Today kicks off the first day of Nutanix’s first conference. It’s a day that’s been anticipated for a while and I really wish I could have been present. The .Next conference is certainly going to be the hottest hyperconverged infrastructure event of 2015. There is a ton of details and announcement coming out of .Next today and I’m going to try and break them down for you here. Over the next couple of weeks, there will be deeper level conversations on many of these topics and may lead to further blog posts.
To find out more about Nutanix read my detailed Nutanix product review at Data Center Zombie and Hyperconverged comparison article.
From One product to Two
Historically Nutanix has sold only a single product called the Virtual Computing Platform. I never heard many people referred to it by the product name, since there once only a single product it was always just referred to as Nutanix. Today Nutanix is announcing that they are splitting the platform into two separate products that fall under the new Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP) badge.
In the past, Prism was just part of the entire Nutanix solution. It’s been the primary point of management for several versions now. Today Nutanix has announced that Prism is becoming its own product and will be available in this form sometime in Q4 of 2015. As pat of this additional functionality is being added that I will cover later in this post. Nutanix Acropolis is the second product under this new approach. Acropolis will contain all of the storage functionality and data services commonly contained within the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS). There are also many new features being released and announced as part of Acropolis that I will cover soon.
While many in the industry are going to laser focus on the KVM based Acropolis hypervisor option, Acropolis as a product is far more than that. The image below shows how Nutanix things of features within Acropolis as being contained in two major buckets. The App mobility fabric which seems to focus on availability, automation and integration with the greater stack. The Distributed Storage Fabric portion is about data protection, storage services, and hypervisors.
The following image touches on how the App Mobility Fabric features provide the mobility, automation, availability and integration mentioned above. These are by default not tied to a hypervisor platform, but may have different release dates for the different hypervisors. In Q4 this feature is going to expand to offer VM migration between hypervisors, that would allow powered off VMs to be moved between vendors all while staying on the Nutanix storage solution. This opens up a lot of opportunities for using the different hypervisor platforms between environments or projects within the same organization with ease.
If you follow the blogs and Tech rags you have probably seen the rumor that Nutanix was creating their own hypervisor to compete with VMware vSphere. Well that was a rumor, but based on how some of these updates are messaged I can begin to see how people jumped to conclusions. Nutanix still supports vSphere, Hyper-V and KVM like they have for some time now. What they are doing is working on improving the availability and operational management story around the KVM hypervisor. This new approach along with the other hypervisors is what Acropolis is bringing to market.
Many of the features that now fall under Acropolis have been available in the Nutanix platform for some time. The image below explains what’s available today and the following images touch on what some of the new features are.
In release 4.1.3 Nutanix will bring an Image Service to the KVM based hypervisor offering.
The new KVM High Availability (HA) feature is still only Tech Preview, but has to be one of the most exciting features. This will bring a similar experience to KVM as VMware customers have been enjoying for years with vSphere HA. No longer will VMs require intervention to auto restart of remaining nodes in a cluster upon a host failure.
We can see from the image below that Prism is focused on providing and improving the one-click management features that are already there. Also one-click operation insight that is focused on increasing the visibility of what is happening within your environment and lastly expanding Prism to perform one-click troubleshooting.
The upcoming version of Prism later in 2015 is going to take the features we know and love today to the next level along with adding a bunch of new ones. The slideshow below gives a little sneak peak on what we can expect. The VM Management offering is being expanded, there is going to be a L2 network configuration option to assist with cluster deployments. The storage management capabilities are being improved. And lastly the cluster management, one-click type upgrades that we like today will continue to be a theme for other topics.
Operational Insight Features
This operation insight area of Prism is going to be a big section of improvement and new features over the existing versions. We can to see a Service Impact Analysis, that will help correlate alerts to application impact. The upcoming Root Cause analysis will help isolate issues and lean on knowledge from the Nutanix global community. And a remediation advisor will give targeted recommendations for how to optimize the solution.
I’m excited to announce and see that capacity planning is going to be coming to the Prism product in Q4. I think that this is an important addition for Nutanix and it looks like they took their time to release a great product the first time around. There will be a capacity trends behavior set of features to report on what is going on in your environment and provide time estimates. Also an optimization advisor will be there to help you find space that might be able to be reclaimed, such as unused VMs, snapshots and other items. And last up a What-if analysis will estimate what resources may be needed for different scenarios. The cool option is this features will have the ability at some point to send data into the Nutanix sizing calculator to allow for a better sizing and scaling exercise.
A new search feature called Prism Instant Search will be coming also. The image below shows what some of the things you can do with the search feature. Think of it as a Google like search experience that allows Nutanix admins to find and accomplish tasks faster. I’m looking forward to seeing
Last up is the ability to create customizable dashboards in Prism. I’ve had a few customers looking for this ability and they will be happy that it’s coming later this year. The image below looks like a great example that show specific workloads and other alerts for a focused view that a specific role would be interested in. I think that I also heard that real-time stats would be available from Prism, today there is a slight time delay or a page refresh to get the updates.
As you can see there is a lot of new and updated news from Nutanix .Next. I think that most everything was covered, but I may have missed a few things which I will try and update as I hear of any.