A cloud marriage locked down for long term commitment, Red Hat & Nutanix partner for the common … [+]
Cloud computing is simpler. This is the resounding message that the technology industry has been putting on the table pretty much from day one. Although cloud-centric network engineering concepts have been around since the 60s (spoiler alert: software architects used to draw cloud bubbles on whiteboards to represent virtual compute resources), the modern notion of cloud has really only proliferated in post-millennial times… and all the while, we’ve been sold the simplicity message.
We’ve been told that cloud is simpler because the application processing and services, supporting compute platform and underlying infrastructure are all hosted in a datacenter by a Cloud Services Provider (CSP) and then delivered as-a-Service, giving us the now ubiquitous (aaS) acronym family.
In reality, cloud is usually fairly complicated. Despite the presence of several worthy standardizarion-driving organizations and other working groups that champion ‘open’ technologies and the widespread interconnectivity offered by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), cloud is still often perceived to be a complex affair for many firms.
Where are the cloud challenges?
The challenges associated with cloud often come down to initial build and deployment frustrations, the new responsibility to manage cloud resources inside an organization’s IT department and (a real favorite here) the difficulties associated with scaling the cloud estate when it needs to grow upwards (in size) and outwards (in scope and variety).
The industry knows where the pain points are, so Red Hat and Nutanix are among two of the bigger players now forming a new union (the firms have had partner-level support relationships previously) to ease the cloud migration journey. The companies state that they are forming an alliance to help firms run open hybrid cloud estates more easily.
Now inside the IBM acquisition family, Red Hat brings enterprise cloud open source muscle to the table and Nutanix brings its special skills related to hybrid multi-cloud cloud-native applications when deployed on-premises (private cloud) and in hybrid (private + public) clouds. In product terms, this is a marriage between Red Hat OpenShift & Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Nutanix Cloud Platform, including Nutanix AOS and AHV.
Installation, interoperability & management
The companies both emphasize the drive to make cloud-native installation, interoperability and management easier. That being said, the technology here is still complex, so can we explain the moving parts in plain English?
Red Hat OpenShift is a secure enterprise-grade software application container (where apps are broken into discrete functional blocks) platform based on industry-standard container and Kubernetes orchestration (to manage smaller component pieces of application code) technologies. This is the kind of technology that provides insight into a system’s policy controls, observability into software workloads, threat & vulnerability detection and areas like plug-ins and extensions… and quite a lot more.
Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (always written as HCI) is a means of combining servers and data storage into a distributed infrastructure platform. This means that the server and storage have smart software to separate and manage the computing resources at hand. Faced with the challenge of sizing a cloud instance to a precise software workload requirement, HCI can handle all the compute, networking and storage mechanics needed as it distributes operating function across a cluster for the best performance and the toughest resilience.
So, if that’s attempting to put it in simple terms, even simpler terms would suggest that Red Hat and Nutanix are both quite good at cloud application orchestration and networking controls.
The details of what the firms are actually doing include making Red Hat OpenShift the preferred choice for enterprise full stack Kubernetes on Nutanix Cloud Platform.
This now means that customers looking to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) will be able to use the Nutanix Cloud Platform, which includes both Nutanix AOS (an operating system) and AHV (a hypervisor, technology designed to run Virtual Machines (VM) or computers in the cloud if you will). The A in the Nutanix product line stands for Acropolis, because fortified ancient citadels make for good brand names.
Without going into quite such granular detail, the other parts of this partnership see Nutanix and Red Hat extend full support and certification across key parts of their technologies. The central message is that is a simplified full-stack (all technologies from application level to server-side networking, platform & infrastructure etc.) solution for containerized and virtualized cloud-native applications. There is also a new joint engineering roadmap to drive interoperability, a promise of more collaboration, improved user support and an annual beach barbeque party. Okay, probably not the last one, but let’s see how the relationship goes and not rule it out.
A vision and a pledge
“This partnership brings together Red Hat’s industry-leading cloud-native solutions with the simplicity, flexibility and resilience of the Nutanix Cloud Platform. Together, our solutions provide customers with a full-stack platform to build, scale and manage containerized and virtualized cloud-native applications in a hybrid multi-cloud environment,” said Rajiv Ramaswami, president and CEO, Nutanix.
“We have a vision to enable open hybrid clouds, where customers have choice and flexibility. Our partnership with Nutanix brings a leading hyperconverged offering to the open hybrid cloud, driving greater choice for our joint customers in how they deploy their containerized workloads and backed by a joint support experience,” said Paul Cormier, president and CEO, Red Hat.
Did cloud computing just get that little bit (or, indeed, a whole lot) easier, or at least better integrated and unified? Well yes, all of these kinds of inter-company relationships should (arguably) address the challenge associated with cloud configuration and management, especially when technology companies talk about joint engineering roadmaps, as the pair have done here.
The challenge of our times in cloud technology circles appears to centralize around cloud computing’s diversity, its ability to split software workloads apart for containerized efficiencies and grow, scale, expand, augment and contract where needed. The inherent flexibility and essentially ephemeral nature of cloud is what makes it great, but it’s also what makes it hard to observe, manage and run. Let’s hope this union makes a difference.