Nutanix NEXT Europe 2016, keynote noteworthies

Pre-conference networking shindigs for Nutanix .NEXT Europe 2016 this week in Vienna featured a notable change on the firm’s signage and logo emblazonments. The firm we used to know as the hyperconvergence company is now the ‘enterprise cloud computing leader’, or so we are being told. So how come the broader technology play?

Keynote presentation plenary sessions were initially delivered by Dheeraj Pandey in his capacity as founder and CEO of the firm itself.

Pandey trumps Trump

As the first event of its kind on European soil, Pandey surely gets some credit for delivering his address during the final minutes of the 2016 US election results. This was (potentially, arguably) a pretty tough audience to keep focused, Trump was confirmed as US president while Pandey was extolling the virtues of software-defined networking. He barely flinched, this is stuff that ‘really’ matters.

Making reference to NTNX, which is the firm’s stock market listings tag now that it has gone public, Pandey reminisced about the firm’s recent very rapid history.

His comments also served as a prelude to validate the broader technology play, which comes as a result of an extended Nutanix stack focused on automation intelligence for cloud administration in what the firm likes to call one-click (actually, enough intelligence to get to zero-click in some defined use cases) deployment scenarious.

“A lot can still go wrong with a company [even in as healthy a state as ours] so it is very important that we focus on a lot of issues that are larger than ‘just’ what happens in the company itself… and so we need to think about diversity and woman in technology and so much more,” said Pandey.

Continuous innovation & continuous consumption

Looking back at recent computing history, Pandey referred to disruptive platform changes that have occurred since the dawn of the personal computer revolution in the 1980s. If it was a decade ago that we say the dawn of SaaS, 10 years on we look at the way software has to be ‘always’ on in the model of continuous innovation and continuous consumption.

“We need to engineer-in one-click simplicity. We need to connect the gap between procurement and provisioning,” argued Pandey.

Cloud silos will now converge as the cloud enters its cloud 2.0 era… and we know that convergence has no finishing line. Just virtualising compute was never going to be enough… there is so much more to virtualise in terms of storage and software-defined networking.

Potti about cluster updates

Sunil Potti, chief product development officer at Nutanix shared the stage at this event’s keynote to explain that the power and breadth his firm is talking about is a cloud world where cloud cluster updates can be done during office hours, this is the degree of intelligence that we are building into these technologies (and support will be a key facilitating factor here.)

“So why not use public cloud for everything,” asked Potti. “Why not use AWS for all workloads?”

Broadly it is because firms have a variety of jobs that are elastic workloads and those that are predictable workloads. Roughly 70% predictable and 30& unpredictable  is the split in most firms.

“But although it is quick, simple and cost effective to use public cloud for all elastic workloads, it is only quick and simple for predictable workloads… this is not the most sensible place to use public clouds. It’s the old example of if you come to a city 300 days a year on business you may as well end up not renting hotel rooms, but instead buying a house,” explained Potti.

Other keynote noteworthiness

Christian Reilly, CTO at Citrix also spoke at this event and talked about InstantON VDI for Citrix. “This is a tailor made solution for VDI and we keep saying every year this is the year for VDI… when you look at the growth of datacentres the next most obvious thing to go after is the workloads … and therefore the apps themselves,” he said.

Last but not least was Tim Zonca VP of Puppet who spoke to detail how the firm’s technology can be used to define workloads and manage them (as an open source configuration management and orchestration software).

As a new fleet of VMs might be spun up to act as an app server, Puppet will help manage and automate all the dependencies that might exist in a complex environment of what he calls ‘multi-node applications’. If we set up rules and inputs that define what applications are supposed to go where and what they are supposed to do, then we can more from not just one-click operations to what we could call zero-click operations.

Kate Russell on diversity

Breakout of all breakout sessions was surely Kate Russell’s presentation slash workshop session on IT gender diversity and women in technology in the workplace. The BBC Click presenter is also a freelance journalist with a history in web and games editorial.

Russell hosted a session designed to table some rather uncomfortble truths in terms of the amount of stereotyped sexism that is still rife across all industry, not just IT.

“A reasonable degree of the problem here is down to the unconscious bias which many of us harbour in terms of our perception of what even school level boys and girls are supposed to be interested in. I myself took an unconscious bias test and, as a woman in technology, was suprised to find out that I also have some of these characteristics in my make up. I urge you all to take one,” said Russell.

Suggesting that some of her own unconscious bias may have simply developed as a result of being brought up with two brothers, this session extended into workshop sessions where teams were tasked with projects designed to help them take gender bias out of real world working environments.

Proving that ambition, determination and a refusal to accept gender stereotypes can lead to success at levels, Russell left us with a reminder of her kickstarter programme devoted to launching her audiobook, which is linked here: A Bookkeeper’s Guide to Practical Sorcery: Audiobook by Kate Russell.

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