This is the fourth installment in a blog series focused on the needs of Service Providers. You can find links to all blogs in the series at the end of this article.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers face mounting pressure from direct competition with public cloud. To compete in this new era, it is critical to be able to offer flexible, agile, and reliable services.
A Nutanix enterprise cloud gives IaaS providers more flexibility. Instead of the complexity of deploying and managing separate servers, SANs, and storage, Nutanix provides hyperconverged infrastructure that combines all three elements into simple-to-deploy, standard building blocks.
Combined with powerful integrations with some of the most popular cloud portals—such as OpenStack, VMware vRealize, and Microsoft AzurePack—Nutanix is the perfect building block for your cloud offering. Flexible options let you tailor services more closely to your needs and those of your customers:
Nutanix FlexPrice offers a better way to procure equipment. With FlexPrice, you purchase hardware directly (from Super Micro, Dell, or Lenovo currently) and license Nutanix software as it is needed. With three-month to three-year plans available, FlexPrice lets you run the newest generation hardware while expanding and contracting seasonally. By reducing overall costs, you can increase margins—or pass the savings on to customers.
Nutanix provides a broad range of platforms: compute-heavy, storage-heavy, and storage-only. All types and generations can be mixed in the same cluster to satisfy your needs. You can easily add whatever resource you need without re-architecting the entire solution. You can deploy multiple node types and offer those to your customers as different classes or tiers of service.
You can always deploy the latest generation technology so your cluster stays current. Older nodes can be repurposed or decommissioned as needed. You get more useful life out of your hardware investments and never suffer through painful and disruptive forklift upgrades.
A hybrid Nutanix cluster offers a combination of HDDs for capacity and SSDs for performance. Each node has local access to both types of resources. Storage is pooled across all nodes. Data is automatically tiered so that each VM’s data is preferentially stored on local storage with hot data stored on SSD for optimum performance.
Because each node in a Nutanix cluster offers both storage and compute, the noisy neighbor effect that plagues centralized storage systems shared by hundreds of VMs is eliminated. This design ensures that the data your customers care about is always stored in fast SSD while cold data is offloaded to less expensive HDD storage.
Distributed Storage Fabric provides tiering, data locality and more
In hybrid environments, critical VMs can be pinned in the SSD tier for even greater performance. This can be offered as a premium service.
Consumers of IT services increasingly recognize the value of all-flash architectures for predictable performance and reliability. You can use Nutanix all-flash nodes to create all-flash clusters. All-flash is ideal for a premium service where performance across the entire dataset is the number one concern, such as business-critical Tier-0 and Tier-1 databases.
A single Nutanix cluster can run your choice of hypervisor, and you can move VMs between cluster running different hypervisors using the App Mobility Fabric. Nutanix offers full support for VMware vSphere, Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV, so you can offer your customers a choice of hypervisors without forcing them to change.
Advantages of AHV
Because Nutanix AHV is included with Nutanix purchases at no additional cost, you can deploy it to lower your virtualization licensing costs. AHV is a next-generation hypervisor built to take advantage of the Nutanix hyperconverged architecture—it’s streamlined and delivered the way core infrastructure should be—it’s simple, secure, and highly scalable. Managed through Nutanix Prism or REST APIs, AHV includes the core virtualization features required in today’s datacenters, such as high availability, live migration, and one-click upgrades.
Get Deeper Insights
You may have little direct visibility into the workloads your customers are running. Nutanix Prism provides deeper insight into running workloads. Prism’s resource runway shows you when you’ll need to add new nodes. Combined with what-if analysis, these capabilities remove the guesswork when it comes to scaling, and can provide additional value to your customers.
Save Space and Time
Because Nutanix replaces separate servers, storage, and SANs, it reduces space, power, and cooling requirements. Nutanix customers report reducing datacenter footprint by as much as 80%. Inline compression and deduplication reduces your overall storage requirement—and your IT footprint. Those savings contribute to significant time savings as well. Nutanix customers spend 71% less time on infrastructure management according to IDC.
Service providers need to protect against both planned and unplanned downtime. Nutanix eliminates the need for planned downtime with one-click, non-disruptive upgrades for Nutanix software, hypervisors, and firmware. A highly resilient architecture reduces outages due to failures through intelligence resource handling and self-healing. Nutanix clusters can be architected to withstand the failure of individual server nodes or an entire server enclosure (four nodes). And because the Nutanix architecture is self-healing, it reduces the urgency to replace failed drives and other hardware. With this technology in hand, iCore has eliminated the impact of hardware failures and maintained a %100 uptime for their workloads
The Nutanix solution includes everything you need for local backups, remote backups, asynchronous, and synchronous replication. These capabilities form the foundation of additional value-added data protection and availability services that you can offer customers.
The Nutanix Operating System makes it easy to repurpose equipment as needed. You can switch a node from one hypervisor to another or take nodes offline in one datacenter where you’ve got excess capacity and move them to another where they are needed, eliminating expensive over-provisioning.
