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Displaying articles for: 01-08-2017 - 01-14-2017

3 Ways To Make User Needs Drive Enterprise Cloud

by Community Manager on ‎01-13-2017 10:53 AM (1,697 Views)



This guest post was authored by Steve Chambers


AWS CTO Werner Vogels wrote Working Backwards, a blog post about creating cloud services by starting with the user needs. You can see organizations doing this today such as the UK Government Digital Service.


This may sound obvious but there is a lot of IT folklore about long-running programs that don’t meet user needs. It’s almost like people are ignoring the obvious, a case of Invisible Gorilla syndrome? There are many stories of one-size-fits-all VDI solutions not meeting the needs of all users. With enterprise cloud, are users ready for the new world of self-service, different budgets and not being able to pinpoint exactly where their data or applications are?


If users are decoupled from the IT team by the introduction of an Enterprise Cloud that runs on a hyperconverged infrastructure, then intuition might say that less understanding of users is needed, not more. But this is incorrect. The changing responsibility model of Enterprise Cloud gives users more autonomy and control and therefore more requirements.


There are three ways to go beyond just consulting users and instead actively have them drive the Enterprise Cloud:


  1. Discover Your Users’ Needs
  2. Create a User-centric Framework
  3. Users As The Engine of Evolution Call To Action


1. Discover Your Users’ Needs

If you are creating an Enterprise Cloud then your true north should be pointing towards users and their needs, not what the IT team thinks the users need. The biggest mistake people can make is thinking they know, intuitively, what other people need so they don’t go out and even confirm what they know is true or not.


It’s also true of humans that if we are focused on one thing, like doing our own job, then we miss the obvious, like what someone else needs to do their job:


There is no shortcut to discovery, it involves time, effort and willing to be wrong about what you thought users need. There’s no need to boil the ocean and suffer analysis paralysis, but there is perhaps a minimum viable user needs discovery:


  1. Identify who is and who is not a user (and why).
  2. Visit users in person, respect their time, insights and concerns.
  3. Learn about what they do, why they do it, what’s good about it, what problems they experience.
  4. Share the “working backwards” press release, the FAQ, the User Manual that defines the envisaged service, can you describe how the user will interact with the service?
  5. Do small, focused surveys to collate data with the free online services.


There will be more than one set of needs. Users will have needs for the self-service Enterprise Cloud interface but they could also have needs for application migration, managing workloads in the cloud and more.


2. Create a User-centric Framework

A good example of a User-centric Framework is from the UK Government Digital Service Standard. This really describes what their True North is, for everyone to see. It forms a contract of trust with their users, their partners and their stakeholders


This is a foundational framework that services and solutions “inherit” when they are built. Your Enterprise Cloud, and the workloads that migrate and the new services built on top, should inherit from a framework like this.


This framework is different from cloud reference architecture or vendor-driven solution frameworks because it starts with your users in your enterprise. Everyone working on your Enterprise Cloud and the solutions a-top of it should sign up and commit to behaving in accordance with this framework.


3. Users As The Engine of Evolution

It starts with User Discovery but there shouldn’t be a gap or a silent period between that initial discovery and go live. At each stage of the evolution of your Enterprise Cloud the users should be involved. The cycles are user driven because they provide the input needed to focus on what’s important in a cycle, instead of weaving off the path. Having the users involved in testing, feedback, quality assurance are also key ways to have them drive the program.


This happens across the industry now as a standard approach and the example cycles here are again from the UK Government Digital Service. Here we use the tri-modal Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners model to match user engagement to the evolution model:


  • Pioneers, the early creators of your Enterprise Cloud, engage selected users in an invitation-only Alpha cycle of the service. At the end of this is a minimum viable enterprise cloud, but with many features not yet implemented.
  • Whilst Pioneers may change focus to create new services, the Settlers take the minimum viable enterprise cloud and develop it further with user engagement in a Beta cycle. The end of this cycle is an enterprise cloud version that is robust enough for wider, open-invitation engagement and a switch to general availability or live mode.


