A good friend recently corrected me during a conversation about innovation. I was describing my job at VMT, and the work we do. “Think of it as an autopilot for the biggest most complex data centers in the world. The future is now,” I joked. “No.” He retorted. “The future is soon.” This evening, as I write here at Gate E30 of Miami International, I must confess that the lines between soon and now are very blurred.
I’ve spent the last three days at the famous Fountainbleu Miami Beach, representing VMTurbo at the first inaugural Nutanix .NEXT conference as the host’s newest joint solution partner.
Late Monday night in the packed exhibition hall, I had the pleasure of speaking with (Venugopal) “Pai”, Nutanix’s VP of Global Alliances and Business Development. He implored me to attend Tuesday morning’s keynote address. “Do not miss it. It will be momentous.”
I didn’t. It was.
They call it Nutanix XCP: Xtreme Computing Platform, and it’s the bedrock of what Nutanix refers to as invisible infrastructure: Make complex simple. Make simple invisible. Invisible Cloud, Invisible Virtualization, Invisible Storage. The requirement for invisible infrastructure is predicated on the fact that we as an industry have strayed.
The business doesn’t care where its workload is running, what hypervisor it is running on, how it is sized, the specs of its OS, where its libraries or binaries live, the members of its subnet, or the SAN RAID configuration. The business doesn’t care. The business cares that the application works when it needs to work, as it was designed to work, and that it works quickly. Over time, we’ve allowed the complexity of business to guide us into developing ever more complex infrastructure and management solutions. Of course, they’re never marketed as complex. They’re marketed as simple. But simple is seldom the case. As business needs have placed greater and greater demands on IT, we’ve responded by engineering technologies that deepen the rift between the language of the business and the language of engineers.
The result is a world of organizations in which IT professionals must not only master their craft, but also that of continuous translation between the needs of the business and the IT strategies that will meet those needs. What if, however, the infrastructure took care of itself? Managed itself? Healed itself? What if humans could be purposed to that which only humans (as opposed to machines) are capable of: strategy, creativity, and free thinking?
Since inception, VMTurbo has existed to bridge this gap using software to control IT environments in healthy, performance-maximizing states in lieu of scripting, trending, troubleshooting, and human intervention. The dawn of Nutanix XCP is an architecture that brings the promise of invisible architecture to full fruition.
XCP is comprised of two primary elements. The first, called Prism, is the Nutanix management layer. The second, called Acropolis, is the Nutanix Fabric: application mobility and distributed storage. Oh yeah, Acropolis is also the name of the KVM distribution that Nutanix now offers out-of-box. So you can run ESXi, Hyper-V, or Acropolis (AHV); in practice, it doesn’t matter, because everything is abstracted and managed directly through Prism.
Which begs the question: if it doesn’t matter, why would I run a proprietary hypervisor in the first place, and how can I convert my VM images to Acropolis?
This question, I believe, is what Mr. Pai referred to when he foretold, “It will be momentous.” Single-click VM conversion from ESXi to Acropolis or Hyper-V. They did it. I witnessed it. Invisible infrastructure made real.
Virtualization, made mainstream by VMware in the late nineties, was unequivocally the single greatest invention in the modern datacenter. It revolutionized the potential of Information Technology, and provided an entirely new framework for conceiving of and architecting data center environments.
Half a decade later however, we saw the likes of Amazon Web Services and others make cloud resources as readily available and consumable as on-premises investments – leading to the quandary of doubling-down privately or adopting publicly.
It is not a new sentiment for organizations and enterprises to strive for web-scale, but only recently has the requisite collection of technologies been so available. By web-scale I refer not only to the sheer scope and volume of workloads hosted by the likes of Google or Amazon. I also mean economies of scale, which is to say, the ability to enhance both business benefits and IT performance as data center complexities grow: decreasing marginal cost, decreasing staff to server ratios; and eliminating procurement inefficiencies all while increasing application response times, increasing VM, container, and storage densities, and accelerating application development lifecycles.
VMTurbo is ecstatic to partner with Nutanix as a pair of solutions who truly make web-scale accessible to any organization – not just the massive and moneyed, but the SMB, enterprise and everything between.
Our presence at .NEXT was merely the first stage of a gamut of cooperation, integration, and joint value creation. The readily consumable APIs of Prism have made initial integration very rapid. A joint EA customer reported a 38% increase in VM density above and beyond initial Nutanix consolidation with VMTurbo. What this early evidence suggests is that VMTurbo can accelerate the already remarkable time-to-value for Nutanix customers. VMTurbo’s recently-granted Nutanix Ready Certification for vSphere is an exciting step, but still only a step in a much longer journey.
The future is coming. Soon.
Portions of this post originally appeared on Nutanix’s Partner Community