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Nutanix Releases Secondary Storage Solution, Wants Orgs To Mine Their Data

Nutanix announced this week at their .NEXT conference the launch of Nutanix Mine, a secondary storage platform initially aimed at serving data protection requirements such as backup and archiving. So there’s still some way to go until we get to actually mine any data, but more on this later.

The announcement was initially made jointly with Veeam, one of the first data protection companies to support Nutanix Mine, with another batch of partners soon due to join the ecosystem. Those partners are expected to be Veritas, Commvault, HYCU and Unitrends.

From an architecture perspective, it is expected that the usual Nutanix hyper-converged appliance form factor will be used, with some slight modifications to support the secondary storage platform. Besides a datasheet, not much information has been made public yet, but according to that same datasheet the appliance should be available in a 2U and a 4U form factor.

TECHunplugged hasn’t received additional information about Nutanix Mine yet, but we are inclined to think (based on the datasheet) that the solution will leverage Nutanix Acropolis Files & Buckets services to deliver secondary storage capabilities on top of the Nutanix Distributed File System.

Since large capacity requirements and lower $/GB prevail in secondary storage environments, we expect that the solution will use high capacity HDDs with possibly an SSD tier used for caching in order to accelerate I/O operations.

We understand that Nutanix Mine will be delivered as a turnkey solution including the necessary backup software licenses from the selected partners (Veeam, Veritas, Commvault, HYCU or Unitrends), as well as an AOS Pro license.

The solution should seamlessly integrate with the Nutanix Prism / Prism Pro management interface and with vendor’s software backup backends via API integrations. It’s not clear to us yet whether customers with larger estates will have the ability to manage their backup operations centrally. This appears to be the exact aim of Nutanix with Mine, although the scope will be likely limited to the Nutanix stack.

TECHunplugged’s Take

It’s an interesting move to see Nutanix enter the secondary storage universe via the data protection travel portal. The announcement can be looked at via different perspectives.

First of all, Nutanix are really building a partner ecosystem around them, at least in the data protection space. It’s furthermore interesting to see Veeam as the initial launch partner. The days when Veeam was watching cautiously to see if Acropolis / AHV would take off the ground before announcing their support seem well over.  Beyond Veeam, the addition of “larger” data protection partners such as Commvault, and to a lesser extent Veritas may be significant for enterprise customers, while smaller shops will enjoy the ability to go with HYCU or Unitrends.

The other perspective is what this means for the secondary storage incumbents. Gossipers may wonder whether Nutanix (and to a certain extent Dheeraj Pandey) may be going after the market share cut by former Nutanix founders Mohit Aron (Cohesity) and Bipul Sinha (Rubrik).

It’s indeniable that companies such as Cohesity have strongly capitalized on secondary storage. Rubrik took a slightly different route talking about data management and data protection, but in the end both companies do have some competing points.

Cohesity for example took a long path to present secondary storage not as a burden, but as an opportunity for organizations to leverage the power of their sleeping data. Nutanix has seen and understood this, and the name of the product (“Mine”, as in “mining data”) quite explicitly sets the intent, if not the immediate outcome.

If there’s one thing that Rubrik and Cohesity have demonstrated, it’s that secondary storage / data management is a viable market with a lot of money that flows from venture capitalists on one side, and from customers on the other side, so we can’t really blame Nutanix for trying. After all, it all started with them.

Add to this the fact that Nutanix has a quite respectable customer base, it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to upsell these new data services.