In 2018, over half of organisations globally envisioned running all workloads exclusively in either a private cloud or the public cloud one day. Today, most enterprises see the inevitability of running workloads across more than one IT infrastructure, according to this year’s Enterprise Cloud Index report by hybrid multi-cloud computing company Nutanix.
In Singapore, 67% of IT teams are embracing hybrid multi-cloud, wherein they use a mix of private and public clouds, multiple public clouds or an on-premises data centre along with a hosted data centre. All respondents in Singapore also moved apps between infrastructures in the past 12 months. They did so to strengthen their cybersecurity posture, comply with regulations or integrate with cloud-native services.
However, running on hybrid multi-cloud comes with challenges. This includes the lack of visibility about where all their data resides and cloud costs, particularly since moving apps across environments can be complex and costly. “[Realising this, Nutanix is continuously working] to hide the complexity of hybrid multi-cloud through our platform to help businesses run better while giving them flexibility at every layer of the IT infrastructure stack. We also offer portable licences so customers can run apps and data anywhere,” says Rajiv Ramaswami, Nutanix’s president and CEO, at the company’s .NEXT conference in Chicago last month.
One platform to rule them all
“When organisations embrace hybrid multi-cloud, they expect to gain the flexibility to run their apps and data wherever it makes business, financial and technical sense — be it in the public cloud, on-premises, hosted or edge infrastructure. This means they need to have one platform offering a unified set of tools and control across all their IT environments. That way, organisations can move their apps and corresponding data (as needed) without remodelling or retooling them, as well as manage their entire technology stack with one console,” Daryush Ashjari, Nutanix’s vice-president of sales engineering for APJ, tells DigitalEdge.
Nutanix Central is one such solution. It breaks down silos by providing a single console for visibility, monitoring and management of all data and apps across an organisation. It will also support multi-domain use cases, including federated identity and access management, global projects and categories, and global fleet management. This allows IT teams to deliver self-service infrastructure at scale while remaining in control of governance and security.
With Nutanix Central, an organisation with hosted data centres in multiple locations as well as different public cloud vendors across geographies can enable a centralised governance and security programme. Similarly, retailers with a large number of stores would greatly benefit from having one control plane to manage edge locations.
Forever New, an Australian apparel retailer, is one organisation that has benefited from having a single pane of glass to control and manage their data and apps with Nutanix.
“We’ve seen performance improvements after deploying Nutanix, including halving the time needed to generate reports from our data warehouses. Backups now take one-tenth of the time it previously took, and we can pull customer details in under one second too, which is crucial for us to offer good omni-channel experiences to customers. Thanks to all these, we’ve freed up our IT resources so that they can focus on higher-value tasks,” shares Ben Tobgui, group head of infrastructure and operations at Forever New, during a media briefing on the side of the .NEXT conference.
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Write apps once and run anywhere
Apart from enabling apps to move across IT environments easily from the infrastructure layer, Nutanix is also working on Project Beacon to enable more flexibility on the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) level.
This is because the PaaS that developers use to build and ship apps faster can cause lock-in since they are tied to specific public clouds. As such, organisations may be faced with high switching costs if they need to move their apps to a more suitable IT environment to address regulatory or business requirements.
“Project Beacon is our vision for enabling developers to write apps once and run them anywhere by delivering data-centric PaaS-level services that are no longer tied to a single infrastructure provider. We hope to enable enterprises to fully embrace the benefits of hybrid multi-cloud, not only at the infrastructure layer but also at the app data layer,” says Ramaswami.
As part of Project Beacon, Nutanix aims to deliver platform services through a single application programming interface (API) and console, which is integrated with Kubernetes container orchestration and offers consistent management across environments. This suite of data-centric platform services will be characterised by a consistent and simplified management experience, automated mobility, portable licensing, developer self-service, with built-in security and governance for cloud operations teams.
Through these services, developers will have access to a suite of data-centric PaaS services — whether in native public cloud, on-premises or at the edge — while the operations teams would be able to maintain full control of data governance, compliance and data protection.
Nutanix is starting with database services for Project Beacon as those services serve as the foundation of all apps. As part of this effort, the company aims to extend the customer benefits of the Nutanix Database Service (NDB) solution as a managed service in the public cloud. This will build on the NDB database automation and management experience already available on Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure as a managed service on native public cloud infrastructure.
The company would then expand to the most popular data-centric platform services, such as streaming, caching and search. The goal of this effort is to deliver all key elements needed to build modern apps so that developers would not have to rely on solutions that will lock them into a single infrastructure.
“Organisations have come to rely on public cloud services to accelerate the speed of development and innovation, but there are trade-offs in terms of complexity, cost, lock-in, and more. With Project Beacon, Nutanix aims to reduce lock-in and increase app development simplicity through unified management, automated mobility and the ability to write apps once and deploy them as needed on appropriate infrastructure,” says Dave Pearson, research vice-president for infrastructure systems, platforms and technologies, at market intelligence firm IDC.