Nutanix to release 'community version' of its secret software sauce

Stop describing us with the 'C-word' says CEO Dheeraj Pandey

Nutanix is months away from releasing a free, “community” version of the secret software sauce that turns its collections of storage and servers into hyperconverged spin up VMs almost before you know it beasts.

CEO Dheeraj Pandey yesterday told The Register development work on the version is under way and will be released in coming months [we've since learned it's in Alpha, with some civilians offered access – ed].

Pandey added that no date has been chosen for its release. Nor has it been decided what hardware will be required, or if any limits will be imposed on users. He said he's inclined to make the release scale to considerable heights, as if users are willing to make do with peer support only they may not ever become paying customers.

Nutanix's secret-sauce software takes clusters of server nodes filled with processors, memory and drives, and turns them into pools of storage. Virtual machines, running in hypervisors on the servers, then access the pool as a whole.

The community edition is part of Nutanix's ongoing effort to de-emphasise its hardware. Pandey said he thinks on-premises hardware will go away over time, but the ability to wrangle virtual machines and applications at scale becomes ever-more vital as hybrid clouds become more prevalent.

He's therefore not keen on those who use the C-word - “converged” - to describe Nutanix's hardware, because he feels software is what makes a difference. That the company builds kit with storage and compute in one chassis is neither here nor there.

Nutanix has already bet on that idea by allowing Dell to OEM its hardware designs and Pandey said the company will work with more OEMs in future.

It will also continue to work with VMware, because Pandey feels Nutanix needs to work alongside it in order to access “adjacencies” in the software-defined data centre market, just as the likes of EMC and Cisco were able to rise by initially working alongside IBM.

That strategy means Pandey feels Nutanix won't need to match storage or compute specialists in terms of scale. The company will make sure the hardware it offers has the grunt to do what customers need, but Pandey feels the software layer that makes it easier to conduct IT operations is where Nutanix will make its stand. ®

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