Features, Insight, Interviews

“It’s all about running true hybrid multi-cloud as simply as possible”

Rami Mazid, CIO at Nutanix, took the time to discuss the importance of efficient, hybrid multi-cloud capabilities and the issue of hyper-specialisation in cloud services. 

One of the most common complaints from end-users is that the hyper-specialisation of cloud services is resulting in a runaway complexity that no end-user wants to handle. Is that something that you see being resolved with Nutanix’s services? 

Nutanix is completely prepared to resolve such an issue because they are managing everything from one interface now. Team members no longer need to specialise in individual elements of the cloud. The team members that I have are the same team members managing on-prem and the cloud, whether it is Google, Azure or AWS. Withing our cloud environment we manage 28,000 nodes, 7,500 blocks, 20,500 static VMs and around 50-100 thousand ephemeral VMs which are mainly used for testing purposes.   

Why should a prospective customer go to your organisation, which could be considered only cloud-aligned, instead of going straight to Amazon, Google or Microsoft?  

The number one reason is cost as we discovered when we ran this exercise through our cloud management service. We realised that, regardless of what cloud provider you go with, if you come to us you end up optimising your environment and your cost will be 45% of what you would normally pay the service providers. If you run the Nutanix services through the cloud, your overall cost will be reduced due to the efficiency of our well-engineered additional layer. We even compared our power usage against the cloud and found it to be much more efficient in addition to the number of VMs we could fit in it and an overall improved resilience.  

When it comes to AI, are you using it internally for automation or within your DevOps environment?  

The first journey we started with AI was related to our internal employees. Once integrated we focused on the top 10 commonly reported cases by our employees, for example people keep asking for additional provisioning and we were able to automate that with AI. The other area where we implemented AI was within the password reset function allowing our employees to bypass unnecessary admin issues. Every six months we pick a new top 10 issues to address and try to push AI solutions to these problems, currently our deflection rate is at 42% meaning that a sizable minority of these cases don’t reappear. For the moment we need to focus on addressing specific issues with AI as opposed to trying to use it as a one-size-fits-all solution. Finally, our first-contact resolution is now at 98% compared to the industry average of 72% because of factors such as AI resolution, automation and simplified infrastructure.  

What challenges do you face as a CIO? 

As a CIO I always look at three key things. The first is how can I run my operations as efficiently as possible? Solving this issue with a good team will allow me to invest the capital that would have been spent improving operations back into new, innovative strategies. Secondly, how can we leverage all of the Nutanix products across the board? That’s a big challenge for us because whilst we’re running complex infrastructure in a simplified way, we want to make sure we’re using every other product to its fullest potential. Moving forward, we want every new Nutanix product to be run through internal IT first so that we can assess its potential. Thirdly, is to fully become customer zero. This means we need to be the first and best customer of our own products and services in order to better accelerate innovation. We’ve already started to put this process into place and established a cross-functional theme across the whole company, we call it cross functional Nutanix-on-Nutanix. We meet every other week to review what is coming up in the future and to provide feedback on existing products to identify if there are any missing capabilities that we can add for final launch.      

How have you managed to integrate the support, service and product sides of Nutanix? 

We don’t employ dedicated teams to work on just one product as we want everyone, internally, to be fully aware of what we are working on and its challenges so that they can work more effectively around them. Our feedback teams can then take this information to better integrate all the disparate sides of our business.  

How do you see the future of AI and cloud computing impacting organisations such as Nutanix? 

I think things will develop into a true hybrid multi-cloud offering a greater freedom of choice. There’s been a shift in the industry to move things back from the cloud into hybrid formats and organisations recognise that they don’t need this cost prohibitive and difficult to manage service. There’s an optimism now that future AIs will help organisations identify which of these services is going to be the most effective before committing to it. Analysing cloud spending will likely be a much bigger trend going forward. When we ran a similar capabilities analysis this year, we were able to save around $3 million which can now be reinvested somewhere else. In the future the ability to simultaneously manage cloud, hybrid and on-prem environments will be key.    

Image Credit: Nutanix

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