NPX certification reflects Nutanix’s status as the Switzerland of the Datacenter

switzerland

 

Nutanix announced today the availability of Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX) certification. This certification program is the most rigorous in the industry, requiring extensive architectural capabilities validated through written exams, an extensive web-scale solution design, hands-on lab and design exercises, and a live peer review. And, an NPX needs to be an expert in not just one, but in (at least) two hypervisor platforms.

The Importance of Multi-Hypervisor Expertise

Nutanix is the Switzerland of the datacenter – we are hypervisor agnostic. Our customers can run any of the major hypervisors, or even all three together in the same environment. In the not-too-distant future, they’ll be able to move workloads back and forth between hypervisors. This is why Nutanix has experts throughout the company not only in VMware, but also in both Hyper-V and in KVM.

The hypervisor is the new sheet metal of the datacenter. While VMware dominates the virtualization landscape today, Hyper-V and KVM continue to make big strides. Customers increasingly demand multiple hypervisors for use cases such as big data, OpenStack and test/dev. This trend will accelerate as hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) becomes more widely adopted as the primary vehicle for hosting virtual machines.

Channel partners will play a major role in helping their customers transition from three-tier infrastructures to HCI. They need to be able to help them determine what hypervisors are the most appropriate for different applications or use cases, and then design and deploy a successful multi-hypervisor environment. The NPX certification signifies the very best multi-hypervisor architects in the world.

Beyond the Hypervisor

NPX requires more than multi-hypervisor expertise. There is an intense focus on skills required to migrate businesses from 3-tier to HCI as well as the ability to incorporate new technologies and operational model,s such as containers and DevOps, into Nutanix solutions. This is a very specialized set of skills, and the NPX program is first to market with a methodology that includes them in an enterprise architect certification.

The NPX Certification

The NPX program was developed by a team of fourteen Nutanix experts with many decades of solution design and delivery expertise between them. The goal of the program is to produce and certify the best Enterprise Architects in the world, so the bar is set very, very high in terms of skills required to achieve the credential. And that’s as it should be. The point of NPX is to serve the customer by ensuring a consistently excellent, customer-focused solution design and delivery. The NPX will enter the room at the X-level with the weight of the entire NPX community behind her. Holding NPX gives architects the privilege to address decision-makers directly and to be listened to as a peer.

Next Steps

The good news is that although NPX certification is a Herculean task, candidates will hardly be on their own. The program provides mentoring from some of the world’s best enterprise architects and a series of preparatory workshops to assist candidates on the journey to the pinnacle of IT certification.

And, for another industry first, and a big one, all of this is free for qualified candidates!

All you need to do to get started is register your interest via the nu.school NPX Program Homepage. Registering will allow you to download the NPX Design Review Preparation Guide and NPX Program Application. Once you’ve registered and reviewed the program requirements you can join the NPX community and start developing your certification plan. You can also contact Mark Brunstad, the NPX Program Manager, directly via npx@nutanix.com.

 

 

 

Nutanix support wins world class award – again. Here’s what it means for partners.

Last year, Nutanix was one of only 35 companies recognized by Omega Management Group for “Delivering World Class Customer Service”. We did it again this year while increasing our Net Promoter Score (NPS) from a sky high +73 to an even more remarkable +88. This is all very good news for our partners for three primary reasons:

1. Validating Partner Evangelists

The most successful Nutanix partners are iconoclasts – they are not afraid to challenge the prevailing belief in the separation between compute and storage. They put their own reputations on the line by strongly encouraging their clients to consider Nutanix Web-scale as a superior architecture for hosting a virtualized datacenter.

The Omega and NPS scores provide these partners with additional ammunition in the fight against the status quo. They help validate that Nutanix not only has great technology, but also that our emphasis on customer service ensures their implementations will be successful.

Omega

2. Increased Partner Business

Nutanix’s product, like any software in the industry, is not perfect. But there is a saying, “Hardware eventually fails, software eventually works, and the people make all the difference.” Nutanix treats support as a competitive differentiator rather than as a cost center. If a customer has an issue, the Nutanix support team will quickly get to the bottom of it – and won’t rest until it is resolved.

Embracing world-class support as part of the company’s core competency helps create repeat buyers. As customers see how well the technology works and how simple it is to manage, they expand their initial use case, and then purchase still more nodes and services for other initiatives. Nutanix becomes almost a type of annuity business for our partners.

