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Nutanix lays out vision for multi-cloud PaaS

Organizations face challenges with complexity across IT infrastructure. Nutanix aims to simplify with a PaaS platform that extends across many locations.

At .NEXT 2023 in May, Nutanix unveiled a multiyear vision for the future. Nutanix intends to build on the principles that propelled it into a leadership position in the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) market, applying those principles to address the current challenges of distributed cloud -- hybrid and multi-cloud -- environments.

The immediate takeaway from the event is that if you think of Nutanix as only an HCI provider, then it is worth it to take another look at the vendor.

The fine print on Nutanix announcements

Nutanix announced multiple capabilities at the event.

  • Nutanix Central. This is centralized cloud-based management for Nutanix technology residing anywhere, including edge locations, within public cloud providers and within data centers. As IT environments become more distributed, an administrator can manage the environment centrally, just as if everything were on site. This is a win for organizations that use Nutanix across multiple locations, including the edge. Nutanix Central is designed to complement and not replace Nutanix Prism, which will continue to offer local management.
  • Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes (NDK). This is an early-access announcement. Nutanix is extending data services to containerized applications, which simplifies management of Day Two operations. NDK offers multiple capabilities, including data protection, recovery, migration, cloning and copy data management for modern apps on Kubernetes. It will work with multiple flavors of Kubernetes, including Red Hat OpenShift. Nutanix also highlights its collaboration with Red Hat for support.
  • Project Beacon. The announcement of Project Beacon is a strategic evolution for Nutanix. Not simply a new feature, Nutanix is announcing a multiyear strategic direction. Project Beacon is expected to deliver a portfolio of data-centric PaaS services that users can access anywhere, including on Nutanix infrastructure and in the major public clouds. As part of Project Beacon, Nutanix plans to deliver consistent management through a single API and console, integrated with Kubernetes container orchestration.

Taking these announcements in aggregate, Nutanix's direction becomes both clear and compelling. When Nutanix was founded more than a decade ago, IT organizations were struggling with crippling complexity tied to managing and scaling multiple components in their traditional three-tier architectures. They also struggled with finger-pointing and poor collaboration across different vendors and disparate domain teams within the organization.

Nutanix responded with HCI, which consolidated and simplified three-tier architectures. It also enabled the application teams to consume much of the operational burden and ultimately speed up operations.

How Nutanix offerings fit with today's trends

Fast forward to today. Organizations again struggle with the crippling complexity of managing and scaling application environments across multiple distinct locations, separate public cloud providers, data centers and edge locations. History is repeating itself, just on a larger and more distributed scale.

When HCI transformed the industry, it was the application team that needed faster access to infrastructure resources. Today, that group also includes platform engineering, DevOps and application developers. And with the increased adoption of container-based environments and Kubernetes, the distribution of applications and data will only continue.

Kubernetes has seen massive adoption in recent years -- more than 60% of organizations say they use containers for production applications, according to recent research from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. This is despite serious challenges with complexity. Enter Nutanix. Arguably the most prevalent benefit it provides is its ability to radically simplify the infrastructure environment. What Nutanix and HCI once did for hypervisor infrastructures, the world now needs for Kubernetes, too.

The cloud changed the way businesses harness the power of technology and the way they develop applications. The challenge is that every organization is multi-cloud now, running environments that span not just multiple cloud providers, but also multiple data centers and edge locations.

A PaaS environment that can span across any location is the natural evolution of HCI. PaaS offers management simplicity at the application level; it abstracts and automates the infrastructure foundation, and it extends across a distributed environment without requiring a massive investment in new personnel.

Multisite, platform-level simplicity will become paramount for businesses that want to continue to speed up operations at scale, and Nutanix is in a position to deliver.

Soon it will be nearly impossible to compete if your technology is isolated only to a single location. As multiple industry players introduce hybrid or multi-cloud capabilities at an infrastructure level, Nutanix's strategy to deliver a platform-level offering that spans locations is compelling.

Multisite, platform-level simplicity will become paramount for businesses that want to continue to speed up operations at scale, and Nutanix is in a position to deliver.

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