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By | Simon Sharwood 16th February 2016 14:00

Nutanix updates its stack, not just to distract you from EMC's big day

Acropolis hypervisor said to enjoy 4x performance boost

Nutanix has chosen today, the day of EMC's hyper-converged launch, to update its own hyper-converged stack.

El Reg understands the timing is a little bit deliberate, but also a little bit fortuitous: Nutanix wanted this release to come out in January, but didn't quite make it in time. We also understand that internal discussions considered whether this should be a full 5.0 release. The “let's make this version 4.6” camp won out, largely because the new bits were previewed at the company's .NEXT conference in Miami last June.

Application mobility is one such previously-revealed addition, now realised with a promised one-click conversion process to move VMs between hypervisors. Making such moves is touted as ideal as developers take apps from dev to test to staging to production. In the first couple of steps Nutanix reckons users won't always want the whistles and bells of ESX or Hyper-V and therefore offers its own Acropolis hypervisor as good enough for early stages of development. Or as the hypervisor to which a workload will fail over in a disaster recovery scenario, for it's now possible to back up a workload from Nutanix appliance to another and have it run on a different hypervisor on the second. Which sounds nice for remote offices in need of decent DR, provided both run Nutanix of course.

The company's also pushing Acropolis for production workloads, scaling it so it can handle as many virtual CPUs as it is possible to pack into a Nutanix appliance and claiming that all the new bits add up to a combined fourfold improvement in performance.

The PRISM automation code also debuted at .NEXT gets an upgrade, too, with a new thing called “X-Fit” that figures out how best to manage an appliance's capacity and fit workloads into the available resources. Chances are you're reading this in 2016 so it'll come as no surprise to learn there's machine intelligence making that happen.

Under the hood, Nutanix continues to work on its data fabric. We're told that among 25 tweaks is a new way of handling locks placed on appliances' storage so that they're lifted sooner rather than later. The result is a chance to get jobs done faster, resulting in more IOPS. The company now claims it can crank out a million IOPS from a flashy 4U stack.

This newbie's a freebie for current Nutanix customers. So is the company's new marketing spiel, which goes on about delivering a public cloud experience to on-premises kit in order to satisfy those whose IT experience and expectations have been defined by AWS or Azure. The Register can hear that message from anyone in enterprise IT, any day of the week. Even though it's an upgrade from last year's “invisible infrastructure”, the change of language is definitely worth only a 0.1 uptick. EMC will give Nutanix something to leapfrog later today.

The other big hyperconverged player, SimpliVity, is also trying to steal some thunder from today's events: last week it announced it has doubled bookings and grown its customer base by a multiple of 2.5. ®

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