Nutanix was born in 2009 as a storage company, but always had a broader view of the computing world. As company president Sudeesh Nair told me, they started with storage because they believed legacy storage was holding back data center transformation. Today the company made another step beyond that initial vision, introducing two new products that they see as part of a larger hybrid cloud operating system.
For starters, the company introduced Xi Cloud services. As the first service, they are rolling out a disaster recovery product, but it’s not like your typical DR product, Nair says. Instead of simply duplicating your file structure in another place, it duplicates everything from your files to your licenses to the appropriate IP addresses. That means if disaster strikes you can practically flip a switch and be up and running again, and Nutanix will provide the compute power you need for as long as you need it.
When you look back at some of the archetypal disasters, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a doozy. It put data centers in New York and New Jersey under water. If they had Xi DR, the companies could have simply turned on the service and been up and running in a few minutes, according to Nair.
Ultimately this is a cloud service, so how is it different from Amazon? “What we are doing is introducing Xi as a Nutanix stack that customers can rent. That sounds like a public cloud, but we are not trying to out-Amazon Amazon. We know we can’t do that. We are trying to deliver services that are truly invisible on infrastructure you own or rent,” Nair explained.
The second piece the company is introducing today is called Nutanix Calm, which is based on a company they acquired last year, Calm.io. The idea of this service is to make your cloud resources predictable based on typical usage patterns. It can provide some semblance of control by providing a management layer missing from public cloud tools today, Nair explained.
Each of these tools is part of a broader set of functions that the company chooses to call an operating system for hybrid architecture. “Because we own the entire stack, I think we have a unique advantage of managing [all of this] in a much more elegant way,” he said.
He recognizes the power of the public cloud and he realizes there is no winning a war with them, so he’s taking a different angle. “If the experience on-prem is significantly worse [than in the public cloud], there is no question we will keep moving there. The real question is, if you can run a similar experience on infrastructure you own or rent, can we make it a better experience?,” Nair asked.
And Nutanix believes that companies will continue to run a hybrid environment with some resources in the public cloud and some on-prem, and if that is correct (and it likely is for the foreseeable future), they want to provide a way to do that as efficiently as possible.
If the company can truly hide the incredible complexity inherent in managing a hybrid cloud architecture, they could be onto something. And the products it introduced today could be the start of something much bigger.