Nutanix unifies ‘fluffy’ clouds

Nutanix unifies ‘fluffy’ clouds

Modern cloud computing creates fluffiness that impacts data sources. Nutanix aims to resolve the problems involved with this.

Cloud is fluffy. Obviously, we know that real world clouds are generally ‘fluffy’ due to the process of convection at the top of their structure, when buoyant sections of air (sometimes called ‘parcels’) make their way to the top of any given cloud, which then cool as they bubble upwards to increasingly lower pressure areas in the stratosphere.

Cloud computing clouds are fluffy too, but that’s because we now make use of hybrid multi-cloud and poly-cloud instances spanning multiple datacentres, some of which are deployments featuring multi-tenant cloud instances, all spread out across multi-region network connections.

Vapour-like data diffusion 

When our cloud computing clouds are fluffy, our data sources suffer from an equally vapour-like diffusion that makes them harder to corral, connect and coalesce.

Aiming to nullify some of that fluffiness and unify cotton-like clouds into more workable solidified forms is Nutanix. The company has now announced new capabilities in the Nutanix Cloud Platform to enable cloud-centric data-developers to integrate data management of containerised and virtualised applications on-premises, on public cloud and at the edge. 

This new technology enhancement from the company includes data services for Kubernetes applications as well as cross-cloud data mobility. 

Cloud uses logical applications

According to analyst house IDC, by 2025 there will be 750 million new ‘logical’ applications in existence i.e. a term used here to explain applications that differ from the monolithic all-in-one application chunk that we used to consider in the pre-cloud era, a logical application is one that does not necessarily deploy with all its dependencies under one roof and will require the woven power of cloud-networked resources including orchestrated containers and smaller micro-components in order to work. 

Moving onwards from this important clarification, let’s again consider IDC and its somewhat-specific 750 million prediction number. This amount of apps is more than seen in the past 40 years of computing, combined. When we have this huge logical cloud compute construct running (and generating) all large amounts of data across clouds, it will be paramount for organisations to integrate the management of data for both containerised and virtualised applications as well as across multiple environments. This is what keeps Nutanix up at night, in a good way.

“As detailed in the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index analysis and report, nearly all enterprises have started using Kubernetes for their containerised applications,” said Thomas Cornely, SVP of product management at Nutanix. “Now IT teams need to find a way to both enable their developers with self-service data services, and also ensure that governance and security policies are applied uniformly.”

Cornely is confident in regard to the worth of Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes. He says that the Nutanix Cloud Platform will extend storage provisioning, snapshots (point-in-time copies of cloud instances that are copied to cloud storage resources for reasons related to back-up) and other disaster recovery operations to Kubernetes applications to help accelerate containerized application development.

Data services for Kubernetes

Is all this development and platform branding justified then? Nutanix thinks so and the company insists that the reality played out in many cloud environments today is one where developers and administrators are faced with gaps and complexity for ‘stateful’ Kubernetes applications. Again for more clarification here and as Google nicely reminds us here, “Stateful applications save data to persistent disk storage for use by the server, by clients and by other applications. An example of a stateful application is a database or key-value store to which data is saved and retrieved by other applications.” 

This Kubernetes gap patching process necessitates multiple third-party tools or complex DIY projects to solve the application and namespace layers. The big promise from Nutanix (and the true validation of this technology assuming it does what it says) is that Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes (NDK) will give customers control over cloud-native apps and data at scale. 

According to Nutanix’s Cornely, NDK – which will initially be delivered as part of Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) – will bring Nutanix’s enterprise-class storage, snapshots and disaster recovery to Kubernetes. The theory here is that this will help accelerate containerised application development for stateful workloads by introducing storage provisioning, snapshots and disaster recovery operations to Kubernetes pods and application namespaces. 

This is no replacement, add-on or sideways skewing of Kubernetes, this (says Nutanix) is a power play designed to enable NDK to empower Kubernetes developers with self-service capabilities to manage storage and data services, while also enabling IT with visibility and governance over consumption.

“Application data is often driving infrastructure decisions for many enterprises whether it’s cost, governance or locality, but it’s often a separate IT layer from the underlying infrastructure whether on public cloud or on-premises,” said Paul Nashawaty, principal analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “The Nutanix Cloud Platform delivers a universal cloud model with natively integrated data services for both containerised and virtualised applications enabling enterprises to extend their data governance policies to containerised applications as well as across clouds.”

Cross-cloud data mobility

Nutanix has brought this new service forward at the same time as introducing its Multi-Cloud Snapshot Technology capability, or MST if you want the snappy three-letter-acronym. This is designed to deliver cross-cloud data mobility and extend Nutanix hybrid multi-cloud data services by enabling snapshots directly to cloud-native object stores, starting with the AWS S3 object storage service. It is designed to unlock hybrid multi-cloud data protection, recovery and mobility use cases, such as the ability to protect and migrate stateful Kubernetes applications and data across cloud infrastructures with NDK using this technology.

MST will enable several use cases including disaster recovery and backup for both containerised and virtualised applications, the ability to create a snapshot and instantly recover it anywhere, cross-cloud data migration, the ability to share data for workflows like test/dev, long-term retention for compliance and more. This will also help many customers manage the cost of their primary infrastructure enabling them to store snapshots in a less expensive storage medium and just as easily recover them, across any infrastructure 一 private or public cloud. 

“In addition to these new capabilities, the Nutanix Object Storage solution now integrates with Snowflake to allow organizations to use Snowflake Data Cloud to analyse data directly on Nutanix Object Storage ensuring data stays local, accelerates time to value and delivers faster insights. A single namespace simplifies access to globally distributed data,” said  Cornely and team.

No more fluffiness?

Will we still encounter some cloud fluffiness leading to occasional turbulence and a few rain showers? Almost inevitably yes, but the mechanics at play here tell a story and it is one of disparate cloud resources being engineered to more harmoniously work together.

Cloud could be solidifying, but the best advice is still to carry an umbrella.