Call To Action

Teams that are delivering hybrid and private clouds, application migrations and other enterprise programs must engage users throughout their program to be aligned with user needs. Failure to do this risks failure of the whole program. Nutanix consultants have expertise in all aspects of these programs and can help you work with your users.


Visit www.nutanix.com/services for more information


Disclaimer: This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites, and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

What’s New in Prism Pro 5.0 - Part 2: The New Features

by Community Manager ‎01-12-2017 07:40 AM - edited ‎01-18-2017 09:41 AM (2,445 Views)

This blog is authored by Harry Yang, Principal Product Manager at Nutanix


In part 1, we shared how Prism has evolved from a single cluster management front end to a complete infrastructure management solution. In this blog, we will introduce the new features that we have developed as part of the 5.0 release.


Just-in-Time Forecast

From speaking with our customers, we have learned that enterprises of all sizes want to align IT with their business demands. The three challenges identified as part of this effort include:


  • The risk of impeding business growth when customers aren’t sure when to expand or optimize their infrastructure. Many times, they are caught by surprise.
  • Inefficient use of capital when customers don’t have an easy way to match IT infrastructure expansion with business demands.
  • Wasted time of expensive IT staff when IT teams take days to collect data, analyze, and figure out what is needed. This time can be better spent on addressing higher value tasks.

Since the first release in early 2016, Prism Pro has included an X-FIT powered capacity consumption trending feature. This feature removes the guesswork, lets you easily understand your current resource behavior, and alerts you precisely when you need to consider expansion or optimization.

In the 5.0 release, Prism Pro adds a new feature called Just-in-Time Forecast. Powered by X-FIT and designed with simplicity, it gives you control over planning and optimizing your resources to align with workload demands. Working together, capacity consumption trending and Just-in-Time Forecast will help you overcome the challenges mentioned above.




There is also a new menu item in the Prism Central console called “Planning” that will help you identify any possible shortages. The Planning page lists the results of runways (the number of days left that your resource can sustain the workloads) of all your clusters.


You can click on any cluster to learn details of the current consumption behavior. If the cluster runs short, you can start the Just-in-Time Forecast flow to find out when and how much capacity will be needed.




 Using the Just-in-Time Forecast page, you will see:


  • How much expansion is needed if the cluster anticipates a capacity shortage
  • Whether a cluster has enough runway after adding new workloads
  • Whether you will need to expand the cluster if the current workload changes its behavior (e.g., high workload volume due to a demand surge, M&A, marketing promotions, etc.)
  • When and how much capacity you will need for a new cluster to support its workloads
  • Which cluster is the optimal place to support your new workloads
  • The impact on capacity if you move nodes into your production cluster from your staging environment



This feature will enable you to better align IT with your business because: 


  • It is powered by X-FIT machine learning technology, therefore it is designed to accurately reflect when and what you need, and remove the risk of impeding your business growth.
  • It is designed to enable pay-as-you-grow planning. The recommendation engine lays out the timeline of your resource onboarding schedule that is closely aligned with your business growth. As a result, your capital will be better used.
  • It has built-in simplicity, including one-click recommendations and workload-friendly scenario definitions. One customer reported that he can now complete planning tasks within 5 minutes, compared to the 3 days that he used to spend.

Search Enhancements on Monitoring and Troubleshooting

We introduced the new Prism Search capability as part of Prism Pro release earlier this year. Many of our customers are already using it to quickly locate a resource among hundreds or thousands that need managing. This release is extending its usage into monitoring and troubleshooting. 


There are two major enhancements to the Prism Search feature in the 5.0 release. First, you can now search alerts by their titles, sources, and categories. This is particularly useful when you want to investigate a cluster of alerts which may point to a common root cause.



Second, you can now use search to identify a hidden issue by searching the corresponding symptom. In this release, you will be able to use an expression in the search string, and combine the expression with a metric to find VMs with a specific symptom. For example, you can spot zombie VMs by searching all VMs whose IOPS < 20.




