In the fast changing IT industry, virtualization is becoming one of the biggest game-changers, as more companies today rely on the benefits it brings in at every level of business operations. Globally, organizations, irrespective of its size, are moving towards virtual, cloud-based and hybrid systems to improve business continuity and IT management processes.
Sudheesh Nair, President, Nutanix Technologies in an exclusive interview with Techseen, discusses how the company has taken to change the way data centers have operated traditionally and how it plans to tap the local Indian market.
Techseen: What are Nutanix’s objectives for cloud computing?
Nair: The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform aims to bring cloud-like operational simplicity to enterprise data centers. If the enterprise data center behaves and operates like a public cloud, then application demands will drive private cloud vs public cloud (aka “buy vs rent”) decisions, instead of vendor-driven requirements that are imposed on enterprise IT users.
Our objective is to support any workload, any environment, and any application type: multiple clouds, use a hybrid cloud, or have a cloud-ready on-premises IT infrastructure, our virtualization and cloud solutions simplify data center operations, improve service delivery, and enable cloud initiatives. It helps reduce administrative overheads by hundreds of hours per year, by practically eliminating the need for storage management through intuitive, consumer-grade centralized management, VM-centric operations, and outstanding performance insight.
Techseen: As startups and SMBs grow into bigger companies, they need to deal increasingly with enterprise-like regulatory issues. How have you improved the enterprise-readiness of your cloud platform?
Nair: The Indian market is fast changing and companies are gearing up for this change, moving from traditional hardware-centric model to software defined infrastructure. Emerging technologies such as cloud, data analytics and IoT, the IT infrastructure market is growing at a significant pace. While it would take time for this transition, the Nutanix solutions are convenient and can be added to an existing infrastructure. This means that an organization can migrate to cloud-based storage gradually and not in one go, making it financial more viable.
Techseen: What according to you is driving cloud computing adoption today? Alternatively, is anything inhibiting cloud adoption?
Nair: Cloud has become synonymous with availability and convenience of computing solutions at a manageable cost, and the future will bring more opportunities and challenges as more consumers and businesses continue to adopt cloud-based services. Success in the coming years will be defined by their ability to deliver digitally enhanced products and services. Customers will look for new browser-based apps as an alternative for applications that require installation for convenience, and software vendors will have to move more services to the cloud.
CIOs are looking at ways to achieve the most cost efficient total expenditure with the best value added for their businesses. Application solutions, IT infrastructure, and services are being procured differently, moving from on-premise to cloud.
Previous concerns and challenges relating to security, confidentiality, reliability, and integration are now giving way to questions of choice, negotiating strategy, and exploitation for maximum benefit. All industry sectors are realizing the reduced costs and higher efficiency from cloud are already being realized.
Techseen: When you talk about a shared infrastructure, there are concerns around security and quality of service. What is your take on this and what steps have you taken to ensure security over the cloud?
Nair: In the not too distant future, cloud computing will become a ‘dispersed utility’ and we will come to regard it in much the same way that we view our other core utilities such water, gas and electricity. While the cloud may be flexible and cost-efficient, a lack of data safeguards and compliance standards makes security the largest hurdle to leap.
Through our Enterprise Cloud Platform, we are already helping companies and organizations bring the public cloud experience into their own data center infrastructure, so they can maintain full control over information security and data privacy. That way, companies can enjoy the scalability, flexibility and efficiency of the cloud, without having to worry about handing over security and quality of service to a third-party.
Techseen: What are the components of Nutanix’s enterprise-grade platform for building private clouds?
Nair: We started from converging compute, virtualization and storage into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine intelligence. Our Enterprise Cloud Platform is uniquely built using web-scale engineering and consumer-grade designing to deliver agility, resilience, fractional consumption, and invisible operations to our customers.
As adoption of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud rapidly increases, one of the top questions we get is the difference between a “Private Cloud” and an “Enterprise Cloud”. Private Clouds have been around for close to 10 years in one form or another. Some enterprises — including Nutanix customers — have built modestly successful private clouds based on VMware, Microsoft or OpenStack-based software while many others have tried and failed.
In short, the enterprise cloud brings the goodness of public clouds to enterprise data centers. But instead of the “top-down” approach of private cloud solutions, enterprise cloud introduces a “bottom-up” approach.
The “why” and “what” of private clouds and enterprise clouds are very similar. The “Why” – bring public cloud-like agility to enterprise data centers. The “What” – seamlessly deliver infrastructure services for applications and services. It is the “How” where they differ.
Techseen: How does Nutanix empower customers to make smart decisions for their data centers?
Nair: With the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, we aim to bring the Amazon experience in our customers’ data centers. Customers are embracing this idea of building their own cloud, and realizing that hyper convergence is here to stay, but only as a feature of the bigger offering.
The core focus of the company is to make the infrastructure and components of the technology invisible, making it simpler for customers to focus on the applications that matters to the organizations. Supporting our customers to be successful in what they do best has already been our ultimate goal.
Techseen: How do you see enterprise cloud computing evolving over the next couple of years?
Nair: Enterprises are realizing the benefits of on-demand, pay-as-you-go infrastructure and following in the footsteps of the early adopters. Cloud solutions providers are building new enterprise-grade solutions aimed at both public sector and corporate customers. We expect this growth to continue as more and more companies shift their infrastructure to the cloud. One of the challenges for customers is to get a good balance between getting the convenience and flexibility without losing control and getting locked-in by cloud providers.
Techseen: How do you fit in the local Indian market? Can you provide some insights into your tie-ups and partnerships with the government and companies here?
Nair: Indian market is fast changing. We have seen more and more enterprises and government departments (Central & State) looking at adapting enterprise cloud technologies; to improve efficiency as well as to reduce costs. With important government initiatives like Digital India, technology and innovation is here to grow.
For Nutanix, India is an important part of our growth strategy and we will continue to focus on key sectors including central and local governments, banking and finance sectors as well as service providers, to offer high-performance and cost effective enterprise cloud solutions. In fact, we work with leading companies in every industry vertical, be it airline, IT & ITeS, manufacturing, financial services and so on.