Hyperconverged startup Nutanix is clearly gunning for VMware’s customers with its newest software release: AOS 4.6.
Now billing itself as an ‘enterprise cloud company’ (Hey, why not? Everyone else is. Cloud is the new black.) Nutanix is talking up the idea of customer flexibility and choice, and has added features to its Acropolis hypervisor to loosen VMware’s hold on customers.
Acropolis is Nutanix’s KVM based hypervisor, and is clearly where the company sees its future. Where Nutanix was once a tight partner with VMware’s hypervisor was what run on the Nutanix infrastructure to provide the virtual machines that actually run customer applications–Nutanix decided to provide itself with flexibility and choice by using its own hypervisor.
Without needing to add VMware ecosystem to move across?
Enter the App Mobility Fabric.
While it’s just a tech preview in version AOS 4.6, the features are clearly designed to lower the barrier-to-exit for VMware customers. Offering a one-click conversion from vSphere to the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV), Nutanix wants customers to be able to easily ditch vSphere and go all-in on Nutanix.
There are various use-cases for cross-hypervisor compatibility. An enterprise might have loads of vSphere tools deployed in the data-center, but in the branch offices, a Nutanix deployment will do, and the cross-hypervisor backup and recovery functions means it will work. And it just happens to provide a convenient beach-head for Nutanix to later mount an assault on the data-center itself as the company adds features to its own hypervisor.
Why not run in half-and-half mode? Save license fees on vSphere by using AHV for dev/test and run production on the other half of the cluster? And if it works well, why need all that pricey vSphere stuff?
The move from Nutanix is anything but subtle, and the war of words between VMware’s VSAN group and the Nutanix folk has clearly escalated in the past few weeks. It’s clear who each side views as their most substantial competitor, so expect plenty of sparks in coming months.
This article first appeared in Forbes.com here.