To make the Prism Search more accessible, we have also revamped its landing page. When you open the Prism Search page, you will find a list of sample queries that you can use in your environment. Some of them even contain your resource name. Prism Search generates these sample search strings directly from your environment. With this, you can not only familiarize yourself with the new feature very quickly, you can also put it to use immediately.





All Prism Pro features live inside the VM that hosts the Prism Central console. In this release, we increased the number of VMs that Prism Pro can support to 12,500, a 250% increase from just six months ago.


We invite you to take a personal guided tour of Prism, and review a series of blogs that will show you the different interfaces and new features inside Prism.


With every innovation cycle, we strive to provide you with bigger values, simpler flows, and broader coverage of your daily life of IT operations. In order to do that, we need to hear from you. Please join the community forum and share your thoughts and experiences with us. Let’s go on this journey together to make the life of data center management easier than ever!


Disclaimer: This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites, and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.



What’s New in Prism Pro 5.0 - Part 1: The Context

by Community Manager ‎01-10-2017 09:33 AM - edited ‎01-18-2017 09:42 AM (2,269 Views)

This blog is authored by Harry Yang, Principal Product Manager at Nutanix


Among the many reasons that enterprises choose the public cloud, there is one that stands out universally. The cloud enables IT to become a business driver by closely matching and aligning IT resources, including infrastructure and services, with business agility. As an Enterprise Cloud Platform, Nutanix is bringing this benefit to on-premises data centers through Acropolis and Prism.


Just-in-Time Forecast is a new feature that was just introduced in Prism Pro 5.0. It will enable you to analyze, plan, and optimize your infrastructure resources based on workload growth. Just-in-Time Forecast is based on X-FIT machine learning technology and is designed with unprecedented simplicity. In this blog, we will share the background of Prism Pro and familiarize you with its terminologies. Part 2 will introduce the new features and enhancements in the 5.0 release of Prism Pro.


Since day one, our goal at Nutanix has been to make your IT experience easier by providing the systems and tools that will help you better manage your infrastructure, without introducing additional complexity. Simplicity is our guiding design principal, and Prism was created as the result of that thinking. Prism’s goal is to eliminate the “management” from data center operations.




Prism Starter

Nutanix has spent the last six years building the solid, distributed, and easy-to-use Prism platform layer. This layer started with full-stack cluster management and later expanded to multi-cluster view and control. Along the way, the one-click upgrades that were built into this platform became very popular. With the one-click upgrades, customers finally have the freedom to enjoy all of the performance improvements and new features offered in each release, without the fear of business interruption or involving the difficult upgrade processes of previous enterprise software platforms. We called this Prism platform layer the Prism Starter. Any time you buy a Nutanix solution, Prism Starter is included with it.


In Prism Starter’s 5.0 release, you will see a new UI that lets you run Nutanix Cluster Check within Prism, providing a new way to visualize I/O metrics, an expanded capability of VM management, a customizable explorer, network visualization, and a self-service portal.  


Prism Pro

Prism collects machine data across the compute, VM, and storage layers. This data provides valuable insights that will enable you to improve the efficiency and quality of your everyday data center operations and further simplify IT.


Nutanix has also developed a machine learning technology, X-FIT, that brings the best machine intelligence algorithms into data center management. Prism Pro is the result of that effort, providing you with additional operational intelligence and personalized insights.


Management Interfaces

Customers can access all Prism features from two consoles: Prism Element and Prism Central. (The following diagram illustrates the relationship between these two consoles.) Prism Element is a distributed console that is built into the cluster, and serves as the management console for a single cluster. The Prism Central console is used for managing multiple clusters, providing a centralized view and configuration across clusters. Customers who have Prism Pro can access all of its features in Prism Central.




Over the last six years, Prism has evolved from a single cluster management front end, to a complete infrastructure management solution. In each release, we strive to provide more value and accelerate this evolution. Part 2 will explain the new features that we have developed for the 5.0 release. Stay tuned.


Disclaimer: This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.




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