Nutanix – High Octane Virtualization Performance for the Enterprise

Some interesting new tools for the Enterprise have started to emerge.

Start-up Nutanix has launched its first product, a slim, virtualized server that is clustered together with solid state and hard drive storage that can be managed under a single GUI.

Their overview states:

Founded in 2009, Nutanix is the first company to offer a radically simple compute and storage infrastructure for implementing enterprise-class virtualization without complex and expensive network storage (SAN or NAS). Founded by a team that has built scalable systems like Google File System and enterprise-class systems like Oracle Database/Exadata in the past, Nutanix is based in San Jose and is backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Blumberg Capital.

Nutanix’s Complete Cluster is 2U-high (3.5-in.) VMware-based appliance can grow both CPU and storage capacity dynamically, adjusting it to the performance requirements of an application.

An example: a single 2U enclosure contains four x86 nodes or what Nutanix refers to as blocks. Each block contains 8 Intel Xeon processors with a total of 48 cores and 192GB RAM (upgradable to 768GB) for running virtual machines.

The appliance also includes 1.3TB of PCIe-based flash storage from Fusion-io, 1.2TB of SATA solid state drives (SSDs) from Intel and 20TB of traditional SATA hard drives from Seagate for storing virtual machine data.

Each 2U enclosure can grow by adding blocks, each of which is connected to the last through a 10Gbit/sec Ethernet connection.

Similar to some larger storage area networks (SANs), the Complete Cluster product is able to dynamically migrate data from higher performance storage, such as Intel’s SSDs, to higher capacity storage, such as Seagate’s hard drives, depending on the performance matrix surrounding the data.

The Fusion-io PCI-e flash cards are used to store metadata about the data so that it can be indexed and mapped for later retrieval no matter where it resides in the storage system.

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj claims the Complete Cluster appliance can offer savings of between 40% to 60%, and as much as 10 times the performance over traditional virtualized server/SAN architectures because the storage sits directly next to the virtualized server CPU.

The product has a starting price of $115,000. For that, you get one Complete Cluster with four nodes. There is also a starter kit with three nodes that retails for $75,000. A full rack, with 18 complete blocks or 72 nodes, retails for $2.07 million.

While Nutanix’s product is similar to clustered NAS systems such as EMC’s Isilon or Panasas in that it uses an x86 architecture, it’s differentiated in its inclusion of virtualized server CPUs.

Read more about Nutanix and their products here: http://www.nutanix.com/