CWDN series: Dev-eXperience – Nutanix: De-stress success via a decoupled application data layer

This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network written by Rob Tribe in his role as VP for systems engineering at Nutanix.

Tribe writes in full as follows…

We think about Developer eXperience (DX) a whole lot.

We know the developers, programmers and all the operations teams professionals from DBAs to sysadmins, DevOps, network engineers and architects working in any single given environment are only truly productive when they have the right tools at their disposal… and when they have the right working environment built around them… and when there’s definitely no question of whether or not there’s enough cold soda on tap.

While we can’t always claim to fix carbonated beverage issues, we have taken concerted steps to make sure we provide the right tools for developers to engage with in today’s multi-modal, multi-cloud world.

This is a good part of the reason why we used our company’s .NEXT conference in Chicago this year to announce Project Beacon.

Liberated data services

This multi-year initiative sets out to radically reimagine and re-think just exactly how data-centric platform services are architected and delivered. Crucially, this involves liberating data services from their underlying infrastructure.

Why would we do that with a view to developer (and ultimately user) productivity and experience? Because it enables us to create true application portability – and that’s something that matters more than ever in the new era of multiple digital touchpoints

Project Beacon aims to create a portfolio of data-centric Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)-level services that are available natively to any use, wherever they reside. Through our dedication to data freedom and usability, we are committed to enabling developers to build applications once and run them anywhere. That’s the positive DX factor that we have encapsulated with this foundational project – and it’s one that creates new freedoms because it means we can deliver PaaS data services as fully managed services.

Developers should develop

The rationale for these moves is simple.We want to make sure developers are developing (so we will shoulder the cloud infrastructure management burden) and not looking after tasks related to monitoring, maintaining and securing the services they use to build applications.

Once again thinking about the realities of modern software application development environments, we know that most enterprises use at least two IT infrastructure environments (e.g. public cloud, private on-premises cloud and the world of edge compute that straddles the Internet of Things just to name three) – so if we think about the increasing adoption of containers and Kubernetes and the impetus that drives to move applications between infrastructure environments with relative ease, we need to provide a means of PaaS flexibility if developers are going to be able to use these flexible channels productively.

Nutanix’s Tribe: A ‘consistent management experience’ is a key factor that distils downward into positive DX.

We know that the PaaS services software application developers typically use and rely upon are tied to specific public clouds – it’s a natural enough occurrence as it engenders speed and control, but it restricts flexibility when software engineers want to switch and move applications to a more suitable environment for reasons that (for example) could be related to compliance, latency or plain and simple cost.

Application data layer freedom

As Rajiv Ramaswami has said in his capacity as president & CEO at Nutanix. “We hope to enable enterprises to fully embrace the benefits of hybrid multi-cloud, not only at the infrastructure layer but also at the application data layer.”

Look around the wider trends now being played out in the enterprise IT space and you’ll see many initiatives focused on providing a more homogeneous experience to developers in the face of all the collated composable compute capacity out there. We can certainly evidence a strong element of this in Project Beacon, as we have worked to deliver these critical data-centric platform services with a single API and console. All of which is integrated with Kubernetes container orchestration to provide what represents a fundamentally consistent management experience across environments.

If the term ‘consistent management experience’ didn’t leap out there, allow us to just say it again – this is the kind of factor that distils downward into positive DX from its first use.

When we twin management experience consistency with characteristically simplified management tools, we can also provide automated mobility, portable licensing, developer self-service and built-in security and governance for cloud operations teams.

As part of Project Beacon, we will provide developers with access to a suite of data-centric PaaS services, whether in hyperscaler infrastructure, or on-premises or at the edge. At the same time, operations teams will remain in full control of data governance, compliance and data protection.

Data Center
Data Management