Nutanix Unveils Hybrid Cloud Solutions


By: Mary Jander

Cloud infrastructure software supplier Nutanix (Nasdaq: NTNX) has released a centralized hybrid cloud management platform that ties together monitoring and orchestration functions that formerly required multiple iterations of the vendor’s Prism Central consoles to achieve. In addition, the vendor unveiled a Project Beacon aimed at producing a common set of tools for developing applications across multiple clouds.

Let’s first unpack the management platform: Called Nutanix Central, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivers a single point of control meant to operate across datacenters, edge locations, and cloud resources, whether the latter are on-premises or in the public cloud.

Nutanix describes the new functionality in its press release:

“From the Nutanix Central dashboard, customers will access domain and cluster-level metrics, including capacity utilization and alert summary statistics, to get a quick overview of the state of each domain. This functionality will also enable seamless navigation to individual domains, based on individual user role-based access control (RBAC), across all domains registered. Additionally, customers will be able to discover, deploy, and manage Nutanix solutions and interoperable partner solutions. Nutanix Central will be available to customers as part of their Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) license.”

Beyond Prism Central

Up to now, Nutanix has offered consolidated hybrid cloud management via Prism Central consoles that are geared to managing Nutanix environments on a smaller, albeit comprehensive, domain level. According to a blog by Mayank Gupta, director of product marketing, and Anindo Sengupta, senior director product management at Nutanix, the platform offers customers “[s]implicity in managing their Hybrid multi-cloud deployments through a single console instead of multiple Prism Centrals (PCs) they need to access today.”

There’s more: Nutanix Central also packs identity and access management (IAM), along with the ability to track projects and categories. According to the press release, this all [enables] IT teams to deliver self-service infrastructure at scale while remaining in control of governance and security.”

Nutanix also is developing a range of other functions for use with its existing Nutanix Cloud Platform as well as with the new Nutanix Central. These include enhanced database performance and micro-segmentation across networks; improved services for Kubernetes; data object snapshot storage across clouds, starting with AWS S3; and integration of Nutanix Objects object store with Snowflake.

A Database to Rule Them All

Nutanix also revealed Project Beacon, described as an effort to decouple data services from the underlying cloud environment. For example, data used in one set of applications on cloud A could be ported to a premises-based system B without having to rejigger the database constructs.

Project Beacon will initially be focused on the Nutanix Database Service, the vendor’s database-as-a-service (DBaaS) offering, which was formerly known as Era. Notably, a release of Era debuted in 2020 with multicloud and multi-database compatibilities. Now the task will be to improve on these capabilities by making the DBaaS not just compatible with public clouds but able to function within their resources. Nutanix’s online description reads:

“Our initial efforts will focus on making Nutanix Database Service, our Database-as-a-Service offering, available natively on each of the public clouds, easily accessible via cloud marketplaces, and running on public cloud infrastructure. Following that, expect to see us expand to other data services like data streaming, messaging, caching, messaging, and AI/ML.“ [Emphasis added]

All of the above-mentioned Nutanix capabilities were announced this week at the vendor’s .NEXT conference in Chicago. They are consistent with the vision outlined by CEO Rajiv Ramaswami, who told Futuriom a year ago:

I think the conversation with clients has changed from cloud being just a destination to it being an operating model. Businesses should be able to run applications anywhere and they should have the freedom to make choices based on cost, privacy, security, around what makes sense for each of the applications they need to run.”

It will be interesting to see how Nutanix’s bid for true hybrid cloud functionality stacks up against ongoing efforts by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE), Red Hat, and VMware (NYSE: VMW). Notably, Nutanix has experience with each of those companies, thanks to its heritage in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and the experience of its management team (CEO Ramaswami worked at VMware, IBM [NYSE: IBM], and Broadcom [Nasdaq: AVGO], among others).

Still, competition abounds, and Nutanix will be challenged to keep pace as multicloud/hybrid cloud demand continues to build across the enterprise space.