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Why more companies are setting their sights on an invisible data centre

Nutanix technology makes IT infrastructure increasingly hidden

26Oct

When Italian bank, Credito Valtellinese admits to forgetting the very existence of the Nutanix technology which powers the organization’s IT infrastructure, it is a rare example of a positive oversight.

In a similar vein to a good waiter, IT infrastructure that is doing its job, shouldn’t really be noticed at all, instead ticking over seamlessly in the background, only to command attention when there is some kind of disruption to the operation.

It’s the reason why identifying the most transformative, robust and resilient solutions which can keep critical systems running 24/7 has become the Holy Grail for many businesses in the never ending quest to optimize efficiencies. This scrutiny and drive is heralding a new era for the data centre environment - one that is on the cusp of entirely invisible infrastructure.

Leading the charge is San Francisco-based Nutanix, the pioneer of converged infrastructure, whose raison d’etre has been to transform the entire make up of IT infrastructure by driving down cost and complexity and rethinking the approach to storage and compute for a virtualised world.

Within a short space of time, this radical approach has become the go-to solution for over 1,700 multi-sector enterprises from banks, airlines and social housing organizations to one of the world’s largest privately-owned health clubs. All are reaping the benefits of a configurable and scalable network which can evolve seamlessly with business needs, shape new business models and exploit new ways of working.

In driving this architectural approach, known as web-scale IT, Nutanix took the lead from the global cloud services of Google, Amazon and Facebook, who in their mission to deliver IT services to millions, realized they would have to devise their own software-defined hugely scalable and resilient IT infrastructure rather than relying on costlier and restrictive proprietary solutions and custom hardware.

As the benefits of the new approach became more commonly known, Nutanix soon emerged as the go-to solution equipped to bring web-scale IT to the masses and fuel the more mainstream adoption with affordable and tailored packaged solution to fit business requirements.

It’s a process which began with the launch of the flagship hyperconvergence software-centric architecture six year ago. By integrating compute and storage into one commodity hardware box, this marked the first major milestone on the journey to data centre invisibility with the server hidden for the first time and the three tier SAN architecture eliminated.

A core differentiator established from the outset, and which remains a major draw, is the ability to transform the usually complex process of network expansion through an easy to use, scalable ‘pay as you grow’ model. Here, the infrastructure’s capacity and performance can be enhanced simply by adding additional computing nodes with no need to replace or upgrade existing servers, and all in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the days that traditional architecture would take.

And now things are moving up a gear as virtualization joins the server in becoming invisible with the launch of the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform which raises the IT enterprise bar even further. Comprising two stand out solutions Nutanix Prism and Nutanix Acropolis, the software integrates virtualisation into the platform to simplify operations and deployment. And it represents an industry first through the flexibility afforded to the IT professionals who are empowered to making the infrastructure decisions based on the requirement of the application, be it a traditional or emerging hypervisor. Indeed, this drive for an ever more versatile solution to negate the restrictions that come with a proprietary vendor extends even further, exacerbating multi-hypervisor adoption which flourishes in a network where complexity is reduced, as competing solutions drive a greater commoditization in this market.

Indeed, for the diverse range of operating environments now embracing Nutanix solutions, enhanced agility is one of the defining characteristics not only leading to significant cost savings and efficiencies, but also driving new service delivery and ways of working as a result.

It’s a case in point at Sondrio-based Credito Valtellinese where Nutanix has brought virtualization to the bank’s data centres in Sondrio and Milan to better respond to ccomplex processes such as acquisitions that have demanded an ever more agile approach to delivery.

Nutanix Xtreme is powering a new era in an organization with a heritage dating back to 1908, as it transitions from a focus on a physical branch environment to a more mobile way of both banking and working. Customers gain virtual access to the bank’s services while staff work on the move via notebook and virtual desktop solutions.

A different domain, but the impact is proving to be just as transformative is at health club Fitness First. Six figure cost savings are on the cards having replaced the complex and expansive legacy data environment with a hybrid cloud using Nutanix converged infrastructure. The move has seen the previous several hundred servers culled to just two Nutanix hyper converged storage and server racks saving cost and space and leading to far greater flexibility. The result is a business that is far better placed to respond to the level of IT demands which have escalated in line with business growth, beginning with the one club in London in 1993 to a business which now has 1 million members and 370 clubs in 16 countries.

An invisible future has never been so clear.

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