VMware, Nutanix and what's at stake in the SDDC market

Posted by admin May 11, 2015
VMware, Nutanix and what's at stake in the SDDC market

If you are trying to get a sense of the stakes in the software-defined data center market, consider the increasingly intense competition between VMware and Nutanix. VMware boldly dipped its toes into hardware with the EVO:RAIL last year to take on Nutanix and other startups, enlisting Dell, Hitachi, HP and others through partnerships to make the appliance according to its specifications.

Incumbents scramble with software-defined data center on the horizon
Complicating matters is the fact that many of these suppliers were already helping Nutanix sell its hyperconverged infrastructure appliances.  Some are also leveling criticism that the VMWare ecosystem has not really priced EVO:RAIL aggressively enough, exemplified by illustrations of prices over $200,000 per unit, as reported by Deepstorage founder Howard Marks. Of course,  total cost of ownership comparisons need to factor in multiple included years of support among other items, to truly give a fair comparison between competitive offerings.

VMware's efforts in the hyperconverged market are indicative of several broader trends reshaping the data center:

  • Recent research from MarketsandMarkets estimated that the SDDC market would be worth over $77 billion by 2020. Such growth could come as both service providers and enterprises remake their infrastructure for increased scalability and flexibility as well as reduced overhead.
  • In addition to the innovations of Nutanix et al, there is also the rise of OpenStack as an open source cloud option. Spurred by the project's industry momentum, VMware now offers its own flavor of OpenStack and is betting that telcos in particular need an on-ramp to OpenStack as they explore NFV orchestration.
  • Startups like Docker have also posed a fundamental challenge to the centrality of virtual machines and hypervisors. Containers may not be on par with VMs when it comes to security yet, but they have powerful appeal because of their lower overhead.

Writing for ZDNet, Eileen Yu rounded up the various unorthodox moves that VMware has made recently as competition in its core markets heats up. For example, there is its partnership with parent company EMC and Cisco on VCE on converged infrastructure. Plus, it is working with Google on enterprise cloud, a potentially high-risk/high-reward move, considering that Google is already operating at Web scale and now has the opportunity to make inroads into the enterprise market.

Nutanix is shaking up the hyper converged infrastructure market.Nutanix is shaking up the hyper converged infrastructure market.

"All these technologies have the possibility of limiting the growth of VMware, and so they have a pragmatic strategy to embrace and partner so they don't get shut out of the conversation," said IDC Asia-Pacific vice president Simon Piff. "Face it, VMware is a prevalent enterprise virtualization platform, so working with others makes more sense than trying to be all things to all people."

Cloud orchestration tools for the software-defined data center
While incumbent vendors from VMware and Cisco to HP and Dell scramble to keep up with this pace of innovation in data center technology, enterprises and service providers now have many new options for evolving their infrastructure. With legacy assets still the norm on the ground for many of these organizations, the challenge is often finding a repeatable, sustainable way to manage their infrastructure lifecycles.

"The challenge is often finding a repeatable, sustainable way to manage infrastructure lifecycles."

A solution such as QualiSystems CloudShell offers data center operators as well as cloud infrastructure providers and IT teams a path to create private and hybrid clouds subsuming all their infrastructure from bare metal through virtualization and public cloud resources, without having to navigate bottlenecks such as a lack of available programmers on existing IT infrastructure teams. More specifically, its object-based architecture snd visual tools for loosely coupled environment modeling and orchestration workflows make cloud automation more doable for these teams.

The takeaway: The VMware-Nutanix competition is indicative of major change in how infrastructure solutions are sold and implemented. Amidst these shifts, the SDDC is coming into view, but many organizations still need a sustainable and realistic path to get there. Cloud orchestration tools like QualiSystems will provide the automation for any type of infrastructure, from legacy to cloud, to ease the long-term transition to the SDDC.