“Hyperconverged” infrastructure player Nutanix Inc. will announce early Tuesday that it’s teaming up with IBM Corp. in a partnership that will see its all-in-one data center appliances run on hardware powered by IBM Power Systems chips.
The systems will be the first from Nutanix that don’t rely on Intel Corp.-powered servers. Nutanix made its name pioneering the concept of hyperconverged infrastructure with data center hardware that bundles compute, storage and networking into a single package managed by its own software. Hyperconverged infrastructure saves on space and power in the data center while also speeding things up, providing much greater efficiency.
The company already offers its software on a range of Intel-powered servers from Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Technologies Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd. and Super Micro Computer Inc. But with Nutanix running on IBM’s Power chips, the companies say, the infrastructure is particularly well-suited for more advanced cognitive workloads such as machine learning.
“With this partnership, IBM customers of Power-based systems will be able to realize a public cloud-like experience with their on premise infrastructure,” Dheeraj Pandey, chief executive officer at Nutanix, said in a statement. “With the planned design, Enterprise customers will be able to run any mission critical workload, at any scale, with world-class virtualization and automation capabilities built into a scale out fabric leveraging IBM’s server technology.”
The partnership could prove useful for IBM, as its Power Systems are often so tightly coupled with customer’s core business applications that they don’t offer the same elasticity as public clouds, nor the same pay-as-you-go pricing models, and developers can’t access cloud-native tools. With Nutanix that suddenly becomes possible, and may help ensure that some IBM Power customers won’t be tempted to move to another platform.
Nutanix also benefits from the deal because it comes at a time when its competitors are gearing up their own efforts. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. recently bought SimpliVity Inc. and Dell’s merger with EMC is complete, so Nutanix suddenly faces a big challenge to its hyperconverged dominance. The company also performed poorly in its most recent quarter, disappointing shareholders with a weaker-than-expected outlook. In addition, Nutanix hasn’t made much inroads with core applications inside big enterprises, which is something this new alliance offers.
For IBM, it finally has a way for Power users to adopt cloud-like computing models, while Nutanix will finally be able to talk to larger enterprises about their core applications, which should be music to the ears of its investors.