3. Indication of Nutanix Success

A concern that Nutanix partners sometimes encounter, often played up by legacy competition, focuses around the relative young age of Nutanix as a company. Customers want to know what will happen if Nutanix gets acquired.

Partners can provide many responses to combat this concern including Nutanix’s phenomenal growth, its HCI industry domination, our OEM deal with Dell, and the prevalent public speculation about an upcoming IPO.

Nutanix’s extraordinary NPS is yet another argument for continued accomplishment. Ever since its introduction in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, Net Promoter Score continues to be advocated by many as the most important indicator of business success.

The NPS and Omega Award go hand-in-hand with the raving fans that Nutanix and its partners are engendering around the globe. In the month of January, for example, Nutanix featured a new customer success story every business day. It is typically not easy to convince organizations to be featured in a success story, but they tend to be very happy to share their experiences with Nutanix.

When legacy competitors try to fling the FUD about Nutanix’s young age, I encourage partners to counter by asking these firms to provide their own Net Promoter Scores. Assuming they’re even willing to share them, the contrast should be quite enlightening.

 “Nutanix support is absolutely fantastic. They’re super responsive, they’re all smart, and they aren’t afraid to go ask someone else for help. On top of that, they treat you like the engineer you are. You worked hard to get to where you are, to know what you know. When you call HP or Dell support, they start by saying things like “Did you reboot?”. Even if you say Yes, they still will force you to do the tier 1 troubleshooting first.

With Nutanix support, they take information you’ve provided and infer what troubleshooting has been done. If you tell them you’ve rebooted something, they won’t force you to do it again, because they trust you. They’ll then pursue to look for other solutions. They’ll more than likely know off the top of their head the exact solution, then pull up impeccable documentation on how to fix it.

They have a very knowledgeable staff, all of whom are willing to help each other. When having a drink with our SE the other night, we were talking about this very thing. He never feels that he is out in the dark on his own. He can throw a question about Citrix in their Yammer rooms and within a short period of time, have another engineer who is a Citrix specialist on a call, ready to assist. That’s an amazing amount of internal support, they don’t fight between regions, they don’t assume that you know everything, they help each other.”

– Unsolicited January 2015 blog post from an early Nutanix customer.

 

It Takes an Eco-System

NPS reflects not just the support organization, but the interactions customers have with every aspect of the Nutanix organization as well as with our partners. A reputation for world class support is dependent not only upon the quality of the product, but also upon its successful implementation. Nutanix’s innovative education organization and Authorized Consulting Partner Program enable partners to architect and deploy very successful Web-scale environments.

Nutanix and our partners have a mutual objective of continually raising the bar in respect to customer satisfaction and the repeat business that results. The NPS and Omega Award show that we’re hitting the mark. And as Nutanix Senior Director of Global Support, Deepak Chawla, said, “We will keep our laser focus on the customer and aim for ‘three-peat’ of awards next year.”

Thanks to both Deepak Chawla (@dchawla2005) and Lukas Lundell (@LucasLundell), Director Solutions and Performance Engineering of Nutanix, for contributions to this article.

Citrix’s Sanbolic acquisition: The s**t has hit the SAN

Citrix announced its acquisition of Sanbolic at its partner conference last week, giving it a hyper-converged solution to compete with VMware’s VSAN. But reading between the lines, the acquisition, along with VSAN, further validates that the SAN is dead for End User Computing (EUC).

The Hyper-converged Bandwagon

Citrix and VMware, of course, dominate the EUC market. Both organizations have been partnering with Nutanix for some time. They are enthusiastic about the ability of hyper-converged infrastructure to dramatically accelerate VDI by slashing the cost, complexity, risk and performance inconsistency of a virtual desktop deployment. With the advantages of hyper-converged infrastructure, 2015 may well finally be the year of VDI.

IDC HCI chart

A first-ever market share report for hyperconverged solutions from IDC ranks the contenders as of August 2014 based on execution, strategy, and market share. The size of a vendor’s bubble reflects that vendor’s market share. Nutanix is firmly in the leader position with 52% of the entire market. IDC’s next report will presumably include Citrix along with other datacenter incumbents and yet more start-ups.

What about Sanbolic vs. Nutanix?

