Last year Nutanix revealed a hypervisor, this year...

Does a collection of sensible tunes mean a 'difficult third album' problem?

Hyperconverged enfant terrible Nutanix's first siren song to tech buyers offered the impressive proposition of on-premises hardware that converged compute and storage while improving the experience of running vSphere.

Next, at the company's first user conference in June 2015, came the ballsy move of releasing its own hypervisor and suggesting that its users might think about using it rather than continuing to send cash to VMware for vSphere.

It is tempting to extend the musical metaphor and suggest that Nutanix is finding its third album a little difficult, if only because its IPO is seemingly on hold. We now also know that it doesn't have a big, bold statement to make at its conference this year to match last year's aggressive reveal of the Acropolis hypervisor.

But it does have a strong collection of tunes.

Track 1, Side 1 is new all-flash configurations for its hyperconverged boxen, and not just because all the cool kids are doing all-flash these days. Nutanix reckons it's now possible to do all-flash for a small price premium. It's also learned that some users found hybrid and/or tiered storage a bit tiresome because they generally learned they wanted more flash anyway. All-flash tin is therefore sensible.

Another thing it is sensible to do is ensure you can satisfy the container crowd, and Nutanix has done that, tickling its storage code so it can provide persistent storage for containers and making itself Docker-friendly. Nutanix is in the "hypervisors are a great place to run containers" camp, if only because it feels that organisations that have built automation and orchestration tools around virtualization aren't going to like the idea of building it all over again for containers.

Another rising force Nutanix has chosen to align with is OpenStack, which will henceforth be able to manage Nutanix-tended storage and compute resources. Microsoft gets an ode, with hooks that mean Cloud Platform System can address Nutanix boxen to allow easier scaling of Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange.

There's a self-service push that will satisfy the "tech must get better at being responsive to business managers who buy shadow IT" crowd. That effort will see administrators able to define certain configurations that users will be permitted to spawn without IT's intervention.

There are a few other tweaks coming, too. Proactively predicting IT messes is increasingly expected: Nutanix will go there with "X‑Fit" technology, which predicts performance if sysadmins choose to change data-center configurations. Dynamic virtual machine placement is coming, as is better network visualization. Even bare-metal application fiends get a little something, in the form of the ability to address Nutanix's storage.

Nutanix reckons it can now help folks run applications, however they want to – on bare metal, in VMs and in containers – while satisfying techies and suits. Which might sound a bit like an album with an obvious single, a ballad, a shot at a singalong anthem, that one where you let the bass player explore their jazz roots, a knowing cover of an obscure influence, and one even your Mum will like. Which isn't a bad combination for an album, and perhaps also for a hyperconverged vendor. ®

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