Nutanix Partners With Ravello Systems To Bring Community Edition To All

17 November 2015
Justin Warren

Hyperconverged powerhouse Nutanix have announced a partnership with Ravello Systems, makers of a cloud-based lab system built on a nested hypervisor, to make testing out the Nutanix Community Edition very easy.

By teaming up with Ravello, Nutanix has made it easy for prospective customers, or indeed analysts like myself, to try out the Acropolis hypervisor and its PRISM management interface. Without a virtual option like this, a customer would need to, at the very least, acquire a compatible piece of hardware on which to install the Community Edition software. That’s a hassle, and though minor, it can be enough to delay or halt someone getting to know this platform, and maybe try someone else’s.

I received early access to the image of Nutanix Community Edition in Ravello, which was used to take the screenshot above. I can confirm that yes, it really does take mere minutes to be at the PRISM console, around ten in my case. I didn’t have to download any OVA files or .ISO images from a vendor website and then upload them, I just went to the Ravello Systems marketplace and grabbed the image. I chose the cloud to deploy to (Amazon’s AWS in this case) and a few minutes later (after loading an ISO image into Acropolis via URL, no download/upload dance) I was installing Ubuntu inside Acropolis running on AWS in Ravello.

It’s amazing that it actually works, but it definitely does.

Ravello Systems was founded by the team that created the KVM hypervisor, the same hypervisor that is at the core of the Nutanix Acropolis hypervisor. Ravello came up with a way to run a hypervisor on top of Amazon’s AWS and VMware’s ESXi platform, or vanilla KVM) on top of a cloud service.

Nesting hypervisors like this, Inception style, makes it easy to spin up a lab environment to test things out, the very thing that Nutanix wants you to do with its Community Edition.

With a high-touch purchase like enterprise infrastructure, customers want to be able to experience a system for themselves, but without the tight constraints of a vendor managed lab environment. Admins want to kick the tires, try weird things–and yes, try to break it–to get a feel for how the prospective purchase will perform in their real world, not just on paper or in a vendor sponsored analyst whitepaper. For many organisations, this is a strategic purchase, not something they’ll likely throw away in six months, so they want to be fairly certain they’re making a good decision.

The beauty of the Ravello Systems approach is that it makes it easy to deploy these test systems for those without the lab budgets to provide the required underlying infrastructure. Software still has to run on something, after all, and anyone who’s had to justify production-like lab equipment (to provide a valid test) knows how challenging that can be. And that’s before all the hassles of setting the gear up, cabling the networks just so, and making sure someone else doesn’t rip it all apart when you’re halfway through testing.

A purely virtual lab that you can spin up whenever you need it is a tremendous boon. I don’t need to book time on a shared lab only to spend half of that time fixing whatever the people before me broke. I don’t lose access just as I’m finishing the thing I needed to do. And I don’t have to pay for gear I’m not actively using, because I just switch it off when I’m done. In fact, Ravello is configured by default to turn off after two hours, so there’s no risk of my accidentally leaving something running for a week and then being surprised by a bill for the time.

Nutanix is smart to team up with Ravello Systems to remove as many obstacles as they can for customers to test out their software. I honestly wish other vendors would team up with RavelloSystems to make their software images available in the marketplace for us to test.

Disclosure: I receive 1000 hours of Ravello Systems time for free each month as a member of the VMware vExpert program. I have used the service on numerous occasions to test vendor software before I write about it, which I realise is a radical idea in this day and age.

This post was updated to fix the spelling of Ravello Systems, which has a space in it.

This article first appeared in here.