Nutanix, which has expanded its software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure control stack, adds new support for hybrid and public cloud installations as it releases the next version of Was, its database-as-a-service-stack.
The company whose original claim of fame was virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), where desktop environments are run from a central server, has in recent years expanded the technology as a complete control stack to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Era is the offering that expands the Nutanix control plane to manage databases. The core application case for Nutanix Era is to take over preparation, copy management, software patches and disaster recovery from individual databases. In practice, this is a step towards applying the principles of the overall control plan offered by DBaaS services, but to older databases on any raw hardware.
In the new 2.0 release, Era adds support for implementing multiple clusters. That is, a single instance of the Era control plane can extend across multiple clusters. The most common use case is for disaster recovery scenarios where a primary and secondary backup cluster can be run from the same pane. Another scenario is for production and DevTest clusters, either on-premises or in the cloud.
Rounding out the 2.0 release is the addition of SAP HANA to the list of supported databases; Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL are already supported. And as far as PostgreSQL is concerned, Nutanix is throwing an extra bone out for those running a recent open source version: Nutanix will now offer 24 x 7 commercial support.
Era is designed to consolidate the complex tool chains associated with the preparation, operation and management of the lifecycle of running databases. It also provides a “Time Machine” feature that handles copy management, backup and restore through a combination of snapshots and log backups that complement (do not replace) existing backup tools.
2.0 releases piggybacks on recent announcements with AWS and Azure to host Nutanix clusters in the public cloud – not just era. In fact, it supports the Nutanix control plan for orchestrating infrastructure in the public cloud, in the same way that VMware has already done with its cloud offering on AWS. The Azure announcement goes a little further, as Nutanix clusters on Azure are available with cooperative licensing schemes that allow BYOL local SQL Server licenses for Azure, use of existing Azure credits, and availability through the Azure Marketplace.
But the most interesting part of the Azure message is support for Azure Arc, Microsoft’s software-defined Azure cloud offering that runs on raw hardware. For Microsoft, Nutanix fits into a plan to bring more azure and third-party services to the platform, which just went GA and announced preview of Azure data services.
Originally, Era was designed to provide a cloud-like operating environment on premises for existing databases as an alternative to migrating to cloud-managed DBaaS services. With the multi-cluster feature and the built-in support of implementations on AWS and Azure, Era expands both to lift and switch locally to cloud scenarios and to hybrid cloud scenarios, where a production database may run locally but a DevTest runs in the public cloud, both controlled through the same pane of glass. Era is still an ongoing work; as it supports deployment, patch, and disaster recovery processes, we’ll also see it expand to provide performance monitoring as well.