Converged infrastructure firm Nutanix has come up with a novel way of helping potential customers try its platform before buying by allowing them to deploy it virtually on the AWS or Google public clouds and gauge how suitable it is for running their applications before committing to a purchase.
Available from today, the new offering is based around Nutanix Community Edition, a free version of the software on which the Nutanix platform is built. Community Edition was released earlier this year as a limited-scale version of the commercial platform, designed to let IT departments try it on existing hardware before investing in a full converged infrastructure deployment.
The new move takes this a step further, and allows IT departments to try the platform without even having to procure any on-premise hardware for the purpose, according to Greg Smith, senior director for product and technical marketing at Nutanix.
"Our strategy is to expose as many people as possible to our version of hyperconvergence, and we've been very successful in doing this so far. Community Edition has become a major component in that go-to-market approach, but we want to make it even easier," Smith told V3.
In addition to Community Edition being feely available as a download, Nutanix now offers the opportunity to run it on-demand in a public cloud environment.
"This eliminates the need to procure and configure hardware in order to run hyperconvergent software, so it's the first time that companies can evaluate Nutanix without having the expense and labour of dealing with on-prem equipment. They can simply run it in the cloud," Smith explained.
Customers can then proceed to a full deployment or a more traditional proof-of-concept using a Nutanix appliance in their environment that will allow them to fully evaluate performance.
The new offering has been created through a partnership with Ravello Systems. The company's Smart Labs technology enables users to package environments - even application stacks comprising several virtual machines - and deploy them onto AWS or Google Cloud.
It can take as little as 25 minutes to have an application up and running on Nutanix on AWS or Google, according to Nutanix, but the firm is not suggesting that this should be used for stress testing.
"What we're really recommending with this deployment is that you use it to get a sense for our Prism user interface, get a sense for the different functionalities, but not to do any rigorous testing," said Nikita Maheshwari, Nutanix senior product marketing manager.
The Community Edition itself is free, but customers have to pay for the cloud resources required to run their test instance, although this starts from as little as $1 per hour, the firm said.
The Nutanix platform is based on integrating compute and storage resources into one or more appliance-like nodes, which are then used to operate virtual machines and a pool of software-defined storage to serve them.
Nutanix started out building and selling its own hardware appliances, but the firm has signed up Dell and now Lenovo to offer hyperconverged solutions based on their respective hardware platforms.
The ability to run Nutanix Community Edition on demand in the cloud will also help the firm's channel partners.
"It will really enable our channel community to quickly give demos of Nutanix, whether they are at a trade show or a customer site, without having any hardware barrier," said Maheshwari.
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