In the last few years, the adoption of cloud computing has grown exponentially, revolutionizing the way organizations manage their IT assets. One of the key concepts that has gained popularity is the “hybrid cloud”, an operating model that combines the best of public and private cloud services in a single flexible solution. To deliver new hybrid cloud solutions that combine application agility with unified management between private cloud and Azure, Microsoft has entered into a strategic partnership with Nutanix, leader in hyperconverged infrastructure. This article will explore the key details of this strategic partnership, illustrating how hybrid cloud solutions offered by Azure and Nutanix can help companies achieve their digital transformation goals, while ensuring security, reliability and efficiency, essential for success in the cloud era.
Recognizing the need to offer solutions that fit specific customer needs, Microsoft Azure was designed from the ground up with the goal of reducing cost and complexity, while improving reliability and efficiency. This vision has materialized into a comprehensive platform that offers choice and flexibility for your IT environment.
Moving to the cloud is not always a smooth process and there are situations where existing on-premises platforms continue to play a vital role. Azure enables customers to adopt the cloud at their own pace, ensuring continuity in the use of already known local platforms. This opportunity has long been available for VMware and is now also available for Nutanix.
What are Nutanix Cloud Clusters (NC2)?
Nutanix Cloud Cluster (NC2) are bare metal instances that are physically located within public clouds, including Microsoft Azure and AWS. NC2 runs the core of the Nutanix HCI stack, which includes the following main components:
- Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV): the Kernel-based Virtual Machine-based hypervisor (KVM) open source;
- Nutanix Acropolis Operating System (AOS): the operating system that abstracts the Nutanix components to the end user, such as KVM, virsh, qemu, libvirt and iSCSI, and which manages the entire backend configuration;
- Prism: the solution that provides administrators with centralized access to configure, easily monitor and manage Nutanix environments.
The Nutanix cluster on Azure will consist of at least three nodes. SKUs available for NC2 on Azure, with core details, RAM, storage and network are available at this link.
The connection of the on-premise environment to Azure is supported both via Express Route, both via VPN Gateway.
An example of implementation of NC2 is shown, from a networking point of view, in Azure:
Main adoption scenarios
The adoption of the Nutanix solution in Azure can take place to address the following scenarios:
- disaster recovery and business continuity;
- need to expand your data center;
- need to quickly and easily migrate your Nutanix workloads to Azure
Benefits of this solution
The main benefits that can be obtained by adopting this solution are reported.
- Adopt a consistent hybrid deployment strategy: a consistent hybrid deployment strategy can be established, combining on-premises resources with Nutanix clusters in Azure. This allows you to operate in a homogeneous way and without diversity between the two environments.
- Easy activation and scalability: with Azure, you have the ability to easily activate and scale applications and services without encountering particular limitations. Indeed, the global infrastructure of Azure provides the scalability and flexibility necessary to meet changing business needs.
- Optimization of investments made: you can continue to leverage your investment in Nutanix tools and expertise.
- Modernization through the potential of Azure: with Azure, it is possible to modernize the architecture through the integration with innovative and cutting-edge services. In fact,, once customers activate their Nutanix environment, can benefit from further integration with Azure, enabling application developers to access the full ecosystem of services offered by Azure.
Customers must bear costs to purchase Nutanix software and must pay Microsoft for use of cloud resources. Nutanix software on clusters can be licensed in several ways:
- BYO licenses (Bring Your Own): this type of license allows customers to use their own Nutanix licenses they already own or are purchasing. In this way, customers can port their on-premises licenses to NC2. It is important to note that the Nutanix AOS license must be of the Pro or Ultimate type, since the AOS Starter license cannot be used with NC2.
- PAYG (Pay-As-You-Go): this licensing model provides hourly payments based on the number of cores used or SSD usage. Customers pay only for resources actually used during the time the cluster is active.
- Cloud Commit: this model requires a minimum commitment from the customer for a specific period of time. Customers commit to using Nutanix resources on NC2 for a specific period and receive preferential rates based on that commitment.
Microsoft offers support for NC2 bare metal infrastructure on Azure. To request assistance, simply open a specific request directly from the Azure portal. Nutanix, instead, provides support for NC2 Nutanix software on Azure. This level of support is called Production Support for NC2.
Thanks to the collaboration between Microsoft and Nutanix, this solution offers customers who already have a Nutanix on-premises environment the possibility to take advantage of the same features also in the Microsoft public cloud, also allowing you to access the wide range of services offered by Azure. This solution makes it possible to adopt a consistent operating model, which can increase agility, the speed of deployment and resiliency of critical workloads.