Software Defined Ecosystem – Part 7: The Cloud Layer

Software Defined Ecosystem – Part 7: The Cloud Layer

Nutanix is not “The Cloud”: 

Well, I saved what I think is the most interesting layer for our final blog in the series. The reason that I think this is the most interesting is that, to me, it is the area with the biggest hype, but yet the biggest lack of clarity.  We started in part one by stating the Nutanix value proposition. Taking complexity out of traditional 3 tier infrastructure, just like the public cloud players do.  This is true. Google, Microsoft, AWS, and others, are delivering compute, storage, and network rapidly and inexpensively. I promise you this is NOT on traditional 3-tier infrastructure.  It is with Nutanix-like software defined infrastructure. The traditional outsourcers and Co-Lo’s have been surprisingly slow to get this memo and are quickly becoming very expensive. Wipro seems to be one that did get the memo as an example.  So is Nutanix a Cloud?  

Software Defined Ecosystem - Cima PartnersSome people would argue yes, in it’s purest sense, which defines cloud as the sharing of resources along with automation.  However, I say no, and here’s why. All the tech pundits can argue about Private, Public, Hybrid, Automation etc., but in this day and age, the definition of the cloud in the people who are writing the checks for IT, simply means “not in our datacenter”.  This often comes with a perception that the “cloud” is cheaper and more resilient. I see this weekly with my client set…”City Council has decided we need to move everything to the cloud.” The CFO went to California with Google and we just got directive to move it to the cloud.”  “We can’t do cloud because of security, oh wait, our new CRM system is cloud? Yeah, that is cheaper, let’s move everything to Cloud.” Sound familiar to anyone?

So Where Does Nutanix Fit? 

This is where it gets interesting for Nutanix.  They have dabbled with partnerships with Google and even branded the extended cloud offerings around the name Xi.  And even developed a Disaster Recovery in the cloud extended product called Leap.  This is right where Nutanix fits with Cloud, and thus why the cloud layer is important in our Ecosystem.  We would agree there is a place for cloud. However, static production workloads is NOT it. We typically see an 18-24 month breakeven in comparing on prem to cloud for your production stack.  However, Backup and DR are great areas to consider the cloud.  Extensions such as Leap and Veeam Cloud Connect integrate nicely with Nutanix and build a great case for their position in the “Hybrid Cloud Space”.

Azure Google AWS IBM and Others: 

Now that we have a clear POV on where “Cloud” fits (Backup, DR, SMB), who are the players in this space that we like?  Let’s first go back to my statement on CoLo’s. I view this simply as a half-step into the cloud. It takes data center cost out of the equation, but is mostly limited to that.  I view this as a bit of a “why bother?” approach. The leaders listed above in this space are making Joe’s CoLo look very expensive and complex. Especially if you can provision servers, storage and network as needed in a matter of hours or even minutes.  The big guys here are big guys for a reason. They are the WalMarts and Home Depots of the cloud. As long as you know what you are after, just go get it. There are subtle differences in what you get from each, and we can help determine when you would look to one vs the other (ie Bare Metal, Object Storage etc), but this is for another day.  Key point is, the big guys will win here, and the only thing that will beat them is Software as a Service (SAAS).

So where will Cloud and Nutanix Go? 

Nutanix and CloudThis is a timely blog.  This week a rumor was issued stating that Google was developing their own Hyper-Converged (HCI) product built for On-Prem resale.  This flies right in the face of Nutanix since Nutanix is built on the Google File System (GFS). Immediately, Nutanix stock dropped 11%! The days that followed seemed to indicate this was in fact just a rumor, but it demonstrates the power of the big Cloud guys.  In previous blogs we talked about Nutanix recent announcements. These are a clear indication of where Nutanix is heading. They understand that the cloud is key to their survival.  Beam is evidence of that. Beam is a product from Nutanix that helps you compare costs on prem vs cloud. It is their first truly SAAS based offering. Add the acquisition of Frame as a SAAS based VDI solution and this is further indication of where they are going.  This is truly a race to the cloud, and in my opinion, SAAS will be the ultimate winner in all of this.  Until then, believe in the Software Defined Ecosystem. We do.


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