Key Takeout's from Nutanix .NEXT
Written by: Stuart McEwan
Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first ever Nutanix .NEXT conference in New Orleans, LA. I knew the trip was going to be interesting when I boarded my first flight, AKL-LAX, on a Saturday afternoon and sat next to two lovely Americans who asked where I was off to. “New Orleans”, I replied. “Oh no honey, that’s not what you say, it’s pronounced Nawleans, or NOLA”. Sure thing. So now I had the local lingo sorted I flew to LAX. I had the pleasure of an 8-hour stopover, so I jumped in an Uber and spent a few hours in Venice beach, unfortunately with suitcase in tow, and then back to LAX for the short hop to MSY and the crazy place that is NOLA.
One of the advantages of working for a great company like BEarena who partners strongly with Nutanix was that I got to fly in early, arriving on the Saturday night and giving myself a couple of days to acclimatise before the conference started on the Tuesday (for Nutanix partners) with Wednesday being the main public kick off. I had time to soak up the sights, atmosphere and smells of Bourbon Street, which is actually a lot nicer when you run down it at 6AM which I did on the Sunday morning. Great way to clear the head after much sleep deprivation thanks to ~26 hours of travel from door to door! Later that day I met up with a number of the Australian crew from various companies who had made the long trip for .NEXT and enjoyed their company for a few hours on a brewery tour and then onto dinner in the evening.
For day two I joined up with some more ANZ (Australian & NZ) mates, embarking on a 4-hour bike tour where we got to get out of the French Quarter and see some great sights followed by dinner and a couple of drinks with more of the ANZ team. Nothing too crazy happened, honestly…
Tuesday was where the Nutanix magic started to happen, arriving at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center it was amazing to see the size of the show that was about to happen, after a couple of partner only sessions where we were allowed to fire any questions we had at some of the Nutanix product and technical selling experts followed by a partner welcome and preview of what was coming up. It’s always nice to get the inside scoop just ahead of everyone else.
I also had the privilege of meeting the founder and CEO of Nutanix Dheeraj Pandey, it was amazing to see him wonder up to the Director of my company, Darren Ashley, and casually say “Hey Darren, how are you?”, we couldn’t resist a photo or two with such a nice guy.
Wednesday was the big kick off with the morning Keynote announcing a number of new products followed a full-on day of breakout sessions. I managed to squeeze a few in but was more interested in networking in the solutions expo hall and making new contacts and friends, just bumping into random customers from around the world and chatting to them for 5 minutes helps give you an insight of why people chose Nutanix. The evening keynote was also fascinating, hearing from the likes of Nutanix President Sudheesh Nair, it was also great to see a fellow Kiwi on stage, Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the CEO of Flywheel Sport who gave her entire interview sat on a training bike, never seen that done before! Wednesday night was the big .NEXT party, held just next door (I’ve never walked so far to get “just next door”) at Mardi Gras World, where we got to sample more great food and drinks whilst looking around the place and being treated to music by Kool and The Gang, what a treat!
Thursday was kicked off by myself with another early morning run, this time managing to catch sunrise over the river by pure luck, the running gods were smiling at me that morning. This was followed by a much-needed American style team breakfast with our customers from ANZ before tackling the final day ahead.
We finished with another full-on day of Keynotes and sessions, with some great inspirational talks by Dr Brene Brown and Anthony Bourdain who certainly didn’t hold back on his views of things like the way we eat sushi (badly) and vegetarians (I can’t mention the word he used to describe them), very entertaining. I was just gutted I wasn’t one of the 350 who won a signed copy of his book. We also attended a few more sessions, the most interesting of which to me was the final one of the conference and covered the DR solution that is coming soon from Nutanix, can’t way for that to go GA (hurry up Nutanix, please). It will allow customers to have a full DR solution that runs inside Prism Central with everything required to protect your machines and make them run again in another site if needed, RTO’s, RPO’s run-books, recovery plans, fail over/fail back, virtual machine IP re-addressing, documentation etc.
