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Nutanix expert on cloud potential and the future of data centres

Nutanix expert on cloud potential and the future of data centres

With the Middle East expected to show the most public cloud growth over the next two years, we spoke to Aaron White, Regional Director – Middle East at Nutanix, at the company’s .NEXT On event in Dubai about the potential for cloud and the future for data centres in the region.

What are the key findings of Nutanix’s Annual Global Enterprise Cloud Index?

Nutanix conducted its first annual global Enterprise Cloud Index, measuring the plans that businesses around the world have for adopting private, public and hybrid clouds. As enterprises demand stronger application mobility and interoperability, they are increasingly choosing hybrid cloud infrastructure as opposed to just private or public clouds.

While the advent of public cloud has increased IT efficiency in certain areas, hybrid cloud capabilities are the next step in providing the freedom to dynamically provision and manage applications based on business needs, besides the price tag being cheaper.

  • The report found that businesses plan to increase hybrid cloud usage, with 91% stating hybrid cloud as the ideal IT model.
  • It is clear that public cloud is not a panacea. Over a third of organisations using public clouds overspent their annual budget.
  • Application mobility across any cloud is a top priority for 97% of respondents.
  • Data security and regulatory compliance are the top factors in determining where to provision their workloads
  • Over half of the respondents said their developers are circumventing IT when it comes to deciding where applications run, putting the organisation at potential risk.
  • With organisations moving to the hybrid cloud model, finding and retaining hybrid IT talent is proving to be a big challenge

 How do the results of the study relate to in the Middle East?

The UAE and Saudi were included as part of the study. Both countries threw up similar results and are grouped into a ‘Middle East’ bucket when reporting findings:

  • The Middle East runs slightly fewer workloads in traditional data centres and outpaces the global and EMEA regional averages in its deployment of hybrid clouds
  • Today, the Middle East runs half (50%) of its workloads in private and hybrid clouds
  • In the next 12 to 24 months, companies in this region intend to move significant. numbers of workloads out of their traditional data centres. Based on survey responses, Middle Eastern companies’ data centre penetration is expected to drop from 37% today to just 14% in that time frame.
  • Public cloud use shows the most growth in the Middle East over the next two years. Public clouds will then account for more than a third (36%) of the region’s overall workloads, followed by hybrid clouds at 29%, and private clouds and traditional data centres, collectively at 35%.
  • While controlling public cloud spend was revealed to be a universal challenge among global respondents, the Middle East seems to be doing better than its peers with just 31% of the Middle Eastern respondents reported being over budget with their public cloud services compared with 36% of global and EMEA respondents.
  • In addition to managing their public cloud budgets better than their peers on average, Middle Eastern respondents more often reported that public clouds fully met their expectations than the rest of the world
  • Data security and compliance and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) were ranked as the top benefits of using a public cloud in the Middle East 

Aaron White, Regional Director – Middle East at Nutanix


Hybrid Cloud is mentioned a lot. Are most businesses aware of its benefits?

It is clear from Nutanix’s global Enterprise Cloud Index that organisations worldwide, including those in the UAE, are aware of the benefits of hybrid cloud, with 91% of the enterprises surveyed stating hybrid cloud as the ideal IT model.

The reasons for this sea change away from the traditional data centre are many. In essence, however, organisations are both switching on to the benefits of the cloud – on-demand scalability, pay per use economics and so on – and, at the same time, becoming wise to the fact that not all clouds are the same.

As a result many are opting for an application-centric approach to IT, and choosing the best home for their apps – be that a public or private cloud – rather than modifying apps to always fit one chosen platform.

Few are sticking with just one cloud and many would like to be able to move workloads around between clouds – for both technical and financial reasons – and it is this ability that has been ranked above cost and security concerns in the Enterprise Cloud Index survey.

Unfortunately, we’re some way off being able to turn this aspiration for free movement of apps into a reality. Today there is a real lack of visibility when apps are deployed across a hybrid mix of clouds. Simply put, if you can’t see an app on every cloud it touches you can’t hope to manage it and fix it when things go wrong, or make sure it stays compliant. And you certainly can’t automate the processes involved.

What is the relevance of Nutanix in today’s cloud computing era?

Most, if not all, businesses today are digital, when you consider the technologies they consume for every function, from human resources and accounting, to marketing and internal communications.

What is driving this are the internal ‘clients’- the departments looking for this functionality, and not the IT teams supporting them. Increasingly, the cloud – and, indeed, a multitude of clouds – is an attractive platform for businesses to manage and run their applications, often with the familiarity and simplicity of applications individuals might use in their own private lives.

