Features, Insight, Interviews

“We aim to offer a like-for-like migration process to new customers”

Rajiv Ramaswami, CEO, Nutanix, held a group briefing at the Nutanix Next 2024 conference where he fielded questions relating to enterprise storage and the benefits of AHV migration journeys.   

Are we going to see more customers asking for enterprise storage support, such as the vSAN customer base? 

With regards to the vSAN customer base, we are supporting more vSAN-ready nodes than ever before. The allows vSAN customers to run their existing hardware with Nutanix going forward. Customers with certain hardware requirements are going to be concerned about the increasing costs of specific software and might want to migrate. So, we aim to offer them a like-for-like migration process as opposed to a wholesale replacement. The data structure might be different, but it is still a relatively straightforward process considering the differences in infrastructure and hardware. 

When the VMWare acquisition by Broadcom was officially closed, you invited disaffected former customers with open arms. Do you see this whole new market opening to you as an opportunity or a challenge?          

The challenges presented by this event could pull us in multiple directions. One of these directions is supporting existing external storage areas, which some might consider a retro approach. This is where a new opportunity also comes with some challenges, it can open up a broader market for us even though it is a bit of a digression from our main path.  

There is no graphical user interface for the free version of Nutanix AHV, would you consider making this available as it might lead to a greater adoption of the Nutanix platform?  

There’s definitely an opportunity for us to provide a fully featured home edition in order to build better brand awareness amongst our potential consumers.  

Could you talk a little about the migration process your customers are on, specifically with regards to migrating to AHV? 

There are many different migration scenarios such as the aforementioned vSAN customers and Nutanix customers using our AOS along with ESX. We would consider the latter our easiest form of migration as ESX and AHV are both situated in the same type of hardware and storage. AHV has a growing install base as ESX customers convert over all the time. Migrating from a vSAN, which is an HCI, to Nutanix is also relatively easy. The third scenario is three tier storage alongside computer servers with the relevant migration concerns. We’ve been managing migration for years and we know that it all relates back to two key elements. The customer must have a willing mindset to adopt HCI as an architecture and they must also replace their pre-existing three tier hardware. We try to make such upgrades as seamless as possible by scheduling them for times when a hardware upgrade feels natural e.g. after three or four years of use. Overall migration complexity can be impacted by how many VMWare products the customer currently has installed and the degree to which they are using them. For example, an ESX to AHV migration is very simple due to our proprietary tools, which largely automate the process. Customers with a greater degree of product installation will require a through services engagement to convert incompatible root formats. In a similar vein, a lot of automated workflows and blueprints will have to be converted over to our automation services. 

Which technologies do you believe will have the largest impact on our lives in the future? 

AI definitely has the potential to improve many aspects of our lives, such as improving the auto pilot capabilities of self-driving cars or timetable suggestions direct from your phone. A lot of the technologies that we currently take for granted are actually powered by AI under the cover. I don’t think this technology will necessarily replace IT admins and we will still need someone to run the infrastructure, regardless of how different it becomes. Admins might have to transition into learning the skillset of platform engineers who can assist customers in building modern applications, but I don’t think the role will be completely eliminated. Your work will become more automated; however, I see that as a good thing as it means you can focus on more productive things.    

Image Credit: Nutanix

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