanix operating system, and Prism, which is the management tool. Combined, the two products will be known as the Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP), explained Raja Mukhopadhyay, vice president of product management at Nutanix.

Nutanix’s vision is that the Xtreme Computing platform will deliver “invisible infrastructure” because it will “just work” once deployed, like the electricity supply. Acropolis brings an App Mobility Fabric, a Distributed Storage Fabric and a new native Acropolis hypervisor based on the Linux KVM technology as an option for running virtual machines.

App Mobility Fabric gets its name because it enables customers to have flexibility with regard to the best environment for their workload, according to Mukhopadhyay.

“If you talk to customers they might say they have a 1,000-virtual machine environment based on VMware’s ESXi, and for cost reasons they would like to try out something like Microsoft’s Hyper-V,” he said.

“But they can’t because it would be a six-month consulting project and the act of converting that environment is extremely challenging. Our App Mobility Fabric is a set of technologies that lets you do that with a single click.”

The Distributed Storage Fabric is an enhancement of the storage layer in Nutanix’s existing platform, adding support for erasure coding and enabling virtual machines to directly mount iSCSI volumes instead of using the Nutanix software-defined storage layer, to support applications like Microsoft Exchange which have specific storage protocol requirements.

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