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Nutanix streamlines its HCI, cloud portfolio for ease of use

Nutanix has slimmed down its portfolio by repackaging its HCI and cloud platforms to include support for VMs and containers in private data centers and public clouds.

Nutanix has released a streamlined version of its Nutanix Cloud Platform that offers users a more consistent operating model across public, private and hybrid clouds.

With simpler packaging, metering and pricing models, the new Cloud Platform reduces some of the complexity typically involved with implementing a range of hybrid cloud services across different environments. These changes give users more flexibility to respond to unpredictable workload expansions and frequent technology updates.

Anchored by its existing hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) platform, the Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) now includes virtual compute, storage and networking for VMs and containers that can be implemented in both private data centers and public clouds. The improved offering also includes new self-healing and disaster recovery (DR) features.

The San Jose, Calif.-based software company also introduced Nutanix Cloud Clusters (NC2) with more agility, as well as capabilities to help users modernize their applications. To maintain consistency, the new offering has the same operational efficiency of a unified cloud environment with common management features and policies spanning multiple clouds.

The new cloud products target IT pros looking to carry out tasks that involve cloud bursting, DR and data center lift-and-shift cloud migrations. One analyst sees the new offerings as a natural, if not necessary, evolution as the company responds to multi-cloud strategies.

"Nutanix's growth started when they began offering an easy-to-manage alternative to SAN storage," said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president, who oversees the infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies group at IDC. "Now, they're growing into a full cloud platform from virtualization to security that can support workloads across on-premises and public clouds."

HCI, cloud ease of use a high priority

Another analyst said Nutanix and some of its competitors in the HCI market, such as VMware, are strongly emphasizing ease-of-use features among their HCI and cloud platform offerings.

Hybrid clouds and HCI are still a heavy lift for many people, and it takes a long time to put into place.
Dana GardnerPrincipal analyst, Interarbor Solutions LLC

"The ease of adoption is trumping the quality of these technologies because of the skills shortage and the fact so much digital transformation needs to be done so quickly," said Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions LLC. "Hybrid clouds and HCI are still a heavy lift for many people, and it takes a long time to put into place."

Ease of use is also more important due to the two-year-old pandemic that has forced millions to work from home. This, in turn, has forced organizations to rapidly adopt hybrid clouds to better handle the needs of remote workers. In some cases, those hybrid systems were installed by multiple integrators who may not have installed robust enough systems or ensured all the pieces worked smoothly together.

"Over time, users will want the benefit of having ownership and control of their own converged infrastructure, and a good way to ensure that is buying well-integrated and packaged technologies from a single vendor," Gardner said. "It's getting harder to put together an internal staff or even hire the contractors to do this work well."

This latest refresh of Nutanix's core product portfolio represents the vendor's recognition and appreciation of the hurdles its users face in successfully implementing HCI and hybrid cloud technologies.

ESG's Paul NashawatyPaul Nashawaty

In addition, the ongoing skills shortage can be a financial stumbling block for users putting together HCI and cloud services, said Paul Nashawaty, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

"It means user organizations can't hire less-expensive generalists to do the deployments versus a more expensive specialist," Nashawaty said.

A September 2021 survey conducted by ESG found that cloud-native application portability across ecosystems holistically is one of the major factors in successfully deploying hybrid or on-premises systems.

"Some 19% of [nearly 350] respondents found [application portability] to be a critical requirement for their organizations, especially those with hybrid strategies," Nashawaty said. "Of that 19%, 30% indicated they planned to deploy cloud-native apps in combination with public cloud platforms and [a] private data center."

With its new platform, Nashawaty believes Nutanix has achieved that level of portability. The vendor also takes that portability one step further by providing the infrastructure those applications will run on.

Another complicating factor in implementing and managing new HCI environments is that users routinely deal with multiple cloud providers in their IT shops. In the ESG survey, respondents said they typically have different clouds, with some 88% saying they run production application workloads in the cloud as part of their ecosystem.

"With the Nutanix offerings you can simplify the deployment across multiple clouds," Nashawaty said.

Nutanix also rolled out its Nutanix Cloud Manager (NCM) containing new monitoring and automated remediation that provides a more efficient way for users to deploy, operate and manage their applications. The improved offering has intelligent resources and cloud metering that improves financial accountability and cost governance.

The company delivered the Nutanix Unified Storage offering that can deliver distributed and software-defined storage that supports workloads across private, public and hybrid clouds. The product gives users a central location from which to manage all storage resources, cutting down on the need to have multiple interfaces and enabling non-storage experts to handle most data management tasks.

Lastly, the Nutanix Database Service (NDB) simplifies database management across hybrid and multi-cloud environments supporting database engines, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and the Oracle Database.

Pricing for the new products was not available at the time of this publication.

ESG is a division of TechTarget.

As Editor At Large with TechTarget's News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and reporting breaking news, news analysis and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting corporate IT professionals.

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