Cloud native series: Nutanix builds on Acropolis, native convergence matters

Enterprise cloud company Nutanix has announced new capabilities for its Acropolis File Services (AFS) software. This is new technology and it has only been around for a couple of quarters. In that time Nutanix states that around 10% of its customers are choosing Nutanix AFS for their file services needs.

Delivered as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, AFS software is intended to streamline IT operations by ‘natively converging’ Virtual Machines (VMs) and file storage into a single computing platform that is inherently engineered for cloud computing with its ‘scale-out’ characteristics.

Native convergence

Nutanix (as is common with all firms in this space) is usually economical of its explanation of what the mechanics of native convergence might mean. We can safely assume that this is about engineering file structures to the types of compute and data management DNA needed to operate in the cloud i.e. an environment where storage comes from services-based streams rather than one single host machine of any description.

Essentially this is all about:

  1. getting to cloud computing
  2. mixing best of public and private cloud
  3. doing it without creating data silos

Cloud portfolio services

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS architecture has been engineered to provide ‘portfolio’ services for cloud applications. Again we ask, what’s a portfolio service?

Nutanix is using this label to express a notion of application building blocks that come with on-demand compute resources. That makes sense, that’s what cloud is.

The kind of things found here are elastic storage services for block and file-based data. The concept is that IT managers could use these tools to build and operate enterprise datacentres that rival public clouds.

Pleasure from your partner

The firm says that its AFS partner ecosystem will also provide tools to help with security (simple in-line antivirus scans using software from Symantec); backup (partners Rubrik and Comtrade); and detailed audits of file system access (partners Varonis and STEALTHbits).

“Rapid AFS adoption shows that customers are clamouring for more ways to converge and simplify all their IT operations, and to replace legacy products with more flexible software-driven solutions,” said Sunil Potti, chief product and development officer at Nutanix.

Potti further insists that his firm is reducing operational complexity with a common software layer. He explains that in addition to simplifying IT infrastructure by removing silos created by dedicated file services offerings, AFS software gives customers a public cloud experience, but with the security and control of a private cloud deployment.

AFS customers can manage file services via Prism, delivering a unified, consumer-grade management interface for their full infrastructure stack and freeing IT resources to focus on critical, business-driving activities.

Deeper dive info on this subject can be found on the Nutanix blog.