Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

IBM-Nutanix Deal Moves Power Servers to Datacenters 

Targeting AI, machine learning and other big data workloads, IBM and Nutanix will join forces to deliver the enterprise cloud vendor's software via Power servers. The deal is Nutanix's first non-Intel x86 offering, and is aimed at bringing software-defined hyper-converged infrastructure to emerging cognitive workloads while helping enterprises shift those computing-intensive jobs to the cloud.

The partners said Tuesday (May 16) their multi-year partnership would yield a hyper-converged platform for datacenters designed to handle demanding application development projects as well as an increasing number of cognitive workloads. The partners are betting that large enterprises will retain but seek to "refresh" datacenters by leveraging cloud computing, storage, and faster networking along with the ability to scale capacity.

To that end, the partners said their cloud software-Power server collaboration would create a path from the datacenter to the public cloud.

Along with adoption of Power-based servers, the deal with IBM (NYSE: IBM) also gives Nutanix (Nasdaq: NTNX) another server partner along with its collaboration with Dell Technologies (NYSE: DVMT).

In addition to cognitive and DevOps workloads, the initiative targets a range of computing-intensive jobs, including databases, data warehouses, web infrastructure and distributed applications. The combination also would support emerging cloud-native workloads, encompassing "full stack open source middleware and enterprise databases and [application] containers," the partners said.

The initiative also calls for the partners to launch a "simplified" private cloud that supports the Power processor architecture in datacenter servers. The hyper-converged infrastructure would be managed via Nutanix's AHV virtualization tool along with other datacenter automation and remediation tools. Meanwhile, stateful cloud native services would run on the software vendor's Acropolis hypervisor that in this instance also serves as a container service. The configuration is designed to automate deployment while meeting growing requirements for persistent storage when deploying stateful services via containers.

As a result of the partnership, "IBM customers of Power-based systems will be able to realize a public cloud-like experience with their on-premise infrastructure," Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey asserted in a statement announcing the collaboration.

Along with Dell, Nutanix has been collaborating with other x86-based server makers such as Lenovo (HKSE: 992). The partners announced a converged IT platform last May that incorporates the Nutanix Xpress software package designed to allow the new appliances to manage storage-area networks by aggregating computing, storage and networking.

The deal with Nutanix underscores how IBM has positioned its Power-based servers as geared toward big data and cognitive workloads. The partnership is designed to combine those performance gains with a "one-click" path to the cloud in enterprise datacenters.

IBM and Nutanix, said the new hyper-converged service would be offered exclusively through IBM and its channel partners. Specific timelines, models and supported server configurations will be announced at the time of availability, they added.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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