Nutanix .Next 2019 Copenhagen Big Announcements

Hi, this is an overview of most of the big announcements at Nutanix .Next 2019 Europe Conference that took place in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 8-10.

With the battery of announcements already fired at .Next US earlier this year, honestly I didn´t expect any earth-shaking news from it´s European counterpart, and I couldn´t be more wrong. Let´s dive in!

Automation through ServiceNow

Single-pane-of-glass, single-pane-of-glass….you dig it. Now WHICH ONE?

In the past I´ve seen many automation projects go south, mainly because the automation tool of choice was integrated poorly with CMDB and Service Portals (which are often heavily customized).

Another horror offered to final users in their path to Private Cloud Heaven is yet another separate IT Self-Service Portal which is, more often than not, poorly integrated with existing tools like IPAM, CMDB, Ticketing, Incidents & Change Management, etc). This is not because of lazyness (maybe just a little bit) but mainly because it´s an extremely hard thing to do and, as a bonus track, this is actually a never-ending process.

In all fairness I have to mention VMware vRA, which has been around for a while now and also offers some level of integration with ServiceNow, among a plethora of other systems. It seems to me that VMware is, in that aspect, propelled to move in multiple directions at once (in part due to it´s larger ecosystem of tech partners), and in the other hand Nutanix seems to be choosing their battles very carefully.

For Nutanix Customers using ServiceNow as their main tool for Self-service access to IT Services, Nutanix announced some serious integration between both platforms.

This integration between Nutanix Calm, Prism Pro, Era and ServiceNow is aimed at accelerating the automation of most common (and some not-so-common) IT processes.

HCI Discovery in ServiceNow

  • End-to-end visibility into cluster, hosts, VMs, storage pools and storage containers.
  • Real-time asset map provided by Prism Pro

Alerts Integration

  • Prism Pro with ServiceNow´s ITSM service. It uses Prism Pro X-Play for enabling a webhook associated to Nutanix Alerts
  • Seamless IT incident logging and auditing (X-Play actions)
  • Delivers an auditable trail and approval flow for Apps and Infrastructure

Provisioning Automation

  • Calm plug-in for ServiceNow. This allows users to provision all their Calm blueprints by simply opening a ticket in ServiceNow.
  • Option for t-shirt sizing or runtime attribute update for application through ServiceNow
  • Self-service capabilities to provision, manage and scale applications
  • Summarized view of assigned blueprints, requests / execution / incident status

Pre-requisites

The Calm Plugin is free and available on the ServiceNow Store and X-Play, which is needed for Alert integration is part of Prism Pro.

Xi Clusters

After some of the Public Cloud frenzy cleared, there was an undeniable truth that prevailed: First step to Public Cloud is Private Cloud.

Private cloud is not HCI alone (but it´s a great start!). But what is most important about simplifying your IT infrastructure with HCI is that it´s best suited to get along with monitoring, automation, security, metering, billing, and self-provisioning tools upper in the stack. All of this should be a requirement when talking about Private Cloud.

Nutanix stack + AHV covers A LOT of this ground.

IMO only once your IT infrastructure reaches this maturity point , you should evaluate connecting it to a Public Cloud.

Then you suddenly vRealize that all the constructs you maintain in your Private Cloud might not have their correlatives in the Public Cloud. That´s because all major Public Cloud Providers use their own software stack (hypervisor, SDN, SDS, monitoring, security regulations compliance, etc.) , based on their hyper-scale needs, which might be different that yours.

One thing that would definitely make things a lot easier when connecting to a Public Cloud is having the same software stack on both ends. VMware made its move with VMware on AWS and VMware on Azure, in their attemp to accelerate Public Cloud adoption for their customers.

Following that direction, Nutanix Xi Clusters is an upcoming offering that enables enterprises to run AOS clusters in Amazon Web Services (AWS). These Nutanix AOS clusters runs on bare metal EC2 instances and are managed via Prism Central, providing nearly identical functionality to on-premises AOS environments.

Customers will be able to leverage their existing AWS accounts, credits, VPCs, VPNs and Direct Connect configurations.

Xi Clusters enables operators to manage applications and infrastructure in AWS exactly as they do with on-premises infrastructure. Using the same software on both clouds, operators reduce operational complexity of extending or migrating applications and data. Operations teams can use the same skillsets, tools and practices used on-premises to manage applications running in AWS. 

One really cool thing about this is that Nutanix supports portable software licenses that can be used with on-premises hardware or running on AWS bare metal instances. In the end you buy the software from Nutanix, and you buy the instances from AWS which is another step forward in Nutanix urged transformation, going from hardware to software and going from software to subscription.

Additionally, Xi Clusters enables organizations to optimize public cloud resource utilization by supporting both on-demand AWS pricing or convertible reserved instances. This gives customers the benefit of obtaining commitment-based prices, but paying only for the time those instances are used.

Xi Beam

Beam already offered security compliance audits for Public Cloud, now Nutanix is extending this offering to on-prem based on AHV Nodes.

This means that the same security teams now can manage Security at both ends using the same tools.

This includes 300+ Security Audits for Nutanix Environments, including PCI Compliance reports for Flow, AHV, AOS and Prism

Security Compliance V1

  • PCI Compliance for Flow, AHV, AOS & Prism
    • Network Security Controls
    • VM Security Controls
    • Data Security Controls
    • Access Security Controls
  • Requires one on-prem VM per PC
    • Beam service is SaaS
  • Only available for AHV environments initially

Architecture is pretty simple, you only need to deploy in your on-prem environment a single VM per Prism Cental instance:

This VM will handle all communications between the on-prem environment and the Beam SaaS.

Regarding cost optimization use cases, Beam now includes the ability to perform Showback and Chargeback.

TCO Model definition includes a lot more than hardware and software costs. Facilities costs over each DC, cost of IT Admins, telecom costs, 3rd party software, etc, can be defined so that the TCO Model can be as accurate as possible.

Finally, Beam also suport the ability to detect / perdict Spot Instances and automatically migrate some workloads into these instances . Spot instances are based on Spare capacity that Cloud providers offers at big discount prices (sometimes between 60% to 80% off).

Since Spot Instances can be reclaimed by Cloud Providers with no heads-up, Beam has also the ability to predict what Spot instances might be reclaimed by the Cloud Provider, and automate the migration of affected workloads back to on-prem.

For those of you with a MyNutanix account, Beam is available as a 14-day free trial at the MyNutanix portal.

Nutanix Insights

Imagine a service that’s intimately familiar with your infrastructure deployment. It would have an expert understanding of the entire Nutanix software stack, including supported versions, recommended compatibilities, Field Advisories and Known Issues. Combined with a thorough understanding of Nutanix best practices, it can discover insights into your deployment and provide infrastructure configuration recommendations for specific use cases and workloads.

  • Nutanix Insights are created from combination of Pulse metrics and this deep understanding of the Nutanix software stack.
  • Actionable Discoveries enable IT operators to focus their attention on improving the health, availability and performance of their Nutanix deployments with a view of prioritized ‘discoveries’. These include all software version lifecycle and compatibility gaps (i.e. End-of-Life software, or incompatible BIOS firmware versions)
  • If a Call-to-Action is more involved and requires a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE), then automated workflows including support case creation, collecting relevant logs, diagnostic data and assigning an SRE streamlines issue assessment and resolution.
  • Smart Support empowers IT operators to easily differentiate between discoveries that are best served by themselves, or those best served by Nutanix Support.

HPE GreenLake with Nutanix as a Service

HPE Greenlake with Nutanix offers another way to consume IT: Nutanix software that is billed on on per-use basis to avoid expensive overprovisioning (No charge up-front)

  • HPE direct quoting available on Oct 9
  • Channel ordering: Mid-November
  • First deliveries: Mid-November
  • Availability: all 50+ countries where HPE GreenLake is offered

It simplifies the deployment process

NVMe / Optane Support

This has been announced previously many times but finally we got some clarifications on platforms supporting NVMe and Optane drives. Let´s see:

AOS currently supports

  • All NVMe platforms (AOS-5.11.1 & FND-4.4.3)
  • Intel® Optane™ SSDs (AOS-5.10.7 & FND-4.4.4)

Upcoming support

Intel SPDK (storage performance development kit) support to drive fastest possible NVMe performance

Platforms with All-NVMe

Will be available on November 2019 (NX-8170-G7 nodes)

  • 8 Drives; fully populated
  • Intemixing of nodes in the cluster
    • Allowed with NVMe + SAS/SATA SSD nodes ro All-SAS/SATA SSD nodes

Platforms Supporting Optane

Will be available mid-October on Intel Data Center Blocks (DCB) platforms

Buchanan Pass models (Intel DCB S2600BPB & S2600BPS)

Configuration per compute node:

  • 2 Optane P4800x NVMe drives (750GB or 1.5TB)
  • + 4 NAND-based SATA drives

Wolf Pass model (Intel DCB S2600WF0)

Configuration per compute node:

  • 4 Optane P4800x NVMe drives (750GB or 1.5TB)
  • + 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, or 20 NAND-based SATA drives

And that´s a wrap! Sorry for the long post, I hope you find this information useful and please stay tuned for more on these topics soon. Thanks!

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