POST #3 of 3
As we begin our final Post, let’s first review what we discussed in our previous two Posts. In Post #1 (HOW DID WE GET HERE? ), we discussed some of the history of how we have arrived at the present point in time. We did so in order to point out that where we are today was the result of intelligent decisions in the past, as well as taking advantage of the best there was to offer at that time. In a lot of cases, IT executives are still using older legacy platforms, and we wanted to point that out to set the stage so we could discuss how to move forward.
Post #2 (WHERE ARE YOU TRYING TO GET TO AND WHY?) talked about your business, and what you’re trying to accomplish in IT to be able to help your business. We pointed out that IT doesn’t exist as a fun science experiment; it exists to provide greater value to your business than you might get otherwise.
Which brings us to our third and final Post. In this Post, we will talk about what the smart guys are doing to move things in IT forward, and with it, their businesses.
We’re talking about the Hybrid Cloud.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MOVE FORWARD?
To start, regardless of which way forward you choose, you should perform a solid financial evaluation of the options before you do anything. This includes taking a look at all of the costs that are associated with IT, as well as the expected benefits you think will come from your new IT infrastructure. Without an honest evaluation of the total cost of ownership (TCO) you’ll never know what your Return on Investment (ROI) is.
When suggesting that an TCO/ROI review be performed, we’ve often gotten pushback from IT organizations. Why is that? Sometimes we hear that evaluations always come back with the answer that favors the manufacturer performing the evaluation (fair comment) or that the organization does their own (probably not). Instead, we think it’s because the organization would be absolutely shocked at the total cost of their IT operations, when you consider hardware, software, support/maintenance, real estate, power, cooling, salaries, benefits, and other costs. Kind of like, “what the boss doesn’t know won’t hurt me”.
Regardless, it’s important to be able to evaluate any investment completely, so do the TCO/ROI study. We can help.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
As we look at moving your IT infrastructure forward, you have four (4) options, including one that makes zero sense...guess which one that is?
Option #1: Keep doing what you’re doing with legacy 3-tier infrastructure
This is a great option if you’re looking to keep your IT organization from advancing, if you’re looking to be a sunk cost to the organization, or if you don’t want to be a part of a business that is innovating. Sure, we understand that some feel it’s OK to leave well enough alone, but who wants to work in that environment, unless you’re planning to retire in a short time? Good companies want to grow and advance, as do their people, who also want to continue to learn. They need modern IT infrastructures that allow them to do that.
Keeping with legacy 3-tier means that you’ll continue to have to manage each component discretely, be beholden to the manufacturers’ product progression, and you’ll have a higher cost than your peers.
We think you’ll agree this option is not really an option. If you feel it is, enjoy your retirement.
Option #2: Adopt a software defined infrastructure in your data center
This option will allow you to take advantage of advances in IT infrastructure platforms like hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). HCI takes four (4) separate aspects of IT infrastructure (compute/servers, storage, networking, and virtualization) and combines them into one easy to run and manage infrastructure which is 40% less expensive than a legacy 3-tier infrastructure.
Software defined data centers (SDDC) utilize commodity hardware and, in a lot of cases, open source software to reduce the cost of infrastructure. Remember, it’s all about the applications, anyway.
The leader in SDDC is Nutanix’s HCI platform and over 17,000 companies have successfully deployed this platform.
By the way, when you run things in AWS, Azure, or GCP, they’re running your applications using HCI. Why not run what they’re running in your own
Option #3: Move everything to the Public Cloud
Most IT executives have been asked by their CEO and/or CFO why they haven’t moved everything to the Public Cloud, because all they’ve read about is how the Public Cloud makes everything better. If you use the Public Cloud for everything, life is just, well, better, right?
Public Cloud makes terrific sense for some applications, and when appropriate, it makes sense to use the Public Cloud. The primary benefits of the Public Cloud are that applications can be deployed quickly, and without much concern for what the applications run on. (We find it interesting that IT executives care most about the infrastructure architecture when it’s in their own data center and then they insist on brand names. When it’s in the Public Cloud, no one seems to care).