Not unexpectedly, several partners at Citrix Summit asked me how the Sanbolic acquisition is going to affect Citrix’ relationship with Nutanix. I do not anticipate any disruption to the momentum between our companies for the following four reasons:

  1. Sanbolic Technology Still Needs to be Improved and Integrated. Sanbolic is a 14 year old company with approximately 30 employees. Sanbolic has been partnering with Citrix since at least 2010. The Nutanix and Citrix relationship is much more recent, but is rapidly building great traction including the only hyper-converged CVS (Citrix Validated Solution). Nutanix already enables the software-defined simplicity, elegance and automation that Citrix CEO, Mark Templeton, spoke about in his keynote.
  1. VSAN Parallel. A similar situation has been taking place with VMware VSAN. Even though Nutanix competes with VMware in the hyper-converged space, we still have a strong partnership – particularly with VMware EUC. This bodes well for continued momentum with Citrix.
  1. Citrix-Specific Innovation. Nutanix continues to innovate to add further value to Citrix customers. At Summit, we formally announced the Nutanix Plugin for Citrix XenDesktop. This patented capability enables the desktop folks to handle the infrastructure tasks. The Plugin for XenDesktop provides full SLA management direct from the XenDesktop Studio Console. No one else does this.
  1. Citrix Partners. Nutanix continues to work closely with leading Citrix partners across the globe. At Summit, the most commonly expressed Citrix partner description of Nutanix was that it is a “game-changer.” As Jim Steinlage of Choice Solutions remarked, “[Nutanix] allows us to have the applications up and running much more timely and with more predictable results. And Nutanix enables us to achieve our goal of providing users with a better experience than their physical desktop from day one.”

The Rapidly Growing Competitive Landscape

Beyond the contenders featured in the IDC hyper-converged report, five of the seven leading datacenter hardware manufacturers now all have launched or announced hyper-converged solutions (not even including EVO:Rail solutions): Dell, HP, EMC, Cisco and NetApp. This is expected. Nutanix is not going to turn the $73B server & storage market on its head without lots of competition.

As the competition starts to mature and improve, the onus will be on Nutanix to continue innovating and raising the bar in areas such as performance, simplicity and scalability as well as in capabilities such as hybrid cloud enablement and management. This is the only way we will maintain our leadership position. I believe Nutanix is up to the challenge.

 

Channel partners rally behind Nutanix Web-scale converged infrastructure

“Really?!”

That was the one word email I received from Nutanix’s Sr. VP of Sales (and my boss), Sudheesh Nair, in response to the Q4 2013 Piper Jaffray Storage VAR Survey. The surveyed partners ranked Nutanix second to last in terms of sales performance relevant to plan.

Needless to say, I was frustrated. The channel perception of Nutanix was out of synch with Nutanix’s record-setting sales in 2013 as the fastest-growing infrastructure company of at least the past ten years.

But understanding and successfully positioning Nutanix has been a learning process for the channel. When Nutanix CEO, Dheeraj Pandey, first approached Lightspeed Venture Partners almost five years ago, he made it clear that his new company would disrupt the storage industry – including the venture capitalists’ existing investments. Unlike most entrants into the suddenly popular hyper-converged space, this revolutionary vision is integral to everything we do at Nutanix.

Partners can’t simply pitch a “faster, cheaper, better” storage array as they can with the other early stage companies in the survey. Partners need to be able to articulate and evangelize to their clients how Web-scale is a sea change that is fundamentally altering the infrastructure of the modern, virtualized datacenter.

The Difference a Year Makes

2014 continued the trajectory of rocketing sales and, gratifyingly, a much broader spectrum of channel partners caught the Web-scale fever as well. From small partners building their businesses around Nutanix to multi-billion dollar channel organizations moving Fortune 500 clients over to Web-scale, Nutanix is changing the channel landscape.

According to the latest Piper Jaffray report, channel partners now rank Nutanix sales performance in the #1 position – ahead of CommVault, Dell Storage, EMC, HP Storage, NetApp, Nimble, Pure Storage, Veeam and VMware.

Piper Jaffray

 

The Stern Agee Channel Survey similarly shows a huge improvement in channel recognition of Nutanix. Channel partners listed Nutanix as the second leading key company disrupting the established storage sector – right behind Pure Storage (but quickly catching up). Nutanix is ranked ahead of Nimble (and rapidly increasing the spread), and is ranked far ahead of Tintri, Violin Memory, Nimbus Data, Nexenta, Solidfire and everyone else.

sterne Agee

 

Looking Forward to 2015

It’s exciting to see Nutanix partners across the world enthusiastically embrace the Web-scale opportunity. They’re leveraging Nutanix to differentiate their companies, gain new customers, increase sales and shorten sales cycles.

