Companies that are still running their own data centers usually aren’t ignoring the cloud; they’re just concerned that the process of making the cloud work with the hardware they’ve already purchased is trickier than it looks. Nutanix, which helps many of those companies manage that infrastructure, is adding some new services — and a new key partner — to help manage that transition.
Ahead of Nutanix’s.NEXT Conference 2017, Nutanix and Google announced that the companies will work together to help Nutanix customers migrate workloads to Google Cloud Platform, with the first results of that effort expected next year. Nutanix also plans to release three hybrid cloud services designed for customers of its data center management products that improve the flexibility of customers that aren’t giving up their data centers but want to embrace the public cloud where it makes sense.
Nutanix’s area of enterprise computing is called “hyperconverged infrastructure,” which we’ll add to the list of marketing-driven names for complex computing concepts. Companies like Nutanix sell appliances with software that helps companies make their data centers more efficient by integrating compute, networking, and storage resources into a simple and flexible interface, giving them a few of the bells and whistles that public cloud customers enjoy without having to give up their hardware.
Data center owners that wanted to run Nutanix’s software used to have to buy one of the company’s appliances or purchase hardware from partners with the software pre-installed. Now they’ll be able to acquire the software directly from Nutanix, said Sunil Potti, senior vice president of engineering at Nutanix.
“We are taking a more software-centric view of the world,” he said.
Nutanix has grown a lot over the past few years as cloud holdouts sought to modernize their infrastructure, and it became a public company last year. While hybrid cloud approaches are definitely here to stay, it’s still a little unclear how products and services like Nutanix’s will fare as more and more workloads shift into public clouds.
Potti argued that the public cloud is great for application workloads that see unpredictable spikes in demand or that only have to run maybe once a month, but for workloads that run more consistently at a steady pace, traditional data center setups actually do a pretty good job. That’s debatable, of course; there are an awful lot of companies happily running consistent workloads on cloud services, but there is also something to the notion that managing your own hardware can be cost-effective if you understand the needs of your workloads.
That’s why Google’s decision to strike a partnership with Nutanix is significant. It gives Nutanix customers additional assurances that they’ll have help migrating apps best suited for the cloud, or making sure new apps started on the cloud work well with the rest of their infrastructure. And it gives Google, often criticized for lacking the sales touch needed with enterprise clients, a view into the needs of companies that have resisted the temptation of the cloud.
Nutanix plans to announce two other services Wednesday during its event in Washington, D.C. Nutanix Xi Cloud Services will allow customers to set up a cloud-based version of their Nutanix infrastructure for disaster recovery, and Nutanix Calm will give them a better sense of the best home for their application across a multicloud or hybrid cloud environment.