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Nutanix Prism upgrade helps VMware users migrate

Nutanix Acropolis 4.6 includes Prism Pro analytics for predictive storage modeling. The new release supports VM failover across Nutanix nodes with different hypervisors.

Hyper-converged storage pioneer Nutanix has previewed the next iteration of its open source Acropolis Hypervisor and Nutanix Prism software, adding a push-button feature to entice customers to migrate virtualized workloads from VMware vSphere.

The vendor also introduced Nutanix Prism Pro, an optional add-on software license that extends Prism infrastructure management with features for capacity planning and workload optimization.

New features in Acropolis 4.6 center on streamlining data movement between vSphere ESXi hosts and the KVM-based Acropolis Hypervisor. The upgrade is due for general availability in March.

Nutanix launched Acropolis in July 2015, with a long-term vision of moving customers off other vendors' hypervisors. It started with VMware, whose Virtual SAN hyper-converged software competes with Nutanix.

Nutanix refers to its collection of data movement technologies as App Mobility Fabric. The vendor said support for Microsoft Hyper-V conversion is planned in a future Acropolis release.

Nutanix claimed the latest software lets customers reduce the number of ESXi hosts and associated costs for vSphere licensing.

"When you are ready to migrate off VMware, you want it to be risk-free and painless. Today, the process involves a lot of time and manual labor, and that's what we're eliminating," said Sudarshan Srinivasan, a Nutanix director of product marketing.

In addition to one-click hypervisor conversion, version 4.6 provides virtual machine (VM) failover between different hypervisors running in multiple Nutanix nodes. Customers can take Nutanix snapshots and replicate the data to remote Nutanix clusters. The VM will spin up in a different hypervisor than the target host. The VM failover supplements the cross-hypervisor backup and integrated disaster recovery supported earlier, as well as Nutanix Cloud Connect for backups to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Nutanix Prism Pro adds predictive storage analytics

Srinivasan said Nutanix engineered more than 25 software enhancements to improve the performance of its hyper-converged appliances, including the NX-9000 all-flash model. The latest edition of the software reduces dynamic memory allocations and management overhead associated with context switching and locking. Added features include fine-grained checksums, faster I/O categorization, and functional improvements for metadata caching and write caching.

Srinivasan said Nutanix can now deliver 1 million storage IOPS in a 4U appliance.

Nutanix Prism Pro is an automated control plane, with heuristics and predictive analytics on compute, memory and storage. The Prism Pro algorithm, called X-Fit, maps application behavior to forecast when and how much additional storage is needed. Srinivasan likened Prism Pro to VMware's vRealize Suite for managing VMs across hypervisors and hybrid cloud.

"We already have Prism for infrastructure management. Prism Pro gives you a rich set of analytical capabilities. It provides a single tool that eliminates the need for fragmented management components," Srinivasan said.

Colm Keegan, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., said the Nutanix update highlights customers' desire for greater flexibility in alternating hypervisors for different cloud storage workloads.

"They've been talking about how they make data center infrastructure invisible and now allow you to extend that out to hybrid cloud use cases," Keegan said. "The tooling they added with Nutanix Prism Pro helps you identify opportunities for you to reclaim underutilized assets. The larger your enterprise gets, the more useful a tool like that will be."

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