I want to thank all of our partners for your continued faith and trust. The good news is that Nutanix is really just getting started. New capabilities such as one-click hypervisor upgrades, metro availability, connectivity to AWS and Microsoft Azure, among many others, mean extraordinary continued opportunity in the year ahead.

.

 

 

EMC implies that SANs may not be so great for hosting virtual machines after all

The inventor of the storage array, EMC, has indicated that a hardware-designed architecture is perhaps no longer the best solution for hosting a virtualized datacenter. The Register reported today that EMC will utilize ScaleIO as a VMware kernel module.

As I pointed out in the introductory post to this site less than two months ago, IDC says that $56B of annual server and storage sales go through just seven datacenter manufacturers: HP, IBM, EMC, Dell, Cisco, Oracle and NetApp. EMC’s announcement means that the majority now have a certified hyper-converged solution (not even counting EVO:Rail):

  • EMC:     ScaleIO
  • Cisco:    Maxta. Cisco also has invested in Stratoscale.
  • HP:         StoreVirtual
  • Dell:       XC Series web-scale converged appliances, powered by Nutanix software

Despite their dependency upon legacy 3-tier infrastructure for tens of billions in revenues, these datacenter giants recognize the necessity of joining the hyper-converged revolution. The threat of public cloud combined with much faster access to information is resulting in an astounding pace of its adoption.

SAN Huggers

Back in the aughts, we had to contend with the server huggers who staunchly refused to believe that their applications could run as well, let alone better, as virtual machines. But the financial and other advantages were too compelling to resist, and datacenters are now approaching an 80% virtualization rate.

Today, server huggers have been replaced by SAN huggers. These are the folks who insist that it is preferable to move flash and disk away from the compute and put them into proprietary arrays that must be accessed across the network. Never mind the issues around complexity, performance, resiliency, time-to-market and cost.

But just as virtualization provided an enormous opportunity for forward-thinking channel partners last decade, Web-scale has even more potential over the next several years. The key is introducing the concept in a way that will resonate with customers steeped in years of 3-tier infrastructure tradition.

Financial Modeling

It is natural for technologists, including channel partners, to jump into speeds and feeds and attributes and deficiencies. But I suggest taking a different tact. Help customers see a bigger picture, and consequently adopt a more strategic approach, with the aid of financial modeling.

IT leaders are realizing that to remain relevant, they need to run their internal operations with the same type of efficiency, responsiveness and accountability as the public cloud providers. This necessitates a more comprehensive process for selecting infrastructure than simply comparing up-front costs of similar solutions.

Cloud providers ruthlessly evaluate all of their on-going costs to ensure they are maximizing every square meter of datacenter space. Transitioning to ITaaS requires evaluating not only the equipment purchase price, but also expenses such as power, cooling, rack space, support, administration and associated hardware and software requirements.

One approach is to boil everything down to a lifecycle cost metric that can be easily applied to competing solutions. I describe a TCO per VM model in a recent Wikibon article. But regardless of how partners present the results, financial modeling on its own is insufficient for optimally determining an organization’s datacenter future.

Financial modeling is the hook to capture a prospect’s attention and to guarantee an audience with decision-makers. It is the key for partners to really understand their client’s pain points and objectives. They can then incorporate other vital variables such as risk, expandability, agility, reliability, resiliency, and so on within a framework that will resonate with their customers.

Going through this process positions a solutions provider to help its customers begin the datacenter migration process. It also provides the opportunity to incorporate private cloud, active/active datacenters, virtual desktops and other use cases made economically feasible by a hyper-converged infrastructure.

Disruption Made Easy

Even a compelling Web-scale evaluation can still leave a partner challenged to disrupt existing buying habits, processes and governance policies. But now that EMC has joined VMware and three of the other leading hardware manufacturers in validating hyper-converged infrastructure, it is easier for partners to initiate a conversation around datacenter strategy.

The winners in the new software-defined era will be those solutions providers who help their customers understand, select and implement the best architecture for their environments. The losers will be the VARs who continue to push legacy solutions without even bringing the Web-scale options to the table.

Cisco jumps into the hyper-converged game

Cisco changed the datacenter game with UCS – the only server designed from top to bottom for virtualization. Despite widespread skepticism that the networking giant knew nothing about servers and would fail miserably, in less than five years UCS became the number one blade seller in the Americas.

In our new compressed disruptive-cycle world, Cisco itself has now fallen far behind when it comes to optimally hosting a virtualized datacenter. The company is, however, scurrying to catch up. Within the past few weeks, it’s been revealed that Cisco both invested in hyper-converged startup, Stratoscale, and also blessed Maxta as the first, and so far only, certified hyper-converged solution to run on Cisco UCS.

How UCS Thumped the Server Leaders

I’ve been a vocal fan of UCS from the beginning. In late 2009, when “over 100 companies” were using UCS, I wrote a blog post comparing UCS vs. the HP Matrix. While competitors scoffed at UCS as a “one-size-fits-all product”, I maintained that it would revolutionize datacenter virtualization.

The dominant server manufacturers of the day were perfectly happy with the status quo. But Cisco realized that virtualization would become the datacenter standard and that a new type of server was required. Cisco initially approached IBM and HP to jointly develop a product, but both companies declined. So Cisco instead funded VMware cofounder, Ed Bugnion, and a team of engineers to spend three years building UCS.

UCS helped mitigate virtualization challenges with capabilities such as FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet), hypervisor bypass, extended memory, services profiles and a GUI that can help the server, storage and network teams collaborate more effectively.

But UCS’s Achilles heel is that it really only addresses a small part of the virtualized datacenter issues – the compute. By far the majority of the pain in the modern datacenter has to do with storage. Not surprisingly, four storage manufacturers, EMC/VCE, NetApp, Hitachi and Nimble, all incorporate UCS as an integral component of their so-called “converged infrastructure” solutions.

Channel partners across the globe, such as the one I worked for, understood that as customers increasingly virtualized their datacenters, they would want the enterprise capabilities and features that UCS offered. These partners worked with Cisco to make UCS the number two blade seller in the world.

Descending into Irrelevance

Ah, but all things must change – especially in a software-defined world. While Cisco was promoting the superiority of custom-designed ASICs, Nutanix was bringing the advantages of commodity-driven web-scale architecture to the enterprise. The impressive innovations that Cisco unveiled over five years ago are now not just obsolete, but superfluous.

  • Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE): Unlike the converged infrastructure offerings built around UCS, FCoE is an example of true convergence of the network stack – melding fibre channel and IP Ethernet networks. But today, Web-scale eliminates the requirement for SANs and switching fabrics entirely.
  • UCS Manager GUI: Lets storage and server teams collaborate more effectively together. Not so useful when separate storage administrators are no longer necessary.
  • Custom ASICs: Cisco boasts 12% increased performance from proprietary hardware. Nice but inconsequential when Moore’s Law doubles performance every 18 months anyway. Nutanix utilizes commodity hardware, but increases performance nonetheless with regular software updates that improve hardware effectiveness.
  • Services profiles and templates: These were great in the day for relatively fast provisioning of ESX hosts. Nutanix Foundation is much faster and doesn’t require zone masking or manual hypervisor installs.
  • Integrating the Cisco Nexus switch: Making the network the management center was key to Cisco gaining traction with its network administrator constituency. But Web-scale eliminates the requirement for complex, intelligent and expensive converged network switches.

The leading converged infrastructure manufacturer, VCE, proudly advertises that it only takes 45 days to order and put a Vblock into production – 5 X faster than with conventional servers and storage. In contrast, Nutanix can be ordered, received, installed and in production in around five days.

VCE ad

Upgrading VMware vSphere requires a corresponding upgrade to the entire Vblock – a process that can easily require a team of consultants several days to accomplish. And even then there are risks involved. A former Vblock customer that recently migrated to Nutanix was still running three versions back of vSphere because they didn’t want to have to deal with the associated Vblock upgrade.

Contrast all of this time, expense and risk with doing a vSphere (or Hyper-V or KVM) upgrade on Nutanix. The process is literally just a single click. No cost, no downtime and no risk.

Lesson for Nutanix

UCS and Nutanix both target the same customers – virtualized enterprise environments. I’ve heard from multiple partners that despite our relatively tiny size, Cisco has declared Nutanix to be its number one competitor. Not HP. Not VMware. Nutanix. Cisco’s announcements around Maxta and Stratoscale reflect its determination to, albeit belatedly, get into the game.

Cisco is one of the most successful and well-run companies of all time. While known for its innovations in areas such as routing, switching, VoIP and collaboration – perhaps nothing has been as impressive as Cisco’s accomplishment in the datacenter. Cisco upended all of the existing dominant server players by developing UCS to fulfill the computing requirements of the virtualized datacenter.

The lesson here for Nutanix is that if Cisco can fall into complacency, anyone can. We’ve got to keep our heads down, be humble, stay hungry and keep innovating – even if we have to eventually disrupt our own technologies.

