Page 7 - FCW, February 2016
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in our hyperconverged infrastructure. hardware with a distributed file system.
QCould you provide a succinct business case to use in persuading IT leaders to
consider hyperconvergence?
AHoward: Agency heads and business managers are looking
for practical ways to reduce operational costs. At the same time, they have to pro- vide more resources than they did yes- terday. Hyperconverged infrastructure is helping Federal agencies accomplish this today. It’s less expensive to implement and maintain, it’s easier to manage, fos- ters fewer siloed skillsets, and consumes less power space and cooling. It delivers measurable efficiencies across the board.
A great example of this that many will relate to is one-click upgrades. With Nutanix, upgrading software is a matter of logging into our HTML5 GUI and clicking one button. And you can do that during working hours, because it’s non-disruptive. No more maintenance windows – upgrades can be done when IT staff chooses.
The flexibility is another compelling aspect. People are always looking at how they can move away from more expen- sive technologies, such as certain virtual- ization costs. Nutanix provides tools that automatically move them from hypervi- sor to hypervisor. We also have tools that manage multiple types of hypervisors in a single environment.
When you look at everything we bring to the table—quick implementa- tion, reduced administration, a path- way to go from hypervisor to hypervi- sor or from a local environment out to the cloud—it’s easy to see the positive impact this solution has at all levels of the organizations that are leveraging it.
Now, they’re supporting more workloads than they were with the 60 racks they previously used.
QHow does an organization get the hyperconvergence slip-
streamed into the refresh cycle for the datacenter?
AHogarth: We have seen success when an organization picks a specific workload or use case and builds a hyperconverged infrastructure into the stack. The lowered administrative burden of hyperconvergence mini- mizes or even removes the penalty for non-standard architecture and gives the IT group a chance to familiarize them- selves with the new architecture. Virtual desktop infrastructure and Microsoft virtualization are two prime examples of workloads we have seen work with very good results. From that point, it’s just a question of adding workloads and services to the cluster. The flexibility
of a good hyperconvergence platform can accommodate a wide variety of workloads, while optimizing systems for performance and helping drive efficien- cy and agility for better outcomes.
QWhat impact could hyperconvergence have on cloud decisions, such
as storage-as-a-service or infrastructure-as-a-service? Is it an alternate?
AHoward: While a lot of custom- ers in the federal government are looking at the cloud, many of them won’t go for various reasons, such as security or issues with ownership or location of data. We advocate bringing the characteristics of the cloud into your data center. The big cloud providers—Google, Facebook and even Amazon—use commodity
Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure brings that same model of efficiency and scalability to Federal data centers, so it’s very practical to host their own private cloud. And, when it makes sense, move workloads to the public cloud and run them there. The idea is to maximize flexibility. Today, as a technology offering, we have cloud connect capabilities to Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure.
If people want to move workflows to AWS or Azure, they can do so using our technology. If they want to move it back to their datacenter, they can do that too. And that’s really key.
QWhat sizes of organizations are best suited to take advantage
of the hyperconvergence approach?
AHoward: Any organization run- ning virtualized workloads of any size is a perfect candidate. We have gov- ernment customers running VDI, cloud, traditional servers, big data—every type of workload you can virtualize. For a long time, people have been told that if you’re a large enterprise with a big workload, you have to buy something big. That’s really no longer the case. Our largest customer in the federal government has 1,700 nodes of Nutanix. We’re talking
six petabytes of storage and thousands
of servers, all in our appliances running big data workloads. Previously, they were the same as every other federal entity out there, running on traditional servers and SANs with dozens of people on contract to manage it. Now four people are man- aging that environment.
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