Nutanix .NEXT 2024: Live keynote report

Nutanix hosted the European leg of its annual conference series this month in the Catalan capital of Barcelona.

Nutanix .NEXT 2024 was initially hosted by eminent technology journalist Cristina Criddle who stepped out of her normal reportage beat to provide a little corporate gloss and introduce the speakers.

Nutanix CEO, Rajiv Ramaswami was – naturally enough – first to take a main speaking slot. Talking about how cloud now impacts us in the modern workplace, Ramaswami started out with a quote from his favourite book: The Book of Joy, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us happy.”

After that note of thanks to attendees, Ramaswami reminded us that today we are largely running Virtual Machine VM-based applications, which of course what he and Nutanix define as modern applications… and that VM standard will now naturally transmogrify itself into AI-based applications.

Streamline & scale

Ramaswami notes that customers have told Nutanix that it wants to be able to streamline and scale compute independently (and at the same time) as hardware, by working to broaden the repertoire of hardware that Nutanix can support with its platform the company says it is enabling organisations to get the most of the existing hardware investments that they have made to date.”

Big news this keynote saw Nutanix announce a collaboration with Dell Technologies aimed at infrastructure modernisation and modern application development. Joint customers will be able to use Dell and Nutanix hybrid multi-cloud solutions to improve IT operations, resiliency and flexibility. 

Turnkey hyperconverged appliances 

Customers will be able to streamline private and hybrid multi-cloud deployments through the combination of Dell’s server and storage offerings and Nutanix software. As part of this collaboration, Dell will offer an integrated turnkey hyperconverged appliance combining Nutanix Cloud Platform and Dell servers. The solution will be available with a broad portfolio of PowerEdge server models and configurations to meet requirements from a wide range of applications.

“Enterprises are managing a growing number of applications across on-premises, public cloud and at the edge and looking for a unified platform to run their legacy and containerised applications,” said Tarkan Maner, chief commercial officer at Nutanix. “This expanded collaboration will enable Dell and Nutanix joint customers to benefit from increased flexibility, simplified operations and strengthened resilience.”

After a customer session with Wells Fargo bank, Ramaswami moved the conversation back to Nutanix Central, the company’s unified management pane… which has now moved to General Availability. This technology is a cloud-delivered platform that extends the company’s universal cloud operating model for organisations looking for a streamlined experience for managing hybrid multi-cloud environments. 

“Managing diverse and distributed environments can be challenging, especially for organisations dealing with the rapidly expanding edge. Nutanix Central provides a seamless universal cloud operating model that simplifies management at a large, federated scale. This includes managing endpoints wherever they might be, from a single console offered as-a-Service,” notes the company, in a product statement.

The UK’s Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) delivered a session explaining how its use of the Nutanix platform helps it overcome the same type of business challenges as any other organisation. 

With those challenges in mind, the organisation’s spokesperson explained how its investment with Nutanix NC2 has been a game changer for its operations and enables it to protect its technology investment from proprietary vendor lock-in.

Note: The Nutanix NC2 cloud control plane intelligently builds clusters of bare-metal nodes with a highly available rack-aware design.

Nutanix vision

The real truth that describes the wider company platform vision for Nutanix is all about enabling developers to be able to run any application of any type on any cloud. Much of this vision is wrapped up in the company’s Project Beacon. Initially a ‘project’ working at an experimental level, the platform now sports a number of substantive products, although the project label is still in place. 

New Kubernetes management functions join Infrastructure Data Services and Platform Data Services in this space. Joining Ramaswami on stage was Tobi Knaup, senior director and general manager of cloud-native technologies at Nutanix to detail the deeper mechanics of Nutanix Kubernetes Platform (NKP).

Moving logically to talk about AI, Ramaswami noted that the four key use cases for its application today are fraud detection, co-piloting, search & analysis and customer support – he then progressed to explain how Nutanix GPT-in-a-box works and has developed.

This technology is intended to help provide organisations with the foundational and infrastructural elements and services they need to get AI and Machine Learning (ML) projects off the ground, but still retain control of their data. Essentially, this is a software-defined AI platform that enables organisations to right-size, scale and configure both hardware and software infrastructure to deploy a curated set of Large Language Models (LLMs) using the open source AI and MLOps frameworks on the Nutanix Cloud Platform.

Wrapping up and handing back to journalist Cristina Criddle, Ramaswami reminded us that Nutanix has now been on this journey (i.e. its platform development work with customers) for a total of 15 years now. The company remains focused on its three precepts of modern infrastructure to a state-of-the-art hybrid cloud; building modern applications; and enabling enterprise IT.

Key messaging emanating from Nutanix is the ability to solidify infrastructure services for modern applications with point-and-click simplicity and through a single-pane-of-glass management view with increased simplicity and better robustness… in other words, it’s about enabling hybrid multi-cloud application backbones that result in apps with AI-enrichment, which is (arguably) pretty smart.

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Data Management