Nutanix is looking beyond enterprise customers and aiming to bring the benefits of its hyperconverged infrastructure to smaller companies with a newly developed platform and a turnkey solution for virtual desktops in partnership with Citrix.
Nutanix has already enjoyed some success with its products, which integrate compute and storage resources into an appliance-like node optimised for running virtualised workloads, typically in scale-out data centre environments.
The firm has now unveiled Nutanix Xpress, a reworked version of its platform that offers turnkey deployment and brings the price down to a level that many small to midsize organisations can afford as a replacement for traditional servers.
At the same time, Nutanix has launched InstantON VDI for Citrix, which pairs its existing platform with XenDesktop as a turnkey solution for operating virtual desktops.
The firm defines small to mid-size firms as having about 500 employees, a market which it believes offers a $50bn opportunity for its products.
Set to be available from July, Nutanix Xpress provides a platform that is simple to deploy and can be managed by a single IT professional, according to the firm. A basic three-node configuration starts at about $25,000 (£17,285), which provides a platform capable of operating all the IT services required by a small organisation.
"A lot of small to medium businesses have approached us because they were interested in our technology, but a lot of these companies may have just a single person managing the entire stack," said Nikita Maheshwari, senior product marketing manager at Nutanix.
"They have very tight budgets, and they don't really have time to learn a lot of specialised skills, so we need to give them a technology they can use out of the box to make sure they can focus on running the business."
The three-node configuration is required for resilience (protection against failure), and Nutanix has managed to reduce costs partly by using its own Acropolis hypervisor, which is based on the KVM technology in Linux, rather than having to license commercial ones.
Each appliance is sold on a configure-to-order basis so that customers can mix and match compute, storage and memory to meet the needs of their applications.
This includes a choice of processors up to the Xeon E5-2640 v4, a 10-core chip clocked at 2.4GHz, up to 512GB of memory, and storage options comprising SSDs up to 1.9TB and hard drives up to 6TB.
However, the vital piece of the platform is new software in the shape of an Xpress Edition of the Nutanix platform. This is pre-integrated with the hardware nodes so that the platform is supplied ready to go.
Maheshwari stressed that the platform includes Nutanix's Cloud Connect feature, which makes it easier for customers to link on-premise infrastructure with Amazon's AWS or Microsoft Azure cloud services for backup and recovery, or just offloading some data storage to the cloud.
Meanwhile, Nutanix InstantON VDI for Citrix is based on the firm's existing enterprise platform, but optimised for hosting virtual desktops. It provides a turnkey solution for mid-size firms with Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition pre-installed.
"It's a joint Nutanix-Citrix solution designed to simplify VDI deployments by offering every component required for VDI in a single validated stack," Maheshwari said.
"The goal is to reduce the burden on small IT teams and give them the leading VDI technology as well as next-generation infrastructure in one bundle."
Available immediately, InstantON VDI for Citrix starts at $415 (£285) per seat with three years support included. It can scale from a deployment supporting just a handful of end users up to hundreds as the organisation grows, according to Nutanix.
Nutanix is not the only firm that sees potential in the SMB market. HPE introduced a turnkey appliance for running IT services and applications last month that is managed for the customer by a service provider.
Meanwhile, vendors such as Dell already offer ready-built VDI appliances, and virtual desktops are available as an on-demand service hosted by a number of cloud service providers.
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