Colin Chapman

I’ve been working with an organisation for the past few months and I’m pleased to say they’re now a Nutanix customer and on the way to becoming a case study too.  They face challenges that more traditional customers would never experience but are critical hurdles to the way they run their business, so I thought you’d like to know a bit more about it and why Nutanix was such a great fit for them.

Colin Chapman, who founded Lotus (no they’re not the customer in question!) in 1948, had a brilliant way of describing his philosophy for motor cars:  “Simplify, then add lightness.”  It typified the approach Chapman took to achieve maximum performance without the anchors opposition cars were still proverbially dragging around behind them on road and track.

In many ways this reflects how Nutanix operates as well; we cut away the fat from administration, unnecessary complexity from the architecture and use commodity components (a bit like an Esprit then?) to ensure the best performance and reliability (so not an Esprit after all…)

Anyway, back to my customer.  They operate out of a site here in the UK but have ‘remote offices’ across the world.  The big difference to the shops you and I have worked in is that their IT systems are constantly traversing the globe.  Nothing stays still for long and while they’re online they have to be at maximum performance for a wide variety of workloads while also being in constant communication back to the UK.  It’s a very testing environment to say the least.  Before we put our arm around them they were a NetApp shop with all of the usual bits of hardware, administration and software costs that go along side it.  They also used the SAN to host their virtual machines on (I know, how 2003) which was just not giving them the performance they needed.

The first task was to show how we stacked up against their current architecture so I built a small three node cluster in around 10 minutes (including making two cups of tea) at their headquarters and within half an hour we had VMs migrated and running IOmeter and SQL benchmarking.

“It’s around ten times faster,” they said, after a week of testing.  Not bad for a single 2U block, huh?

By the way, setting up IOmeter in our distributed architecture is a bit different to the usual way of hammering a SAN so if you’re interested to know how just let me know and I’ll see if I can publish it.

So performance was a given and something that I had very little worry about and through these tests and a few failure simulations (cable kicks!) we showed them that our software could be relied upon in a far more volatile environment than a cosy datacenter.  We began to talk about the remote sites and that’s where the fun began and, coming back to todays theme, why I’m talking about lightness.

Exactly half of their Nutanix investment was to be in transit  and for the pleasure of doing so the customer is charged around $290 per KG by the shipping companies.  That’s a very expensive bag of sugar, don’t you think?  Now, imagine three racks filled with UPSs, switches, fabric, servers, NetApp controllers and disk shelves.  How many bags of sugar would you need to buy to balance all that?  A hell of a lot.

What if you could remove more than half of that weight instantly?

What if by using Nutanix you could save $150,000+ per year just in transportation costs?

That tastes rather sweet, don’t you agree?

The staggering fact is that by saving such a massive sum of money, in just three years the cost of the Nutanix solution is practically zero.

Ten times the performance, zero single points of failure, no limitations of scale and a constantly evolving platform to meet the needs of today and and the demands of tomorrow.

For nothing.

*** UPDATE ***

The customer in question is Williams Martini Racing and here’s a link to the case study.