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.
byaluciani05-18-201612:10 AM - edited 05-18-201604:21 PM
Welcome to the third installment in this blog series focused on the needs of Service Providers. The first blog explained the benefits of a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud for Service Providers of all types. The second blog focused on Desktop as a Service. Today we’ll be investigating Managed Service Providers (MSPs), why they chose Nutanix, and the benefits they’ve gained.
In the past, many MSPs focused on delivering services on customer-owned infrastructure. Today, in addition to the traditional model of managed services, MSPs often host customer applications on cloud infrastructure that they own, and offer other cloud services similar to—and in competition with—the public cloud.
By providing a simple, scalable, and highly available enterprise cloud platform, Nutanix makes it easier for MSPs to offer a variety of cloud services, freeing them to focus more time and effort on customer needs. MSPs such as Claranet, Synergics, and UCS Solutions have deployed Nutanix solutions to simplify infrastructure and streamline operations.
Claranet’s Nutanix deployment provides public cloud services including web servers, ecommerce apps, and MySQL databases, while UCS Solutions hosts both its Microsoft environment (including Exchange) and Linux installations on its Nutanix platform—with plans to host DR and business continuity services in the works. Synergics offers both VMware and Hyper-V and hosts Microsoft Lync (now Skype for Business) and other applications.
These three MSPs chose Nutanix for its superior economics—both in terms of CapEx and OpEx—reduced complexity, and greater flexibility.
[Synergics estimates it has cut its total costs (CapEx and OpEx) by about 35% with Nutanix, while UCS Solutions estimates it has reduced its capital expenditures alone by 20%. These savings translate to more cost-effective solutions for customers and put these MSPs on a better competitive footing.]
Eliminating SAN Complexity
All three of these MSPs were having trouble with the complexity and lack of scalability of traditional SAN environments, making moving to a more streamlined and flexible environment a priority. For example, Synergics was spending too much time simply maintaining its infrastructure instead of focusing on the needs of its clients; frequent SAN updates and upgrades added to those challenges. UCS noted that engineers with SAN skills were hard to find and that SANs weren’t built for virtualized environments.
The Nutanix hyperconverged design combines compute and storage in simple building blocks, making it easy to provision and reallocate resources—perfect for dynamic cloud services. Capacity and performance can be increased simply by adding nodes to the cluster, making it simple to scale, and one-click management tasks—especially non-disruptive upgrades—take a lot of the pain and complexity out of day-to-day management.
All three MSPs noticed the speed with which the new infrastructure could be deployed versus SAN environments. Claranet was migrating applications within two days with no training required; UCS after a single day.
Flexibility and Scaling
UCS Solutions found that eliminating SAN and deploying Nutanix allows it to spin up services faster and repurpose and reuse resources much more effectively. Claranet provisions resources according to a performance-per-VM ratio. As customer demands grow, Claranet adds nodes incrementally with predictable scaling. Synergics found it easier to respond to customer demand with Nutanix’s simpler architecture, and pointed out how simple and non-disruptive upgrades are in the Nutanix environment.
Agility, speed of execution, and cost effectiveness were higher priorities than performance for Synergics, as is often the case [with MSPs? with Synergics? with all of our customers?]. However, all three MSPs experienced better performance than the SAN environments that they replaced—and their customers noticed the improvements as well [Note to Draft: Consider including an example of how the customers were impacted].
These improvements are possible because every Nutanix node includes a combination of SSDs and HDDs (or just SSDs for all-flash configurations). A distributed storage fabric manages all the storage resources in a cluster as a single, flexible pool. Data is actively managed to ensure that a VM’s hot data is on local flash and automatically tiered using our integrated Information Lifecycle Management. Combined with the intelligent tuning built into the system, a Nutanix enterprise cloud is designed to deliver predictable high performance without the need for constant IO tuning.
Flexible Virtualization Options
Another advantage that Nutanix provides for MSPs is the ability to choose between three hypervisors: VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV. The Nutanix App Mobility Fabric (AMF) simplifies the process of moving VMs between various environments, allowing VMs to run where they are needed, rather than where they were provisioned.
Each of the three MSPs described here uses or has used at least two hypervisors in production. UCS Solutions runs one Nutanix cluster with VMware and a second with AHV. AHV is provided with Nutanix purchases at no additional cost, drastically reducing licensing costs.
UCS Solutions reports that its experience with AHV has been excellent. Because AHV management is integrated with Nutanix Prism, the process of deploying and managing infrastructure is designed to be incredibly simple. Prism integrates the entire stack, including virtualization, into a single pane of glass. UCS Solutions also uses Prism Central, enabling the team to view and manage multiple clusters from this same single interface.
Superior Services and Support
Another thing that differentiates Nutanix for MSPs—and all types of service providers—is the quality of its services and support. Nutanix’s goal is to support the entire solution running on Nutanix, so support is simplified and finger-pointing among vendors is eliminated. We do this through engineers trained on the entire stack, and alliance such as TSAnet. One call gets you the help you need, saving time and accelerating problem resolution.
Synergics recognized the value immediately, noting that Nutanix support was both fast and knowledgeable. UCS Solutions utilized Nutanix Services for its initial infrastructure deployment, and found the overall experience of working with Nutanix to be “phenomenal”.
These are just a few of the benefits that Nutanix provides for MSPs. 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 this space as this series expands.
As always, join us on next.nutanix.com to continue the conversation.
This post is authored by Chris Brown, Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix