Nutanix goes it alone with Cisco certification

It’s been a good week for Nutanix. The hyperconvergence firm has certified its software to run on Cisco’s Unified Compute Server (UCS) platform, further expanding its reach in the hyperconvergence market. It also came out near the top in Forrester’s hyperconvergence market report.

Nutanix, which sells software designed to merge server, storage, and storage networking in a single integrated cluster, runs on commodity x86 servers. With the UCS announcement, it now runs on three of the main four x86 server vendors, it said.

It already runs on Dell, which is shortly to merge with EMC, having signed a global OEM deal with the computing manufacturer in June 2014. Then in 2015, it signed an OEM deal with Lenovo.

Nutanix sells two software products for use on its own and compatible computing platforms: its Acropolis hypervisor, and Prism, its virtualization management software. Their certification on Cisco’s UCS C-series rack-mounted servers was independent, done without Cisco’s help. Nutanix had previously denied rumours of an OEM agreement with Cisco in June.

It brings Cisco customers support for multiple hypervisors and one-click software upgrades, Nutanix said. Lacking an OEM agreement with Cisco, the company decided to go it alone. The firm is now bound to track Cisco’s hardware changes quickly, reacting as they happen.

Forrester cited Nutanix as a leader in the hyperconvergence space in its Q3 Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) Wave report this week. The hyperconvergence vendor now shares the leaders category with Simplivity and Pivot3. Cisco, with its own Hyperflex hyperconverged box, sat in the ‘strong performers’ category along with EMC, HPC, VMware and others.

Hyperconverged firms like Nutanix and others are effectively competing with public cloud providers at this point, explained Jeff Kato, senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group. Their challenge is to produce equipment that’s flexible and expandable to mirror the convenience that public cloud offers. It means that hyperconvergence firms will inevitably try to bridge the gap between the private and public cloud with their software solutions, he believes.

“Nutanix is working on this a lot, where their whole value proposition in the end is that they’re trying to be the enterprise cloud for on-premise,” he said. “But they’re putting a lot of effort into this whole idea of app mobility from their on-premise stuff into the cloud.”

Hyperconvergence is effectively a delivery model for software-defined computing functions such as storage and networking. This software focus will help them bridge that gap and move their workloads between on-premise and public cloud installations, he suggested.

Because their storage is all software-based, it will be far easier for them to do that than it will for other vendors like EMC with its VMAX storage systems, he concluded.

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Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with over 20 years' experience writing about security, software development, and networking.

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