The other difference with Public Cloud is that it’s “pay as you go”. There’s no upfront capital cost; it’s all operating expense. This is very appealing to some organizations, but it comes with a price; over time, it’s more expensive.
If you’re a company with unlimited funds and no desire to spend them on IT infrastructure, going all-in with the Public Cloud might be the way to go. Most companies aren’t like that, however. Most companies have to consider costs.
If you’re venture funded, chances are your backers instructed you to invest their money in people and not infrastructure. As you grow, the cost of the Public Cloud will also grow, to the point where your backers will tell you to start running some of your applications on-prem to save money.
Which leads us to Option #4.
Option #4: Create a Hybrid Cloud IT infrastructure
Here’s a fact; you’ve probably already got a Hybrid Cloud infrastructure but don’t realize it. Do you use Office365 or Gmail for business? If so, you’re already using Public Cloud along with your other IT infrastructure. Viola...Hybrid Cloud.
With Hybrid Cloud, you choose where best to run your individual applications, without the idea that one size fits all. If they make more sense to run in the Public Cloud, like email, run it in the Public Cloud. If it makes more sense to run an application in your own datacenter, do that. The application should be considered first, and then the available platform options (on-prem or Public Cloud) should be compared. Wherever it makes the most sense from an economic and performance perspective is where the application should run.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
Full disclosure...we make our livings selling IT infrastructure, and we can make that living selling any of the four of the Options presented. We think, going forward, that only 2 of them make sense, and those are Option #2 and Option #4.
Here’s why we eliminate Options #1 and #3.
Option #1 (Keep going with Legacy 3-tier) is a dead end. Costs are higher than they need to be, and the overhead in terms in infrastructure and people is too high. These days, a lot of systems management has been automated, eliminating the need to do the constant fiddling around with
configurations...that’s now a thing of the past. Wouldn’t it be better to take your highly skilled guys and deploy them into something with a greater and better value to the organization? Of course.
Option #3 (All-in with Public Cloud) is an option that makes sense for very few. Simply put, the higher cost of the Public Cloud, coupled with the loss of control and security, makes this an option that few organizations are comfortable with.
Please understand...we think Public Cloud is a great choice of some applications. But not all applications. And certainly not if cost is at all a factor.
So, this leaves Options #2 and #4. Since Option #4 is a combination of on-prem with HCI and HCI in the Public Cloud, let’s expand on why we think the smartest choice is to deploy HCI. And if you’re going to HCI, it should be Nutanix’s HCI.
First, let’s use an analogy here. Think back to 2006 and your cell phone. Chances are it was made by Nokia, or Motorola. Maybe you had a Blackberry, too, and carried that along with your cell phone. The Blackberry did a nice job of email.
Along with your cell phone, you also had a separate device to listen to music with, probably an MP3 player. If you wanted to look things up on the internet, you used a very rudimentary web browser on your phone, which had a very small screen, and didn’t work very well. For the weather, you turned on your car radio, and for maps/directions, you might have used the Thomas Guide. We felt productive, didn’t we?
And then it happened in 2007...along came the Apple iPhone. The iPhone made it possible to have all of the above applications (yes, they were applications) on one, easy to use device. It was nice looking, it worked very well, it was much faster than what we had been using, and it was cool. Sure, it cost more than a cell phone, but if you considered all of the devices it replaced, it was much less expensive.
The iPhone was, and still is, great. You can have that same kind of advancement in your IT infrastructure with Nutanix’s HCI.
THE NUTANIX ENTERPRISE CLOUD
Nutanix created the concept of HCI. The founders of Nutanix came from Google, and they were involved in writing the Google File System, which is what has allowed Google to be hyperscale.
A little history; Google realized they couldn’t cost effectively create large scale/hyperscale datacenters using the same branded hardware other
organizations typically purchased; hardware from vendors like Sun, HP, EMC, NetApp, etc. Google’s design required fast performance, fault tolerance, easy serviceability, and lower costs than branded manufacturers could provide. They had to build it themselves, using commodity components, with as much of the systems management written into software, including a new file system.
Nutanix’s founders realized the concepts they were working on for Google would also work in corporate data centers, and so Nutanix was born.
