Nutanix’s Project Beacon Lights The Way To A Unified Hybrid Multi-Cloud Future

Background

In the hybrid-cloud world, every infrastructure has a distinct way of managing workloads. Every cloud, even on-prem consumption-based offerings, forces a different control plane. Unfortunately, for all the flexibility that the cloud enables, that flexibility is offset by increased complexity. This is a problem facing nearly every enterprise IT shop.

Nutanix’s Cloud Manager offering was built to simplify the complexity of managing multi-cloud infrastructure. Nutanix Cloud Manager offers an IT administrator the ability to streamline operations as workloads are deployed and managed across cloud boundaries. It has a strong value proposition, but Nutanix told us today at its annual .NEXT event that the value prop is getting even better.

News: Project Beacon

Today Nutanix announced Project Beacon, which is Nutanix’s over-arching framework for removing the pain of deploying services across cloud boundaries. It also promises to remove much of the vendor lock-in that comes with building cloud deployments using the proprietary management tools offered by the cloud providers.

Giving IT administrators a single management plane is a compelling vision that speaks to the real problems that IT shops face daily. In addition, abstracting away the intricacies of specific cloud services and doing that in a way that equally applies to on-prem deployments reduces the complexity of managing workloads across a hybrid-cloud infrastructure. 

Nutanix Project Beacon Block Diagram

Nutanix Project BeaconNUTANIX

Project Beacon describes Nutanix’s strategic direction towards helping IT organizations navigate the new realities of hybrid cloud. Project Beacon will deliver a consistent management experience across environments, all enabled with a single API and console and full Kubernetes cloud-native integration. With Project Beacon, Nutanix intends to provide a suite of platform services that will allow automated mobility, portable licensing, develop self-service, along with the necessary data governance, compliance, and data protection features needed.

Project Beacon is a compelling vision that builds on the work that Nutanix already does with its Nutanix Cloud Platform. This week we see some of the latest offerings that map to the vision promised by Project Beacon, and it’s all positive.

Hybrid Multi-Cloud Management

The first step in providing a hybrid-cloud management solution is delivering a cloud-based management plane to manage clusters across domains. That’s what the new Nutanix Central delivers, providing a nice update to the Nutanix Cloud Platform.

Nutanix Central does everything you want to see it do, providing control and metrics across an organization’s overall infrastructure. One of the things that stands out is the new federated identity and access management capabilities. The new IAM features give IT organizations the flexibility, control, and accountability required to deploy across cloud boundaries. Nutanix clearly understands how IT shops operate in these environments.

Block Diagram of Nutanix Cloud Central

Nutanix Cloud CentralNUTANIX

Nutanix also announced a slew of new capabilities for the Nutanix Cloud Platform. These include a new ability to scale compute-only and high-performance storage nodes independently, new simplified networking, and micro-segmentation using Flow Virtual Networking and Flow Network Security.

Data Services for Modern Applications

Kubernetes-based cloud-native technologies provide the framework for modern application architecture. At the same time, Kubernete’s origins in managing stateless applications continue to peek through, with less-than-robust support for data services. 

Nutanix recognizes the importance of Kubernetes within modern IT infrastructure and is trying to solve some underlying issues within native Kubernetes data management. Its new Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes (NDK) is designed to give IT administrators better control over cloud-native applications. NDK brings Nutanix’s enterprise-class storage, snapshots, and disaster recovery technologies to Kubernetes.

Block diagram of Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes.

Nutanix Data Services for KubernetesNUTANIX

Anything that simplifies storage for Kubernetes is net positive, and IT administrators will appreciate the tools Nutanix delivers with this update.

Nutanix also announced its new Multi-cloud Snapshot Technology (MST), which allows Nutanix data services to snapshot directly to cloud-hosted object storage. The first integration is, naturally, with Amazon’s AWS S3 storage. This is a nice feature that will better enable cross-cloud data protection. MST is also natively integrated with Nutanix Data Services for Kubernetes, extending the benefit to containerized workloads. 

Block diagram of Nutanix Multicloud Snapshot Technology.

Nutanix Multicloud Snapshot TechnologyNUTAIX

Analysis

This week’s announcements further Nutanix’s journey into enabling a universal cloud operating model, allowing IT administrators to run workloads and manage data across traditional cloud boundaries. This is a crucial differentiator for Nutanix, offering consistent management across endpoints, integrated security, self-service and on-demand resources, governance, and complete license portability. It also solves real-world problems for IT organizations of nearly every size.

Of course, Nutanix isn’t alone in this market. VMware is trying as hard as Nutanix to solve some of these problems. The challenge for VMware, which offers Nutanix an unusual window of opportunity, is that a heavy cloud of uncertainty hovers over the company as it navigates a lengthy and complex acquisition by Broadcom. 

While VMware isn’t going away, there are significant questions about the level of innovation the company will deliver moving forward, how licensing might evolve, and a dozen other unanswered questions. Unfortunately, the uncertainty isn’t unfounded. We don’t know what’s going to happen.

The aptly named Project Beacon points to the way to an exciting future. Project Beacon, along with all of the announcements unveiled at .NEXT this week, demonstrate that Nutanix understands the complexities and realities of delivering IT services in a hybrid-cloud world as well, or better, than any of its competitors.

Disclosure: The author is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.