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Hybrid multi-cloud computing platform company Nutanix used the European leg of its annual .NEXT user conference to detail the release of new Nutanix AHV deployment functions and extensions. Originally known as Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor, the company now uses the AHV brand name to label its bare metal (a physical computer used by a single tenant) hypervisor (a software management system that enables users to run multiple virtual machines with their own operating system) that is designed for hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) deployments and enterprise cloud environments. Not a green computing strategy per se, the current extensions to Nutanix AHV are designed to help software engineers drive infrastructure modernisation projects by reusing existing server hardware investments. The drive from Nutanix here with the new capabilities in the Nutanix AHV hypervisor are also designed to strengthen resilience and add flexibility to deployment environments to meet different workload and cost management needs. 

Going deeper into the product technicalities, Nutanix announced new AHV server capabilities intended help streamline customer migrations to Nutanix from their incumbent legacy hypervisors.

Favourite hypervisors?

Nutanix didn’t provide a usual suspects list of most likely incumbent legacy hypervisors, but we can reasonably suggest that the list would include: VMware vSphere ESXi (no prizes for guessing why), Linux KVM, Citrix XenServer, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VirtualBox and perhaps Xvisor, OpenVZ and SmartOS. 

The company is now working jointly with Cisco to certify Cisco UCS blade servers as part of the partnership between the two firms. This new functionality is said to help enable enterprises to repurpose existing deployed servers (including blade servers) to run the Nutanix AHV hypervisor. The Nutanix team say that this will build on ‘flexible scaling’ of the Nutanix architecture with compute-only nodes connected to HCI or storage-only nodes. Nutanix will also expand the ability to run AHV on existing and new server configurations working with OEM partners over time. 

Server configuration liberation situation 

That last server configuration liberation situation comes about as part of the Nutanix Elevate Programme. This is ‘hey, come and work with us’ initiative is one of the company’s outreach departments that hopes to create what the company calls a ‘channel-first partnership’ that prioritises incentives and consistent profitability throughout every stage of the customer journey – or in other words, work with us, we’re good in the channel and we’re cool about helping you develop a multi-vendor strategy with Nutanix.

“As customers race to modernize their infrastructure for their most demanding applications, we are collaborating with Nutanix to enable AHV to run on more server form factors than ever before, starting with the Cisco blade and rack server portfolio including the Cisco UCS X-Series,” said Jeremy Foster, SVP/GM, Cisco Compute. “This will provide joint Cisco and Nutanix customers more choice as they look to modernize their datacenters.”

Cisco’s Foster talks about work being carried out to modernise datacentres. Without creating a to-do attempting to express what this means, he is most likely referring to activities related to the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, work directed towards heat reuse, renewable energy and grid modernisation. We could add activities focused on Environmental, Social & Governance factors, the development of 5G technologies as well as direct efforts to engineer towards edge deployments across the Internet of Things (IoT).

Following the flow of this story further, Nutanix supports repurposing many of the most popular vSAN ReadyNode configurations to help customers simplify migration to the Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure solution with the AHV hypervisor by enabling reuse of existing hardware. The ability to re-use existing server hardware, as well as the expansion of compute-only hardware options, can help lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for customers looking to modernise their infrastructure.

“We are excited to work with our partners to expand the reach of Nutanix AHV to compute-only servers beyond traditional hyperconverged servers, further accelerating its adoption by enterprise customers to simplify operations and increase cyber-resilience,” said Thomas Cornely, SVP of Product Management at Nutanix. “This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of the launch of Nutanix AHV hypervisor with a continued focus on innovation to deliver the best enterprise virtualisation and containerisation platform.”

Digital resilience 

Nutanix also announced new capabilities to help protect AHV workloads and the data they car from cyber attacks, while also delivering maximum uptime for mission-critical applications in multi-site deployments. 

“Specifically, Nutanix has enhanced its Secure Snapshot capability to strengthen the platform’s cyber-resilience with a new multi-party approval control for privileged operations such as snapshot changes to protect against malicious actors and ransomware,” noted Cornely and team, while speaking at the Nutanix .NEXT user conference this month in Barcelona. “Additionally, Nutanix AHV will enhance its Metro solution with support for multi-site disaster recovery (DR) to help customers more quickly recover from two simultaneous site failures.”

This new functionality is proposed as a function that may be helpful for customers who are subject to the Digital Operations Resilience Act (DORA) which will go into effect for financial services organisations in the European Union in 2025. 

Additionally, Cornely says that Automatic Cluster Selection in AHV makes it easier for customers to deliver a cloud-like, self-service experience to their users across large Nutanix environments. This new feature places newly created Virtual Machines (VMs) across a set of clusters, balancing resource utilisation without administrator involvement, simplifying self-service application provisioning. 

Right time, right place?

Speaking to press and analysts at Nutanix .NEXT this year, company president and CEO Rajiv Ramaswami had a certain air of confidence that he has perhaps not allowed to show quite so openly before. With IDC analysts saying that ‘enterprise virtualisation is back in the spotlight’ right now (we’re not quite sure when it really wasn’t, to be honest) Ramaswami has spoken openly about VMware’s customers not being in a happy place, which is at least an affirmation of how much more the phone must be wringing in the Nutanix sales department right now. But, many of those VMware (now Broadcom) contracts will take between three and five years to expire, so Nutanix clearly won’t be resting on its laurels and holding back on platform development, extension and (apologies for using a cheesy marcoms word, but it does it) new innovation.