Some of the key takeout’s for me from the entire week were as follows:
This is the Nutanix SDN solution that simplifies network and policy management with a focus towards applications – enabling applications and environments to be governed independent of the physical infrastructure. It can also provide additional network functions by enabling partners and other 3rd party virtual networking solutions to integrate directly into the virtual network. Tightly integrated with Calm, Prism and AHV virtualization, Nutanix Flow delivers the power of software defined virtual networking with the simplicity and elegance of the Enterprise Cloud OS. Micro segmentation helps to protect against advanced threats that are capable of propagating from machine to machine by segmenting virtual networks and applications to permit only necessary communications between application tiers or other logical boundaries via native stateful VM firewall. Visualisation allows you to take the mystery out of network policy creation. Before a policy can be created and enforced the behaviour of an application must be understood. By allowing the policy owners to visualise the discreet communications between VMs that make up an application, that understanding becomes possible. Creating policies for the allowed traffic then becomes a simple repeatable process.
Beam is a multi-cloud optimisation service delivered as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS. It provides visibility and analytics detailing cloud consumption patterns, along with one-click cost optimisation across your cloud environments. It also gives you Cloud Control to visualise and control consumption of cloud resources, Cloud Confidence for visibility into your multi-cloud environment and ability to optimise with one-click, Cloud Compliance with cloud security and compliance for multi-cloud environments with one-click remediation for vulnerabilities and Cloud Convenience, as planning cloud consumption is critical for cloud optimisation and improving Cloud ROI.
Era (Not GA yet) is a suite of software tools which automates and simplifies database management, as well as providing lifecycle management. Era utilises Nutanix application snapshots.
- One-Click Time Machine – Era creates space-efficient database snapshots and enables databases running on Nutanix to be cloned or restored to any specific point in time, up to the last database transaction.
- One-Click DB clone/refresh – Enabling one-click clone/restore database operations in just a few minutes, up to the last database transaction.
Nutanix Calm continues to be one of the most talked about features. Calm provides peace-of-mind with application automation and lifecycle management for Nutanix and public clouds, as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform. With Calm, you can finally focus on what really matters – the application. Calm orchestrates the provisioning, scaling and management of applications across multiple environments, making the entire IT infrastructure more agile and application centric. Calm empowers your team with self-service, dramatically streamlining daily operations and eliminating the wait for specialised resources.
Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS) 188.8.131.52
AFS continues to evolve into an even better File Server. With AFS 3.0, Nutanix added the following features:
- NFS v4 Support – AFS now supports the Network File System (NFS) v4 protocol. It enables you to manage a collection of NFS exports distributed across multiple file server VMs (FSVMs). With NFS, users can now use Linux and UNIX clients with AFS. This feature is also hypervisor agnostic.
- Third-party Backup Integration – AFS supports an application programming interface (API) that allows third-party developers to implement backup server change file tracking. When a third-party backup solution is enabled, the API allows the application to record and collect information about any changes to the files in each snapshot sent to the backup server, thus providing a log of all file changes across snapshots.
- File Activity Monitoring – AFS supports an application programming interface (API) that allows third-party developers to implement file activity monitoring in their applications. The API allows an application to collect information about every action on each file in a file server and supports two use cases:
- File monitoring. The API allows applications to record and collect system logs for each file server and make those logs accessible to an administrator through, for example, a syslog server. This provides an external auditing record of all file events and operations for each file server.
- Global name space. When changes are made to files within the file server, the changes can be replicated between multiple remote and home sites. The API allows applications to distribute a global name space where users in one site can create files that are replicated to all sites. Although AFS is local to one site, it can distribute the name space across multiple sites.
- AFS Cluster Network Change (Re-IP AFS) – You can now change the managed/unmanaged network settings of the file server FSVM cluster to support moving the cluster from one datacenter to another, updating VLAN settings, or other use cases where you need to change network information. For unmanaged networks, you can change the FSVM cluster virtual IP address or IP address of each FSVM.
- Share and Export Statistics Now Available – The File Server dashboard in the web console now displays additional storage and share / export statistics and provides downloadable file server graphs.
In summary, it was one hell of a week. It left me very tired but very grateful to have been there and meet so many awesome people. Bring on the next .NEXT in Anaheim 2019. Disneyland here we come!!!