Lesson for Channel Partners

Cisco, VMware, Nutanix, Dell and HP, in addition to the other EVO:Rail partners and lots of startups, validate that hyper-converged infrastructure/web-scale is the future of the virtualized datacenter. There’s a $50 billion + annual server and storage market out there just begging to be disrupted by those channel partners with both the vision and the desire to execute.

Thanks to @vmmike130, @langonej, @evolvingneurons and to @richardarsenian for input.

Happy birthday VMware vMotion

On this day 11 years ago in 2003, VMware introduced vMotion, and the datacenter was never the same again.

Windfall for Storage Manufacturers and for Solutions Providers

If you were involved in IT, you probably still remember the first time you saw vMotion – moving a live running virtual machine between physical hosts seemed like magic at the time. In my case, a friend’s demonstration of vMotion convinced me to start an integrator business with him focused on enterprise virtualization.

The introduction of vMotion was also the birth of the modern datacenter. It was the feature that made IT organizations really take notice of virtualization and of what it could do to improve their operations. And because vMotion required a SAN, it prompted organizations across the globe to begin purchasing shared storage arrays in massive quantities.

vMotion

VMware vMotion was, of course, a huge bonanza for the young storage manufacturers whose sales had been hit hard by the dot com bubble burst. EMC recognized a good thing when it saw it, and the next month announced its intent to purchase VMware for $625 million (VMware’s market cap today is $36 billion – so quite an astute acquisition).

VMware vMotion also turned out to be quite a boon for solutions providers – many of whom were still struggling themselves from the dot com bubble aftermath. Their services were in strong demand for helping organizations decide what arrays to buy, and how to design and implement the complex products and switching fabrics.

SAN Huggers

In the early days of virtualization, server huggers were common.  We used to joke with IT staffs about putting in a façade of servers and blinking lights so that they could make the application owners feel comfortable. And we really did used to hide the ESX tools from the Windows task bar so that the software manufacturer, when troubleshooting its product, wouldn’t see that it was running as a virtual machine.

Today, the server huggers are nearly an extinct species. Organizations are commonly virtualizing even large SQL Server, Oracle and Exchange applications. But a new group has arisen to take their place: SAN huggers.

As the name implies, SAN huggers don’t want anyone to replace their arrays with the new breed of hyper-converged or web-scale infrastructure products. They’re very comfortable with LUN snapshot management, balancing virtual machines across different physical volumes to get around LUN limitations, maintaining aggregates/meta-volumes, and the many other storage administration tasks.

The ironic thing is that storage arrays were built for a physical “scale-up” datacenter. Although they satisfied vMotion’s requirement for shared storage, they’re simply not a good fit for a highly virtualized “scale-out” datacenter . Take RAID which was invented in 1987. This is a really old technology that requires lengthy rebuild times and that can be disastrous if multiple drives fail simultaneously. The same is true if a SAN loses both of its storage controllers. Losing just one controller significantly reduces performance.

SANs take the disk and the flash away from the CPU and stick them in proprietary arrays at the end of networks where they’re subject to latency and network hops. They scale very poorly, are expensive, in many cases require separate switching fabrics, and are complex to manage.

Web-Scale Converged Infrastructure

When Google came on the scene in the late 1990s, co-founder Sergey Brin refused to buy SANs and instead hired a group of scientists to rethink datacenter infrastructure. They invented the Google File System, Map Reduce and NoSQL and put all of the intelligence into software rather than into proprietary hardware. The result was a very inexpensive infrastructure that is also highly resilient, scalable and simple to manage.

The lead Google scientist and two other Nutanix co-founders brought this same type of architecture to the enterprise datacenter by leveraging the hypervisor to virtualize the storage controllers. The result is a low-cost, self-healing, linearly scalable and very simple to manage infrastructure.

Although still very small by datacenter incumbent standards, Nutanix has already made a big impact in the industry. VMware introduced VSAN and now EVO:Rail as the recommended path to a software-defined datacenter. And hardware leaders EMC, Dell, HP and Cisco all have existing solutions, or planned entries, in the web-scale/hyper-converged infrastructure space.

While it may seem highly unlikely today, my guess is that the SAN huggers are going to have a much shorter reign than the server huggers did before them.

Today’s vMotion-like Moment

Nutanix’s management interface, Prism, is simple, elegant and comprehensive. When partners and customers see it for the first time, many report having the same type of “wow!” experience that they had the first time they saw vMotion.

Thanks to @vmmike130 for editing.