Providing what they call the new building block of virtualization, Nutanix is a scale out storage and compute system that provides both compute resources and storage in the same node. Each node contains two six core xeon CPUs, with 48GB of RAM (expandable to 192GB). For storage, each node contains 5TB of HDD storage, 320GB Fusion-io ioDrive and 300 GB of SATA SSD storage.

George Crump, Senior Analyst

Briefing Note

Nutanix is not a client of Storage Switzerland

Similar to a scale out storage infrastructure as you add additional virtual hosts, you are adding additional storage capacity and storage performance but now you are also adding host performance. The advantage is that you can start with a low entry price and then grow the system with you.

This combined storage and compute cluster allows for moving VMs between hosts as it would be in a traditional virtualized infrastructure with a SAN but without the complexity of setting up that SAN. The difference is that this SAN and compute infrastructure came turnkey. Just connect the blocks, add power and start creating VMs.

The simplification of the purchasing, implementation and operating processes can’t be overstated. With each upgrade you are automatically getting what you need for optimal performance. Compared to the traditional model of adding hosts and storage separately this has got to make life easier for everyone involved.

The other key attribute that Nutanix shares with a storage only scale out storage system is that it moves beyond no single point of failure and into a world of multiple points of redundancy. It has cluster-wide replication capabilities, transparent vDisk motion as well as integration with Veeam Backup & Replication.

Storage Swiss Take

Nutanix has taken the Google-like scale out architecture, packaged it up and optimized it for virtual environments. While larger vendors are trying to do the similar things with their bundled virtualization solutions, there is a big difference between bundled and integrated. I am always hesitant to declare a product a “game changer” but Nutanix may have just done that with their Nutanix Complete Cluster.

Each Nutanix “block” contains 4 complete x86 server/hosts in a 2U space bringing the total to 8CPU’s/48 cores, 192GB RAM (expandable to 768GB), 20TB of HDD storage, 1.3 TB of Fusion-io and 1.2 TB of SATA SSD.

Storage is aggregated across the block allowing each node access to the combined capacity and for each node to participate in serving up data to the requesting VM. Nutanix also provides transparent data movement for high performance data tiering between the SSD and HDD storage areas. It also provides VM cloning, thin provisioning and converged backups for maximum capacity optimization.