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By | Simon Sharwood 23rd March 2015 17:56

Nutanix 'working on a homebrew hypervisor', sources tell El Reg

Hyper-converged hyper-hipsters hatching ... we're not entirely sure, actually

We're not quite sure why Nutanix would be working on its own hypervisor, but apparently it is, The Register has learned.

Sources on both sides of the Atlantic tell us development work on the hypervisor has reached an advanced state. The startup, based in San Jose, California, expects to talk about its efforts at its user conference .Next in Miami between June 8 and 10.

Nutanix converges storage and compute: its software takes clusters of server nodes filled with processors, memory and drives, and turns them into pools of storage. Virtual machines, running on top of hypervisors on the servers, can access the storage pool as a whole.

The upstart is hypervisor-agnostic: its hyper-converged boxen support VMware's ESXi software and Microsoft's Hyper-V. It's also made big investments in personnel highly adept with both platforms, so it can help customers do whatever it is they want to do on Nutanix-branded hardware.

So why a new hypervisor?

One other piece of information we've heard about the hypervisor is that it is on the small side, perhaps even deliberately lightweight. That could mean it's a platform for microservices and/or containerized computing, bonded to a hyper-converged platform. Lots of companies offer hyper-converged platforms for virtual machines. Hyper-convergence for containers is yet to attract a crowd.

Another reason for a new hypervisor is that since Nutanix hit the market with its brand of hyper-converged infrastructure and software – which can be swiftly installed and and spun up – VMware and Microsoft have followed it to market.

VMware's EVO:RAIL and Microsoft's Cloud Platform System are direct challenges to Nutanix: they signal that VMware and Microsoft are attempting to define their own deeply integrated hyper-converged infrastructures.

Other rivals have created products that try to do an awful lot of what Nutanix does, again teaming with VMware or Microsoft, or both.

Having its own hypervisor would give Nutanix a differentiator. The company could point to its own deeply integrated stack as advancing its mission to simplify the data centre, while still giving customers the opportunity to work on other platforms.

We're told that whatever the reason for the hypervisor, it's just a part of Nutanix's future plans – which, as you may recall, include releasing a "community version" of its software. Nutanix was not available for immediate comment. ®

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