Nutanix Fractional Consumption models

I googled Fractional Consumption (mentioned in Brandon’s great write-up) and almost everything that came up was related to Nutanix. But the first article was called Buy Less Nutanix! Intrigued I clicked through to the article on the Nutanix website. Here’s the beginning of it as shortened and edited slightly by me:

Buy Less Nutanix!

“So you’re telling me I should buy less Nutanix?”

A CIO said this to me in Tokyo after I showed him our financial modeling methodology. Our sales rep was sitting next to me, so I felt a little uncomfortable, but I responded, “Yes. From a financial modeling perspective, why would you buy more Nutanix than you need? For one thing, maybe you’ll be acquired or something and the additional purchase won’t be necessary. Far more likely, you will love your implementation and want to expand it, but if you wait until you actually need the product, fewer nodes will be required than if you purchase them up-front.”

The Nutanix sales teams help organizations comprehend why Nutanix Enterprise Cloud is game-changing technology. The Client Strategy team’s role is to show how Nutanix also changes the game economically.

Nutanix reshapes the IT economic and operational landscape in myriad ways. One of the most compelling financial advantages results from combining Nutanix’s fractional consumption capabilities with its 1-click software-defined upgrades and the continuing advancements in technology typically associated with Moore’s Law.

Fractional Consumption

SANs, including all flash arrays, have several economic challenges, not least of which is limited scalability. In a traditional 3-tier infrastructure (centralized storage + storage network + compute), adding a new array creates an additional infrastructure silo and requires a painful data migration.

As a result, SAN buyers typically purchase far more capacity up-front than required, but this increases the cost of rack space, power and cooling along with depreciation of the extra hardware. And even if the excess SAN capacity proves adequate until the scheduled product refresh date, the organization faces a forklift upgrade at that time.

Nutanix provides a fundamentally different experience where a mouse click adds additional nodes to the cluster, and older nodes can easily be retired or repurposed. This creates an ‘evolving’ cluster and eliminates silos and painful data migrations.

Nutanix’s capacity forecasting and modeling capabilities make it simple to predict upcoming demand. And buying infrastructure in bite-size pieces rather than large chunks makes it easier to set up a meaningful chargeback or showback system.

1-Click Software-Defined Upgrades

Another economic challenge of SANs results from the tight coupling of the firmware with the underlying proprietary hardware. A SAN customer can’t download a new version of SAN firmware and have her 3-year old array act like new.

Nutanix customers, on the other hand, can do exactly that. With a single click, they upgrade their nodes, regardless of age or location, with the latest Nutanix Acropolis Operating System (AOS) as well as upgrade the underlying server firmware and even the hypervisor. These upgrades take place on an automated rolling basis whereby one node is taken off-line, upgraded, validated, put back on-line and then repeated with the next node, and so on, until the upgrade is complete.

Here is a picture someone tweeted of upgrading their Nutanix nodes from their Tesla. I saw a tweet once by a customer saying that while vacationing on the beach he’d just upgraded his production environment through his iPhone. While Nutanix does not recommend this as best practices, the 1-click upgrades are so simple that it can be done.

While all the nodes have the same AOS and are managed from a single Prism management pane, they also now run new capabilities such as the Acropolis block Services and Self Service Portal introduced in the latest AOS release. And Nutanix has continuously, and significantly, enhanced its software with both increased performance and capacity.

The tweet from Mattias Sundling, for example, boasts about saving a TB in disk. The following tweet from Hugh Devaux relays the 40% increase in IOPs combined with a 50% decrease in latency from upgrading AOS 4.5 to 4.72.

This increased performance and capacity translates into a higher density of VMs per node. Nutanix customers, without changing – or even touching – any of their existing hardware, enable their nodes across the globe to handle more VMs. As they expand their Nutanix environments, they need fewer new nodes than they would sans (pun intended) the 1-click upgrade enhancements.

Moore’s Law and needing fewer new nodes each year

Despite concerns, there is no end in sight for the continued performance benefits of advancing technology, even though the ways in which that performance is achieved, such as using more cores, photonics and memristors, differs from the original precepts.

As Nutanix customers expand their projects over the years, hardware-enabled increases in density can reduce the number of new nodes required to handle the same workloads. This number is can be further reduced when factoring in the increased density of existing nodes resulting from the software-defined 1-click upgrades….

There’s a lot more for eager readers.