Nutanix looking for a way to burst VMware's bubble

Hypervisor wars and nullifying EVO:RAIL

Population control

There are three broad populations of on-premises VMs: VMware, KVM, and Hyper-V, plus a straggling XEN from Citrix which now looks very unlikely to rise above its current status. The hypervisor is a commodity, and what really matters is the management layer above it – vCenter in VMware’s case.

VMware’s ESXi and Hyper-V are proprietary, whereas KVM is open-source. A discussion on the Nutanix “hypervisor” took place on LinkedIn and comments suggest Nutanix building its own hypervisor would be good from some points of view, but also pointless.

Why re-invent a perfectly good wheel? But building a KVM version of vCenter would be a great idea.

Above the hypervisor

Pundit Howard Marks commented: "The differentiation isn't in the hypervisor it's in the management layers. They should concentrate on that.” Hans De Leeenheer wrote: “Nutanix is not going to build its own hypervisor. IF Nutanix is building something of its own, I reckon it is its own vCenter for KVM (managed in PRISM), much like ScaleComputing have built its state machine management layer.”

One industry source suggested: “I’d expect the Nutanix KVM-based hypervisor to hit around June. It owns the data and management plane. This is why VMware loathes it. Nutanix has more capability to pull off a hypervisor switch than NetApp had with Project:SHIFT.”

That SHIFT reference is to the NetApp Microsoft efforts to convert VM’s from one hypervisor format to another which we heard about a year ago. There is now a MAT4SHIFT toolkit “for automating migrations from VMware to Hyper-V... MAT4Shift version 1.7 is available from NetApp.” (Read a blog about it here.)


El Reg expects Nutanix to announce Docker support as well, so containers could run in Nutanix systems and access the distributed file system. We foresee a Nutanix vCenter-like facility for KVM, Docker support and, just maybe, VM format conversion, with these things being discussed at Nutanix’s NEXT conference in Miami in June 2015. The agenda lists:

  • A session on containers, in which “Nutanix engineers and industry experts will provide a comprehensive overview of these technologies and explain what it means for your infrastructure”.
  • What’s new from Nutanix: “A product preview session will give you a sneak peek into some of the cool projects our 250+ Nutanix engineers are working on. You will get a chance to see what’s on our roadmap for infrastructure management, hybrid cloud technology, data analytics, VM management and a lot more.”
  • Preparing for a multi-hypervisor world: “This technology and product preview session will provide a sneak peek of future generations of products that Nutanix engineers are designing to deliver greater flexibility and choice for virtualisation management. Attend this session to understand how you can tear down hypervisor silos and shift your focus back to applications.“

Tune in for VMware impalement in June. ®

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