Nutanix is aiming to boost its share of the converged infrastructure market by offering a free version of the software that drives its own technology, enabling IT chiefs to try out the platform on existing hardware before investing.
The Nutanix Community Edition is set to be released as a public beta on 8 June to coincide with the firm's .NEXT user conference, and is a limited-scale version of the full Nutanix software stack that powers Nutanix's own hardware and the PowerEdge XC Series from Dell.
Dubbed hyperconverged infrastructure by Nutanix, the architecture delivers compute and tiered storage inside every node, based on standard x86 server hardware.
However, the software is the key part of the platform, as it clusters a bunch of these nodes and pulls the storage resources into a shared pool.
This architecture has seen Nutanix products gain in popularity for new-build data centre infrastructure, especially for applications such as virtual desktop infrastructure, big data analytics processing and private cloud deployments.
Nutanix Community Edition extends the company's commitment to fostering an open, transparent and community-centric approach to IT solutions for mainstream enterprises, the firm claimed.
The free version enables a complete hyperconverged infrastructure deployment in an hour or less, making it easier for IT professionals and developers to deploy the platform to evaluate how well such infrastructure meets their application requirements, without incurring licensing costs or having to invest in new hardware.
Furthermore, Nutanix said that the release of Community Edition shows that the future of hyperconverged infrastructures is all about software, hinting that the company may no longer offer its own hardware in the long term.
"Community Edition is the next step in democratising hyperconverged infrastructure technology, enabling anyone to experience the transformative benefits of our software," said Nutanix chief executive and co-founder Dheeraj Pandey.
"Only by eliminating the requirement for proprietary hardware and embracing off-the-shelf platforms can the next revolution of data centre technologies be fully realised."
Nutanix confirmed that Community Edition is based on the latest version of the firm's software, but has yet to detail the limits it has placed on the scale that users can reach before they need to switch to a paid-for version of the platform.
Community Edition runs on standard x86-based servers from nearly any vendor, including Dell, HP, Cisco, Lenovo, Supermicro and others, the firm said.
Hardware requirements include an Intel-based server with a quad-core processor with VT-X support, 16GB memory, one or more solid state drives of 200GB or larger, one or more hard drives of 500GB or larger, and an Intel network adapter.
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