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Nutanix aims Xpress hyper-converged appliances at SMEs

Hyper-converged pioneer launches slimmed-down version of enterprise products with its own hypervisor, VMware or Hyper-V on board

Nutanix has launched a slimmed-down version of its hyper-converged infrastructure, Nutanix Xpress, and is aiming it at small and mid-sized organisations.

Xpress offers storage and server capability in appliance form for between five and 500 virtual machines and comes with a reduced hardware and software spec compared with the existing Nutanix range.

Nutanix offers Xpress with a minimum configuration that makes it available for about $25,000. For that, an SME customer gets a three-node cluster with three years’ support that can handle up to 500 VMs. Maximum cluster size is four nodes, with a maximum of eight if two clusters of four are replicated.

The appliances come with the Nutanix AHV hypervisor on board. Alternatively, customers can use VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V.

Hyper-converged products combine compute and storage in one box with virtualisation capability. This is a trend inspired, in part, by the modular hyperscale architectures pioneered by web giants such as Google and Facebook.

They have emerged in recent years as competition to discrete server and storage products, and key suppliers include Scale Computing, Simplivity and VMware’s EVO:Rail. The products are well-suited to organisations without well-resourced IT departments because servers and storage are easily deployed and managed from single nodes or clusters.

Nutanix’s latest move with Xpress takes hyper-converged infrastructure deeper into SME territory.

All Xpress appliances come with Intel Broadwell processors with between 10 and 16 cores, clock speeds of between 2.2Ghz and 2.6Ghz plus storage capacity for three drives, one of which can be flash (480Gb to 1.6TB) and two HDD (2TB to 6TB). Memory options range from 64Gb to 512Gb.

Read more on hyper-converged infrastructure

These hardware specs are noticeably lower than those of its existing arrays, which offer features such as more drive slots, CPUs with more cores and all-flash capability.

On the software side, Nutanix has taken out some enterprise-class features, such as its “tuneable resiliency” in which multiple copies of replicated data are made. In Xpress, there will only be two copies. Also, it has lost its ECX erasure coding in Xpress.

It has, however, included aynschronous replication and metro clustering, which offers synchronous replication between two sites on a WAN as long as they can guarantee a sub-5 millisecond network latency.

Lenovo and Dell will offer their Nutanix Xpress-based products later this year. .....................................................................

Next Steps

Expert, George Crump, explains Converged vs. hyper-converged options

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