Thus, businesses needing flexibility, scalability and freedom have been using public cloud services, but this comes with challenges of usability and flexibility, and even a ‘lock-in’ to unknown costs and unused capacity as well as data and application mobility. This has rendered some IT staff focused on tactical management, reactive problem solving and blind discovery, versus thinking about the ‘customer experience’ within their organisations. Simply put, IT is losing relevance and influence at a time when no technology transition has ever been bigger.

The antidote to public cloud lock-in is the freedom to easily move between clouds. It includes knowing the costs, the ability to choose the right location for the right data, and the peace of mind that security and governance are not an afterthought. It is about blurring the lines between public and private, between renting and owning. Because it’s not all about technology. It’s about what the technology enables.

At the heart of freedom is knowledge. There is tremendous value in using knowledge to empower IT and reclaim control over a new definition of cloud infrastructure. The infrastructure is a stop on the journey, not a destination in and of itself. The ability to choose the right workload on the right platform with the right cost is really what everyone was looking for in the first place. Public cloud is not the enemy yet being wholly locked into it is. IT wants the power to make informed decisions and to own influence and control of IT decisions and spending.

The real solution is about making the cloud – as a whole – invisible. It’s about hyperconverging the cloud. It’s about a hybrid cloud environment with a seamless experience between public and private clouds so that the ‘where’ becomes secondary to the ‘how’. How can we enable our company to scale? How can we deliver new applications? How can we control costs? How can we get visibility into our entire infrastructure? How can we make better, more informed decisions?

Nutanix puts the reins back in the hands of IT. Giving IT organisations freedom to focus on the customer experience. Empowering businesses to be agile and build future-forward hybrid cloud infrastructure that is invisible to the organisation but makes the IT team visible. Not just visible – empowered and relevant. 

Why is Nutanix a leader in Cloud and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)?

Cloud computing and hyperconvergence are becoming the fundamental technology engine for Digital Transformation initiatives, including customer engagement, internal operations and updated business models. Nutanix has been declared a ‘Leader’ again in the November 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyperconverged Infrastructure.

The company has also been named as a leader in ‘The Forrester Wave: Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Q3 2018’ published by Forrester Research, Inc. Nutanix has scored an average of 90 in NPS (Net Promoter Score) for four consecutive years.

We believe this is a strong validation of our company’s leadership in the market it pioneered, and our vision to become the next generation operating system for the enterprise cloud.

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software makes infrastructure invisible, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power businesses. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform blends web-scale engineering and consumer-grade design to natively converge server, storage, virtualisation and networking into a resilient, software-defined solution with rich machine intelligence. The result is predictable performance, cloud consumption models, robust security, and seamless application mobility for all enterprise applications at any scale.

Why was 2018 a great success for the company?

In 2018 Nutanix successfully introduced market-changing technologies, along with created new partnerships to enable the company to stay ahead in a very competitive marketplace.

At the company’s annual NEXT. conference in London in November 2018, Nutanix announced the general availability of Xi IoT, a new edge computing service offered as part of the company’s Xi Cloud Services. Nutanix Xi IoT brings intelligence to the edge and enables best practice for edge computing. The company also launched Xi Cloud Services for the modern multicloud era. This new suite of offerings is designed to create a more unified fabric across different cloud environments, that gives IT teams the freedom to run their applications on the optimal platform, not restricted by technology limitations.

In August last year year Nutanix acquired Frame. With Frame, Nutanix customers will be able to deliver desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) from multiple clouds, combining the consumer-grade simplicity and web-scale design of cloud applications with the functionality of traditional virtual desktop applications.

Earlier in 2018 the company launched Nutanix Beam, a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that delivers multi-cloud governance so organisations can manage their spending, security and regulatory compliance across nearly any cloud platform. Beam is based on Nutanix’s recently-acquired Minjar Botmetric service, which is already used to manage more than US$1 billion of cloud spend across Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. In the multi-cloud era, IT organisations need a unified, real-time view to all of their private, public and distributed clouds. Beam services help our customers optimise their cloud spend and manage compliance, putting them back in control of their IT assets.

The strategic acquisition of Netsil in early 2018 added next-generation application discovery and operations management to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS. The company recently launched Nutanix Flow, a software-defined networking (SDN) solution built for the multi-cloud era. Flow provides application-centric security to protect against internal and external threats not detected by traditional perimeter-oriented security products. Flow capabilities are enhanced with real-time application visibility and discovery technology from Netsil.

What is Nutanix’s roadmap for 2019?

In line with the global vision, on a regional level Nutanix will continue to position itself as the next generation operating system for the enterprise cloud. We have Gartner’s validation of being a leader in the Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) space. We want to be the first vendor that comes to mind as a trusted partner when enterprises in the region are ready to transform their data centres, their IT operations and their businesses. We will continue introducing market-changing new technologies and bringing on board top new talent and partners to enable the company to stay ahead in a very competitive marketplace.

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