Another benefit of Nutanix for IaaS providers is the ability to get started quickly. Instead of spending days or weeks integrating servers, storage, and SANs, you can be up and running in minutes, and you can start small and scale out your Nutanix cluster incrementally. Many service providers deploy Nutanix for one service and expand the footprint to other services over time.
These are just some of the benefits that Nutanix brings to IaaS. Be sure to follow Nutanix on Twitter or reach out to us directly to get a demo and a deep dive into all of our technology. Also, continue to watch for additional blogs in this series.
byaluciani04-12-201605:21 AM - edited 04-12-201603:49 PM
Welcome back to our Service Provide focused blog series! Last time we covered why you should be considering an enterprise cloud for your services in general. Today we’ll be diving deep in a particular service offering – Desktop as a Service (DaaS). DaaS has been growing driven by various factors including the rise of mobile users, need for dev/test environments (particularly in a moment’s notice), and need for desktops for temp workers and lab/conference/training environments.
DaaS providers face many challenges in today’s shifting IT landscape. At the forefront of any DaaS provider’s mind is profitability – if a service isn’t profitable, then it’s not worth running. The agility of the infrastructure directly affects this – what happens if one data center grows much faster than another? Without an agile infrastructure, the only option is to buy more hardware in the over-utilized infrastructure, leaving the under-provisioned investment waiting for a workload.
Also, lower costs are always needed. Margins are razor thin, and money spent on CapEx and OpEx directly affect the bottom line. Finally, keeping up with updates and hardware advances is always a challenge. With traditional clouds these are massive undertakings, leaving you on older HW/SW revisions for longer. In today’s world of massive hacks, it’s important to keep your customer’s data as safe as possible, and part of that is to be running the least vulnerable code across the system.
In light of all this, how can a Nutanix enterprise cloud help you navigate these turbulent waters and deliver unprecedented value and support for your customers? And why customers such as BAE has chosen Nutanix for their DaaS infrastructure?
A Nutanix enterprise cloud brings many benefits to the table. One of the greatest of these advantages is our simplicity first design and our goal to make infrastructure invisible. Things such as growing your cluster, upgrading software, and maintaining a secure baseline should be effortless. Your IT teams have better things to spend their time and OpEx on other than planning and executing (or outsourcing) upgrading your software. Acropolis and Prism enable one-click upgrades for everything in your stack – storage, out-of-band management, BIOS and even your hypervisor of choice.
There are built-in pre-upgrade checks for each of these to ensure that there won’t be any issues. They're no complicated HCLs to navigate, and our support team helps updates/patches immediately with a short lead time for major releases. This allows you always to have the latest and greatest features and security fixes, protecting your customer’s data and continuously improving your investment. Also, our comprehensive RAs - both for XenDesktop and Horizon View - and case studies allow you to deploy your DaaS without risk.
SLAs are a huge impact to the bottom-line as well. Outages don't just cost productivity, and they also cost you money reimbursing customers for missed SLAs. Nutanix offers many powerful tools to avoid these painful scenarios. Cluster Health and Nutanix Cluster Check proactively monitor your infrastructure for issues, giving you an advanced warning about problem areas. In the case of a failure, the system automatically brings itself back into a redundant state rather than running at risk. This gives you and your teams the freedom to replace the failed hardware on your schedule, without leaving you open to future failures.
Bottlenecks are a concern in any infrastructure but are especially critical to avoid for any Service Provider. The last thing you want is one customer’s workload (such as a boot storm) affecting another client. Nutanix’s webscale DNA is a massive benefit here. With our long history with VDI, we have solved these problems directly in the architecture, with technology such as data locality and shadow clones, with no need for additional configuration or add-ons. For a sample of this, refer to the following chart. In this graph we see that Tenant B, running a SQL workload, doesn’t affect Tenant A, running a LoginVSI workload of 300 desktops:
Tenant B, turning on SQL workload at 18k IOPS, has no effect on Tenant A’s VDI workload
We also offer robust predictive analysis for what will be your future bottlenecks. Using the Capacity Behavior Trends available in Prism Pro, you can easily see how long different aspects of your infrastructure will last at your current growth rates. Using intelligent machine-learning algorithms, this tool can determine what a spike may have been from (end of the quarter, end of the month, onboarding new customers, etc.) and can differentiate this from healthy growth.
Finally, when it comes to expanding the cluster our turnkey solutions make it easy. Each node offers a known VDI density, based on the sizes you choose to provide. Need to customize a particular load for a customer? No problem! You can easily change these defaults to match your client’s needs, including varied features such as adding a GPU-enabled the system, without changing your entire model.
As you can see, we have many benefits for DaaS providers – make sure to follow Nutanix on Twitter or reach out to us directly to get a demo and a deep dive into all of our technology. Also, continue to watch this space as we add to this series, continuing the coverage of samples of the services that a Nutanix enterprise cloud enables.
As always you can continue the conversation in the community forums, share your experiences, best practices, and outlook.
This post is authored by Chris Brown, Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix