Data centre infrastructure firm Nutanix has expanded its product line-up with its first all-flash compute-and-storage appliance for demanding applications, plus a new high availability feature in its software platform that enables Nutanix clusters to be mirrored across multiple data centres.
Available now, the NX-9000 Series are the first appliances from Nutanix to feature all-flash storage, rather than a combination of flash solid state drives (SSDs) and standard hard drives.
It is intended to deliver better performance when running applications with large data sets, such as databases supporting online transaction processing, the firm said.
The Nutanix platform combines x86 server hardware with internal storage resources inside each appliance, plus a software layer, Nutanix OS, which pools resources across a cluster of appliances.
It thus keeps computing and storage as close together as possible, enabling it to deliver the required performance and latency for demanding applications, according to Nutanix.
"Flash belongs inside the server. There is no value in having all-flash storage area network arrays," said Nutanix chief executive Dheeraj Pandey.
Currently, the NX-9000 series consists of just one model, the NX-9040. This contains two x86 server nodes, each a dual-socket system with 3GHz Xeon E5-2690 v2 processors, up to 512GB memory and six SSDs, of 800GB or 1.6TB capacities.
This is sufficient for handling up to 115 virtual machines, dependant on workload, with pricing starting at $100,000 per appliance.
Meanwhile, the new high availability feature, called Metro Availability, is set to be delivered in the forthcoming 4.1 release of Nutanix OS.
The feature gets its name because it will support synchronous mirroring of data stored on Nutanix clusters across two or more customer sites separated by distances up to 400km, such as might be covered by a metropolitan area network.
Nutanix, which claims to be the first converged infrastructure vendor to natively support such a capability in its platform, said that Metro Availability will ensure continuous data availability for business-critical applications.
In addition, Metro Availability will enable IT managers to non-disruptively migrate virtual machines between sites ahead of planned maintenance events, eliminating or greatly reducing downtime.
Nutanix has been one of the pioneers in offering this kind of converged infrastructure, but it has gradually been accepted as the best architecture for operating virtual machines, and other vendors are starting to get in on the act.
Pandey said that Nutanix planned to keep ahead of rivals by offering better customer support, and superior management tools that make use of analytics.
"We're now spending lots of time and effort on the control plane with analytics and visualisation tools, rather than the data plane," he said, adding that "ease of use will be our biggest saviour".
Nutanix has already announced a partnership with Dell to offer its software on a new line of Dell PowerEdge servers.
Although this could be seen as a risky move for the firm, Nutanix said that it would actually grow its user base through the move, as the deal would see its platform being deployed inside large enterprise accounts that it would have struggled to win over otherwise.
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