Nutanix’s mission is to make the IT infrastructure invisible for all users of IT. To do so, they eliminated as much of the physical interaction as possible, while using simple, inexpensive, commodity components. By doing so, they eliminated degrees of difficulty and cost.
Using HCI, you no longer have discreet components; you have a commodity appliance that runs unique and powerful software enabling you to simplify your operations, have much higher performance, scale when you need to (not when the manufacturer needed you to), and lower overall cost.
Why wouldn’t you want that?
With Nutanix, you get your choice of:
Which hardware to use: Nutanix will run on anyone’s hardware, including Super Micro (Nutanix NX), HPE Proliant and Apollo (Nutanix DX),
IBM, Dell, Cisco, and others. You decide which platform you want to use. Or, use all of them; again, your choice.
Which hypervisor you want to use: The Nutanix platform allows users the choice of hypervisor. You can use ESXi and all other commercially available hypervisors. Presently, about 55% of Nutanix nodes are deployed using ESXi. You can also use Nutanix AHV, which is what 40% of nodes are deployed with. The balance of 5% are users who have deployed Hyper-V, Citrix Xen, or others. Nutanix runs ALL hypervisors...it’s your choice. Pick one or pick them all.
We’ve been selling Nutanix for about 6 years. When AHV was first included in Nutanix AOS software in 2015, we heard from end users that they had a large investment in VMware, both in licensing and training/expertise with their IT teams as a reason they were going to keep paying for ESXi. What they were really saying is that they were comfortable with VMware, and without an incentive to change, they were going to leave well enough alone. But times have now changed. Nutanix AHV is equal to function of ESXi and is easier to use, according to user feedback. Time to deploy is less, and there’s no cost for the hypervisor, for both the license and support. It’s time to seriously question the allegiance to a vendor that charges for things you can get for free. Especially with budgets being cut due to COVID-19.
And with Nutanix, you also get to:
Eliminate the storage area network: With Nutanix, there’s no longer any need for separate storage arrays or a storage area network, since all
storage is local. This concept is called Data Locality and guarantees that all of an application’s data is local to the compute that needs it, providing significant performance improvements, as well as simplifying things and reducing cost.
Be in control of your IT infrastructure: You decide where your applications run, based on facts. Nutanix has an inexpensive product called Beam, which allows you to compare the specifics of your application (workload, performance requirements, response time, cost, etc.) with running it in any of the three (3) major Public Clouds (using your negotiated pricing) and on-premises. Again, it’s your choice.
Over 17,000 organizations, large and small, public and private, have deployed Nutanix with high satisfaction, as evidenced by their Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has averaged over 90 for the past 6 years. You don’t have to take Nutanix’s or Roundstone’s word for it, you can take the word of your peers...the platform delivers.
For years, you’ve been using an architecture that has worked well for you and your organization. Over time, advances occur, and there are now better ways to do IT infrastructure.
The introduction of HCI has been a real game changer, for both the Public Cloud and on-premises data centers. Because of HCI, we’ve finally reached the point where it’s the applications that really matter, not the hardware.
Nutanix pioneered HCI back in 2011. They’ve been delivering HCI for 9 years and have a very loyal following. Nutanix’s HCI is different from most other manufacturers in that it’s based on a file system and architecture optimized specifically for HCI. Other manufacturers have come to market with similar products, but almost all of them combine their existing/legacy products with something that makes them run like HCI. In other words, you’re still buying the same things.
With Dell/EMC vxRail, you can only run VMware’s ESXi, so that’s not much choice. The same with HPE’s Simplivity; it’s ESXi only and requires a hardware accelerator card to allow it to run. Cisco’s version, called HyperFlex, seems to suffer from being late to the market and just another version of UCS.
Why bother with also-rans? Make the move to the platform that was created for the Next Generation of IT infrastructure...Nutanix.
Roundstone Solutions, our company, specializes in Nutanix. We’ve been working with Nutanix for 6+ years and know the platform very well. We’re
experienced in IT infrastructure and can help you evaluate Nutanix.
We look forward to the chance to work with you, and thanks for reading!
Tim Joyce, Founder, Roundstone Solutions