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IBM to package Nutanix HCI software on Power Systems

Nutanix is making its hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software available on another server platform, this time with the server vendor’s full cooperation.

Nutanix and IBM today disclosed an OEM deal for IBM to sell Nutanix HCI software on Power Systems servers. The deal gives IBM an HCI system and brings Nutanix beyond the x86 platform where hyper-convergence is dominant.

Greg Smith, Nutanix senior director of technical marketing, said IBM will sell Nutanix HCI software  on IBM-branded turnkey appliances beginning sometime in 2017. This is different than Nutanix’s recent initiatives to make its HCI software available through channel partners with Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers. Neither Cisco nor HPE were willing partners, as both sell competitive products.

Dell EMC and Lenovo also sell branded systems with  Nutanix HCI software through OEM deals. Nutanix is the HCI market leader according to IDC.

IBM is the first Nutanix partner to sell its HCI software on non-X86 hardware. Power servers are RISC-based, and often host IBM’s cognitive computing workloads.

“This allows our software to run on a different class of server,” Smith said. “We have done well on x86 platforms, and this allows us to venture into a different market segment. Power systems are used for more advanced big data, machine learning and AI cognitive workloads. These are demanding applications that demand high performance.”

Unlike x86 systems running Nutanix software, the IBM HCI systems will only support the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). Nutanix started out supporting only VMware hypervisors, and most of its customers still use VMware virtualization. But Smith said AHV will be incorporated on all of the IBM Nutanix systems. Smith said AHV is designed for cloud-native applications and running microservices and containers.

“The objective is for [IBM] customers to run the Nutanix AHV hypervisor,” he said.

IBM sold off its x86 server platform to Lenovo and sees need to enter x86 HCI market, according to IBM storage general manager Ed Walsh. In an interview with TechTarget in February, Walsh said IBM’s converged infrastructure platform provides the same benefits to customers as x86-based HCI.

 

 

 

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