Nutanix Preps Kubernetes Distribution

Nutanix this week announced at the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 conference it plans to deliver a curated instance of Kubernetes next year as part of its effort to extend its hybrid cloud computing strategy.

Gil Haberman, director of product marketing, says Nutanix is making available of a technology preview of an instance of Kubernetes, dubbed Nutanix Karbon, within version 5.0 of the company’s Prism Central, the management console Nutanix employs to manage its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) software.

In addition, Nutanix is making generally available Nutanix Era, a tool for automating deployments of databases such as Postgres, Oracle and MySQL and others.

Finally, Nutanix is making available Nutanix Buckets, an instance of object-based storage that is compatible with the S3 application programming interface (API) developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS), via an early access program.

Haberman says Nutanix expects IT organizations to deploy Nutanix Karbon on top of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS, which is an HCI platform that can be deployed in both on-premises IT environments and public clouds to create a hybrid cloud.

In general, Haberman says Nutanix views Kubernetes as means to deploy microservices-based applications within the context of a larger enterprise IT platform. Most organizations will need to run these applications alongside existing monolithic applications running on virtual machines. In fact, he says one of the most compelling attributes of the Nutanix approach to Kubernetes is it will make it possible to run microservices and monolithic applications collaboratively. For example, Nutanix expects many IT organizations will opt to develop web front ends to their applications using microservices, while continuing to rely on monolithic back-end services.

In fact, Haberman says IT organizations are looking to Nutanix to make it easier for them to provision and manage Kubernetes. It’s become easier to stand up a single instance of Kubernetes. But managing Kubernetes clusters at scale represents a significant challenge for traditional IT administrators, especially if and when Kubernetes cluster sprawl becomes a significant issue.

Most microservices-based applications today are deployed on virtual machines. Nutanix got its start by selling hardware optimized around an HCI platform that unified the management of compute and storage. Since then, Nutanix has transitioned into a provider of an HCI software platform that can be deployed anywhere. On the one hand, Kubernetes could be viewed as a threat to that strategy, but Haberman says the rise of Kubernetes will do more to advance the Nutanix approach to hybrid cloud computing. For example, applications running on top of Nutanix Karbon can then rely on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS to access file and block storage along with object storage enabled by Nutanix Buckets, he says.

There are now nearly 80 distributions of Kubernetes that have been approved by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), so one more distribution is not likely to make much of a difference. Nutanix is clearly betting that its distribution will appeal to IT organizations that have already standardized on its HCI platform versus attempting to manage Kubernetes in isolation from rest of their existing IT environment.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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