AI is playing an ‘extremely important’ role in hybrid cloud, says Nutanix

Artificial intelligence is a key factor in hybrid cloud because it provides better manageability of large amounts of data, Nutanix conference told

Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a key role in overcoming the difficulties of managing large amounts of data in a hybrid cloud environment, according to hyper-converged systems supplier Nutanix.

Nutanix president Sudheesh Nair told delegates at the company’s .Next user conference on 8 November that AI and machine learning are becoming “extremely important” for customers.

“If we have a customer who is prototyping an autonomous car, that car generates almost 16TB of data per day, per city,” said Nair. “An oil rig generates around 100TB per rig in the middle of an ocean with no connectivity. There is no way you can bring this data to the cloud – you have to take the cloud to the data, to where the data is being created.”

But moving information from the datacentre to the cloud creates manageability issues, he said, and AI can be a better option.

“That’s where machine learning and artificial intelligence have a big part to play,” he said. “Human beings managing machines directly will have to evolve to something much more nuanced.”

Andrew Brinded, general manager, western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix, also emphasised the importance of AI but said a solid foundation is needed.

“It’s a massive shift in the market, in terms of cognitive behaviour and machine learning and how you take that as artificial intelligence,” he said. “Fundamentally, there has to be something in terms of storing all that information and storing it in a way that you can easily access it, so you can run analytical models to give you predictive behaviour.

“You still need a backbone of where you keep your data, how you manage your data and how you do that in an efficient way, whether that’s within your datacentre environment or within the public cloud. Preferably, if you’ve got an easy way to manage data between the two, that makes it very much easier to do your AI development.”

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According to one of Nutanix’s partners, Firstnet Solutions, AI provides an “extra layer of visibility”, which benefits customers. The IT services company signed a partnership with Nutanix in May 2017 to bring the supplier’s Enterprise Cloud platform to its customers.

Asif Malik, technical director at Firstnet, said AI can help to provide support to customers. “We can spin up [customers’] workloads but now, with machine learning, the platform will go off to their cloud platform, analyse it and say, ‘This is an SQL Server and, based on best practice and with the best configurations, it should be behaving like this – so why is ours running out of scope? Why is there a mismatch?’ And we get an alert on that,” he said.

“So for us, it’s fantastic – it’s an extra layer of visibility that we never had.” 

Malik also said the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is driving cloud interest and adoption, pointing out that the regulation has opened a “can of worms about compliance”, causing organisations to look more closely at cloud platforms.

“Before, you could become totally unregulated, but now the government has said, ‘No, you have to have some data regulation and compliance behind it’,” he said. “So people are forced to go out and talk to people, instead of just leaving their server running in a cupboard.”

Malik said that once organisations go out and talk, they will find out the benefits of cloud, such as a pay-as-you-go model, disaster recovery and data recovery.

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