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Nutanix is hosting their .NEXT conference this week, and we're trying to give a condensed list of announcements and notes from sessions we were able to attend. This is our recap for Day 2, and you can also get our main takeaways from Day 1. This is not all-inclusive so if you think we missed something really important, post a comment below and we can update the article accordingly.

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We often hear that companies are "engineering-led" but the actions don't always match the words. I have to admit that Nutanix really surprised me during the Day 2 opening keynote with how technical some of the demos were. We'll get into a few of the announcements below, but I actually want to jump to the end and the closing keynote.

Mike Rowe (from Dirty Jobs) was a guest speaker who opened up the session with Wendy Pfeiffer, Nutanix CIO, with some interesting perspectives on some world issues we're all a part of today. I highly recommend taking 5-10 minutes to listen if you can.

Nutanix also invited a panel of security experts who commented about security challenges that organizations face on a daily basis. Spoiler alert: Nutanix offers solutions with their Flow Security Central product, but I found the talk track from Yong-Gon Chon very compelling and introduced something we should all try to do -- focus on what you can control. The keynote is available on-demand if you're interested in hearing the talk.

The opening keynote was jammed packed with announcements. We'll try to disseminate what we believed were some of the bigger ones with additional details and context, but below is a screenshot from the ending slide presented to give you an idea.

Nutanix announcements
Nutanix announcements

Database as a Service - Era

We mentioned yesterday that support of Intel Optane SSDs (which we've covered in the past) combined with Nutanix Era would be a match made in heaven. Nutanix solidified that statement during the keynote with some announcements around Era, their Database as a Service product.

First and foremost, Nutanix has introduced support for SAP HANA with Era functionality. Not only does Era take database management to the next level, removing concerns of performance bottlenecks with Intel Optane propels the offering even further.

A much sought-after feature that customers have been asking of Era is multi-cluster support. Imagine having the ability to run your databases on a production cluster, utilizing time machine to restore to a different cluster in order to either run tests against production data or simply run batch processing without affecting production. Nutanix officially announced this functionality, and we can't wait to see it in action.

Don't know what we're referencing when we talk about the ease of database management? Check out our on-demand Nutanix Era Database Orchestration Lab to see for yourself or learn more about it.

Calm as a Service

Looking for an automation and orchestration platform? Calm is a potential answer to your problem. Looking for that same functionality but with a cloud-hosted controller? Calm is THE answer to your problem. 

This means that no additional hardware is required to deploy Calm and start adopting application deployment automation. The best part: this cloud-hosted product is available as what we assume to be open beta. You can sign up if you'd like to get access.

Prism Ultimate

It appears to be a bit of a challenge to find additional information from the conference website, but here's what we do know about this product. At a high level, Prism Ultimate expands on the feature set of Prism Pro. It appears that Nutanix has integrated components of their Beam cloud monitoring and compliance platform into Prism Ultimate to extend functionality on-premises. 

Some quick highlights:

  • Consumption monitoring, chargeback,  budgeting and cost optimization for on-premises and cloud workloads.
  • Application and infrastructure monitoring.
  • Application discovery and mapping.
  • Monitors both Nutanix and non-Nutanix infrastructure.
  • Provides detailed reporting with insights and recommendations.
  • Heavy lifting/analytics done off-cluster freeing up resources for end-user applications.

There are a lot of tools out there that can provide individual dashboards for some of the features above, and we're looking forward to getting our hands on this to see how it differentiates.

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Sessions attended

Below are some quick recaps of some of the sessions we were able to join.

Nutanix Files - Part 2

We joined Part 1 yesterday and were excited to listen to Part 2. Here is everything else Files will be offering in the near future:

  • Role-based access controls for access to the analytics metrics.
  • Customized reporting based on user-defined parameters (Q4 CY20).
  • Ransomware protection to detect and block known ransomware attacks (Q4 CY20).
  • Data age analytics through Capacity Explorer with custom age definitions (Q4 CY20).
  • Nutanix Files on Nutanix Clusters (AWS / Azure).

And finally, the last bullet which requires it's own section and the feature that we are most excited about:

  • Automatically tier cold data to the cloud (Q1 CY21).

From looking at the slides, it appears that this feature will be supported with Nutanix Objects, AWS S3 and Azure Blob. Customers will keep a single-name space which means users won't know whether they are accessing the file locally in the cloud. Allowing customers to keep the frequently accessed data local on fast media and automatically tiering off cold data to cheap cloud storage is a much-welcomed feature!

Xi Leap

Xi Leap is interesting to say the least, but let's clarify the difference between Leap and Xi Leap. Leap is the automated runbooks that Nutanix offers for disaster recovery. Xi Leap is utilizing those runbooks but restoring to a Nutanix operated cloud. This is an important distinction to make. Both of these products have been around for some time but there were a few reinforced concepts that should be pointed out, as well as a new feature:

  • Xi Leap is subscription-based. There's no need to maintain a remote disaster recovery site.
  • Customers can change their snapshot retentions between sites to help keep storage costs down.
  • New feature: Near-Sync replication introduced down to 1 minute. This will depend on customer change-rate and available bandwidth.

Lifecycle Manager (LCM)

LCM can create a love-hate relationship depending on who is asked, but the demo we saw should move most to the "love" side. The new LCM from Nutanix becomes the single source of truth for all software and firmware upgrades. This statement shouldn't be the wow factor, but what does warrant this is the interconnectedness for ALL Nutanix software.

As an example; if a customer is running several Nutanix products such as Prism, Prism Central, Calm, Files and maybe Karbon, Nutanix will upgrade all these different pieces of software through LCM. More importantly, if the customers would like to only upgrade Files due to a new feature, LCM will ensure to select all other dependencies (software or firmware) for upgrades to ensure compatibility. This is what deserves the "wow." No more checking the release notes to see what version works with what for the entire Nutanix portfolio.

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Day 2 success

As Nutanix likes to say, it takes a village to make things like this happen, and today it appears the village came prepared and executed flawlessly. We looked at the schedule for Day 3, and there doesn't appear to be much that would warrant a separate article. So with that, this concludes the Nutanix .NEXT conference recap.

Some exciting things are lined up for Nutanix to help them further differentiate themselves in the market and we're excited to be at the forefront. Anything you want to discuss further? Sound off in the comments below or reach out to us directly.