Nutanix Xi suite ‘cloud fabric’ edges over to IoT

Nutanix used its ‘Next’ 2018 conference and exhibition series this week in Europe to detail the scope of its Xi Cloud Services offering.

This is a suite of cloud computing functions specifically designed to create a more ‘unified fabric’ across different cloud environments.

Showcased at Next 2018 London this year was Xi IoT, a new edge computing service designed to allow developers to focus on building the business logic powering IoT applications and services [rather than having to worry about the ‘transport journey’ of getting data from devices, back to the cloud datacentre… and then performing analysis on it… and then sending back actions to IoT devices themselves].

The company didn’t add the [square brackets], but we did to clarify what it means by the whole ‘allows developers’ claim.

IDC analyst Ashish Nadkarni thinks that it’s critical for enterprise organisations to have an edge strategy to unify, edge to cloud connectivity – it’s all about pushing compute and analytics close to where data is generated.

Nutanix argues that although the IoT is generating a huge amount of data (estimates suggest 256 Zettabytes from 3 billion devices in 2017), there is a problem with the current IoT model.

The model, today, is typified by the massive amounts of data on edge devices, which has to be sent back to a centralised cloud for processing. This does not give way, easily at least, to making real-time decisions.

Same same, but different?

Nutanix claims it can do IoT different.

The company says that “unlike traditional IoT models” [it’s own official statement’s words] the Xi IoT platform delivers local compute, machine inference and data services to perform real-time processing at the edge.

In fairness, that’s quite like a lot of other IoT models isn’t it?

Looking deeper then, the Xi IoT Data Pipelines tools works to securely move post-analysis data to a customer’s public (Azure, AWS or GCP) or private cloud platform of choice for long-term analysis… that’s still like most other enterprise-scale IoT models.

Where Nutanix may be more clearly differentiating itself is that edge and core cloud deployments all operate on the same data and management plane, so Xi IoT customers have simplified insight into their deployment.

Developer APIs

Through Xi IoT, customers can manage all their edge locations through an infrastructure and application lifecycle management tool, regardless of platform.

Developers can use a set of open APIs to deploy next-generation data science applications as containerised applications or as functions, which are small snippets of code. This can be integrated into existing CI/CD pipelines, allowing them to make changes quickly from a single location.

Xi IoT is supposed to helps IT organisations reduce training, development and testing costs while eliminating the possibility an organisation is locked in to one public cloud provider.

Because data is processed in real-time at the edge, companies are no longer inhibited by the transmission of data back to a core datacenter for processing, so decisions can be made based on data autonomously and in real-time.

Nutanix Xi IoT will focus on the manufacturing, retail, oil and gas, healthcare, and smart cities markets at launch.

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