A case study in the disruptor getting disrupted.
And also in VMWare confusing everybody just as badly as Nutanix has been. ;^)
Remember, like 6 months ago, a lot of the hype on MF around Nutanix was for the “hybrid cloud” - where an application can be moved seamlessly from the public cloud (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) to your private cloud (which could an supplied via an HCI solution like Nutanix). When Nutanix was really popular here there were more than a few misguided posts (like this on the paid NTNX board: https://discussion.fool.com/4056/maybe-it-doesn39t-matter-but-th… )believing that Nutanix had already achieved that.
They hadn’t. I posted about what was really going on here: https://discussion.fool.com/what-nutanix-really-does-33158672.as…
Where Nutanix is going next is integration with public cloud solutions. They call this Nutanix Xi Cloud Services. Today you can’t instantly run an application on either AWS or your private cloud. … I think one needs to be careful here not to overstate what Nutanix actually does today. Nutanix has some very cool stuff, but they’re promising more in the future in terms of the “hybrid cloud” than they’re actually delivering today. That may mean the company has a big runway of growth, but there’s also risk in if and when they can actually deliver.
So, now with Darth’s uncovering of what VMWare/EMC/Dell have said they’ve done (which does sound really good), it may pay to look at some additional detail (Nov 2018): Another feature called NSX Hybrid Connect, quietly introduced on Cloud Foundation 3.0 this summer but being trumpeted with the latest release, makes it possible to use vMotion to move workloads across clouds, as could previously be done only across server nodes. https://www.crn.com/news/cloud/vmware-upgrades-cloud-foundat…
It sounds like VMWare has stuff that can run on public clouds, and so if you run on VMWare’s stuff on AWS, you can move it to your own private cloud also running that “stuff.” But, it isn’t clear what you have to do on the public cloud and whether the private cloud is one of their HCI instantiated clouds. For instance, they also say:
Among the new features is “multi-site functionality” that allows stretching vSAN storage clusters across data centers in metropolitan areas as one implementation of a hybrid environment, something particularly desirable to European customers
But vSAN isn’t part of an HCI setup! Traditional HCI (is HCI really old enough now to have a “traditional” flavor? Maybe not, but the tech is moving so quickly it feels that way) is really just an easy way to setup one or more machines, each with compute, storage and networking, and have them connected for form a cloud (or cluster). Each node in an HCI cluster/cloud has its own storage, and that storage is shared among all the nodes in the cluster. The whole point of HCI is to not need separate storage units.
What VMWare has done is to use HCI to create stand-alone storage that itself uses HCI like software for setup and expansion. Note that you have to watch out, because VMWare’s “vSAN” is different than Cisco’s “VSAN.” Ugh. I understand why VMWare would think this is a good thing, because traditional HCI provides a balance of compute, storage and networking that is not appropriate for all applications, but still it’s not traditional HCI.
Anyway, if what Darth uncovered is really true, then as he points out, it’s really big and is something that Nutanix’s Xi has been striving for, but still isn’t yet there. I’m not really involved in this space, so it’s hard for me to separate the promise hype from the actual reality. It does sound like if you’re running applications in the public cloud on the right set of VMWare software already that you could then setup a private cloud that provides the same environment to those apps, making migrating them very easy. That doesn’t mean that the private cloud is as easy to setup as Nutanix’s HCI, and it also means that you have to run inside the VMWare stuff in your public cloud, which you may not be doing and so porting over to that may be harder than just migrating the app to a private cloud.
But, even if true, is this ease of migration really the killer use case for HCI?