Nutanix partners with IBM for hyper-converged gear

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Nutanix partners with IBM for hyper-converged gear

Nutanix and IBM unveiled a partnership under which IBM will sell new turnkey appliances consisting of IBM Power-based servers and Nutanix's software stack.

The new initiative to bring Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure technology to IBM's Power-based servers revolves around using hyper-convergence for mission-critical workloads.

The focus is not on Power-based servers in general, but those being sold for use in Linux environments, said Greg Smith, senior director of product and technical marketing for Nutanix.

"Within the Power market, the demand for Linux on Power is rising," Smith told CRN USA. "IBM and Nutanix think this is a good opportunity to bring hyper-converged infrastructure to that architecture."

That focus on Linux is important given that IBM's Power-based server sales overall are falling. In March IDC estimated IBM server sales in the fourth quarter of 2016 to be US$1.8 billion, which is down 17.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. IBM server sales include primarily its Power-based midrange and mainframe servers since IBM sold its x86-based server business to Lenovo in 2014.

The partnership plays on both companies' strengths, Smith said.

"Nutanix is providing the same consumer-grade, delightful experience it brings to hyper-converged infrastructure in general, including one-click deployment and one-click scalability," he said. "IBM brings a high-performance platform for what IBM calls 'cognitive workloads' including big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence."

Smith said that, under the partnership, Nutanix is providing its software stack, including its own AHV hypervisor, formerly known as Acropolis, for the Power server platform. AHV already works on the Power architecture and supports Linux workloads, he said.

"The opportunity in front of IBM and Nutanix is to provide the top hyper-converged infrastructure technology with our hypervisor on high-performance Power systems," he said.

Smith declined to discuss the size of the market for Nutanix on Power systems. However, he said, analyst projections expect the hyper-converged infrastructure market to reach about US$6 billion by 2020.

"IBM doesn't compete in this market yet," he said. "But we think IBM and Nutanix have an opportunity to increase the hyper-converged infrastructure market. And the two companies are committed to making hyper-converged infrastructure work with any workload including cognitive workloads, cloud native apps, and traditional workloads."

Turnkey offerings including Nutanix on Power servers are slated to be available sometime this year, and will be sold via IBM's direct and indirect sales channels, Smith said.


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