Everybody stay calm, Xi got this!

Jonathan Kowall

by Jonathan Kowall

Um… what?  Well, I am just getting back from Nutanix .NEXT and man there are some great things that Nutanix is going to be rolling out to Enterprise IT.  Two of the new things that are happening is the Calm.IO acquisition merging into Prism Central and the announcement of Xi Cloud Services. Then I also got to hear about the goodness that is coming from the acquisition of PernixData that Nutanix made last year.

First, let’s look at Calm. If you are someone trying to tackle how to bring the infrastructure team and the development team into more harmony then you need to check this out.  Prior to the Nutanix acquisition, Calm.IO was an open platform for orchestrating and controlling DevOps services. There are many tools out there that do "things" like this today, but Calm.IO was great in its open-ness and thus flexibility. Plus it did not require yet another agent inside the OS.  That flexibility led to immense capability.  Combined with the unique ability of Nutanix to deploy very complex things in a simple and easy to use model, and you’ve got yourself a pretty powerful tool box.  Keep this in mind, Nutanix with Calm is an awesome tool box, full of every tool you could need, but you still need raw materials to build that beach house (like cement, wood, and maybe some nails, etc..), and hopefully a diagram of what you’re trying to build.  Without that, you won’t be building any houses no matter how awesome the tool box is. But man, is it easy to stand up and start using those tools!  Think hours, not weeks to start consuming those capabilities.

Next, I really like what Nutanix is wanting to do with their new Xi Cloud Services.  Like them or not, the vBlocks and FlexPods of the world did make the three tier architecture easier for enterprises to acquire and consume resources.  That ease didn’t make the three tier architecture any simpler or less expensive.  Especially when you need disaster recovery. What did you do? You bought two vBlocks and put them in two data centers or one in a co-lo.  So, what if you didn’t have to go through all that just to replicate some VMs.  Well, this is where Xi comes in from Nutanix.  With Xi, you can consume DR as a Service (DRaaS) that can be spun up right through the same interface you use to manage your VMs and data protection.  Xi will be a publicly available cloud service where you will be able to replicate and run VMs.  The amazing thing about Xi is how easy it is to start the replication.  Just like replicating your photos on your iPhone to iCloud, you can replicate VMs from your Nutanix cluster to a publicly available service.

Lastly, a little less than a year ago Nutanix acquired an awesome company when they picked up PernixData.  Pernix had built a really great software product that would boost the performance of your VMs by leveraging DRAM or local SSD as a cache for the VM IO.  The really killer part was they could make DRAM persistent.  So, this made it a true write and read cache for any VM workloads.  Nutanix and Pernix shared a vision that a VM would perform better if the data was kept closer to the compute.  An interesting way to look at this is to think about how we measure performance in the enterprise.  CPUs are measured in nanoseconds, CPU retrieving data from DRAM is measured in microseconds, and CPUs retrieving data from storage media has typically been measured in milliseconds. But think for a moment what the distance is of those three measurements.  In a nanosecond an electron will travel 11.8 inches, in a microsecond 984 feet, and in a millisecond 186 miles. So the faster a CPU can retrieve the data it needs, the less distance the light is traveling or the less distance a electron has to travel, the better the VM is going to perform.  So CPUs are the fastest, DRAM is fast, and SSD inside the server is going to be faster than SSD across a network.  The better Nutanix gets at consuming local DRAM and SSD, the better they can scale their performance.  The integration of Pernix and Nutanix is moving forward at a great pace, and in sticking with Nutanix’s model of keeping things simple, the integration of Pernix is happening with no disruption to the VM or the administrator.

These are just a few of the awesome experiences I had at Nutanix .NEXT this week!  If you’d like to hear more about these or anything else that happened at the conference, feel free to reach out.