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Nutanix will support Amazon cloud from hyper-converged infrastructure

Nutanix previews Cloud Connect that allows customers to use AWS as a native backup target, moving backup and archives off its hyper-converged clusters.

Nutanix will incorporate cloud storage into its hyper-converged infrastructure with the next release of its operating system.

Nutanix this week introduced Cloud Connect for hybrid cloud storage on Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (S3) and pledged to add support for other cloud providers within the next 18 months.

The San Jose, Calif.-based startup also added the NX-8150, the new high-end appliance line of its Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform systems. The NX-8150 will be generally available in September.

Nutanix is considered the leader in the emerging hyper-converged storage market. Like its rivals SimpliVity Inc., Scale Computing, Maxta Software, Nimboxx Inc., and VMware Virtual SAN, Nutanix puts storage, network, compute and hypervisor resources in one box. Nutanix said it generated more than $50 million in revenue for the quarter that ended in July, and scored an OEM deal with Dell that is scheduled to kick off in October.

Cloud Connect expands backup options for Nutanix clusters

Cloud Connect is expected to be available in October as part of the Nutanix Operating System 4.1, said Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing for Nutanix. It marks the first step in Nutanix's plan to support the cloud as an adjunct to company-owned clusters.

Cloud Connect allows customers to use the cloud for backup and archiving. Cloud Connect is exposed through the Nutanix Prism user interface and gives storage administrators the option of selecting Amazon Web Services S3 as a native backup target. Previous versions of Nutanix only support backup and replication within Nutanix clusters.

Cloud Connect is designed to handle backups in the same manner as on-premises storage with Nutanix boxes. The Nutanix Distributed File System is used to specify which virtual machines (VMs) or data stores get backed up to a protected cloud running an instance of AWS.

Customers do not need to write application programming interfaces for AWS or download plug-ins. They handle provisioning and management through Prism. Administrators enter their AWS credentials and point VMs to an AWS container.

Cloud Connect also takes advantage of Nutanix's deduplication to help reduce bandwidth consumption. It will ship a fingerprint of the original data and delta blocks to the cloud for backup on a per-VM basis. 

Smith said Cloud Connect enables enterprise users to decouple storage from computing in a hyper-converged infrastructure.

 "It extends the storage fabric to handle data growth without having to add compute power. We think this is very significant for Nutanix," Smith said.

Arun Taneja, president of Taneja Group consulting firm, said Cloud Connect is Nutanix's response to SimpliVity's adding support for AWS S3 to its OmniCube hyper-converged infrastructure a year ago. He said both vendors planned from the start to make the cloud a tier in their hyper-converged systems.

"Both Nutanix and SimpliVity told me many moons ago that they viewed the cloud as a separate tier or architecture for storage. They know that some portion of data is going to stay in the cloud, because customers will insist on it," Taneja said.

Cloud Connect support will be available as a standard feature within V4.1 and higher editions of the Nutanix operating system. Smith said Nutanix plans to add support for Microsoft Azure cloud storage and other cloud service providers over the next six to 18 months.

NX-8150 holds 6.4 TB of flash in hybrid set-up

Nutanix this week also revealed the NX-8150 appliance as the new high-end option for its hyper-convergence boxes. The box holds one node in a 2U form factor, has 16 slots for hard disk drives and four slots for solid-state drives (SSD). The SSD slots can be populated with drives each in 400 GB, 800 GB and 1.6 TB capacities, providing up to 6.4 TB of flash storage. Nutanix will allow customers to preconfigure memory, networking and storage capacity when ordering, including choosing between 20-core and 24-core Ivy Bridge processors by Intel Corp.

The NX-8150 list price starts at $90,000 before upgrades and customization. 

Next Steps

Nutanix adds storage appliance for cloud, VDI

Firm overcomes VDI performance problems with Complete Cluster

Dig Deeper on Hybrid cloud storage

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What do you think of the cloud-as-a-tier approach in converged systems?
Smart move. Gives customers lower-cost backup options, especially with new S3-IA offering. Plus it keeps Nutanix competitors from getting revenues from disk-to-disk backup.