June 15, 2016

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Nutanix – A Web Scale Infrastructure at Any Scale

An IT team is always asked to do more, quicker, and at minimum costs. They require new ways to rapidly deliver IT services and business applications, while decreasing the overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is the reason IT needs a next-generation datacenter infrastructure that can deliver cloud-like economics and agility, coupled with the security and reliability of on-premises solutions (non-cloud). As a solution, ‘Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform’ brings flexible, cloud-like server, and storage infrastructure, to traditional virtualization deployments.

What is Nutanix?

Nutanix is an American enterprise virtualization and storage company which simplifies datacenter infrastructure by integrating server and storage resources into a complete package. Nutanix was founded by experienced data center architects and engineers from the big names in IT and the likes of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. Nutanix delivers a web scaled converged infrastructure for enterprise. ‘Webscale IT’ is a term used to design, build and manage data center infrastructure, where capabilities go beyond scale in terms of size, speed and agility.

How is it better than the current technologies?

The converged storage and virtualization pack from Nutanix infrastructure eliminates the limitations of traditional standalone hypervisors and makes virtualization invisible. The Hyper-converged infrastructure of Nutanix reduces power and space, and also eliminates storage complexity.

The platform handles clustering and file duplication independently. Thus, a Nutanix cluster will automatically handle node, disk, and network failures. The platform also provides I/O at the speed of local disk and uses local Solid-State Drive to accelerate access to the most frequently used data. Nutanix systems support the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors, VMware vSphere, and KVM, for Linux-based workloads that makes it versatile.

Nutanix Architecture

Fig. 1: Architecture of Nutanix Cluster

It is an assemblage combination of four individual servers and a direct-attached storage that brings shared storage right into the box, and also eliminating the need for a back-end SAN or NAS. The combination of hardware nodes plus special software makes up the Nutanix Distributed File System. Inspired by the Google File System, NDFS delivers a unified pool of storage from all nodes across the cluster. NDFS uses virtual storage controllers, one per node, which control the management of local storage of each node.

At the heart of each cluster node is the Nutanix Controller Virtual Machine. This hypervisor-specific virtual machine offers different versions tuned for vSphere, Hyper-V, or KVM, and handles all communication between server nodes and all of the services running as a part of NDFS.

How the Enterprise Will Benefit?

The company promises on its website to provide following benefits to an enterprise:

  • Limitless Scalability: Scale infrastructure predictably with no limits.
  • Minimum Cost Maintenance: Up to 90% reduction in power, cooling, and space with a 2U form factor.
  • Fastest Time-to-Value: 8x faster time to value in buying, deploying, and managing.
  • Lower Costs: 40-60% reduction in overall CapEx and OpEx. Capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX) represent two basic categories of business expenses.

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