With all that is made of the competition between blade server manufacturers and the growth of the blade server market in general, is there room for another type of condensed computing in the data center? Have we been going about things all wrong with regard to architecture design?
Nutanix thinks so.
Nutanix is a start-up company geared towards delivering a simplified virtualization infrastructure with a strong focus towards eliminating the need for a SAN. Their clustered solution brings storage and compute together which theoretically reduces expense, reduces complexity, and improves performance. On its own it doesn’t really seem that innovative but the secret sauce is how they make the cluster scale and tier/span data across all nodes without sacrificing performance. Each node has the usual compute resources plus a mix of local SSD and SATA hard disks. There are 4 nodes per 2u enclosure called a “block”. Add more blocks and you have a Nutanix cluster. The software stack scales and balances everything between the nodes and blocks. The technology originated from the architecture that companies like Google and Facebook employ in their data centers. Assuming that can be taken at face value, the scalability potential is phenomenal.
So what’s the big deal?
Well my thinking is that if you can eliminate the need for a SAN (for virtualization) then you can definitely eliminate the need for an enclosure of blade servers. No interconnects. No Enclosure. Simplified network architecture. No SAN. What’s not to love?