Nutanix, Red Hat Join Forces in a Hybrid Cloud Quid Pro Quo


In a classic “you scratch my back, I scratch yours,” manner, Nutanix has partnered with Red Hat for the much sought after containerization solution as Red Hat certifies Nutanix’s hypervisor in return. The partnership is expected to ruffle some feathers in the VMware camp.

Linux-based Kubernetes distributor Red Hat on Thursday signed an agreement with Nutanix as its preferred partner for Kubernetes on the Nutanix cloud platform. The partnership aims to even the scales when it comes to the pre-eminence of VMware in cloud computing and virtualization.

But more than that, the two companies are looking forward to “enabling installation, interoperability and management of Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) with Nutanix Cloud Platform, including Nutanix AOS and AHV.” That’s at least what the IBM-owned Red Hat had to say in its press release.

The partnership between Nutanix and Red Hat comes even as the former is engaged in the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) race, including containerization, cloud-native and virtual machine-driven development, deployment and management of enterprise software and applications, with VMware.

Nutanix and VMware are two of the fiercest rivals in HCI with a combined market share of over 62% as of Q4 2020, according to IDCOpens a new window . Nutanix, which currently lags behind VMware’s 38.7% share would be hoping to close the gap through the Red Hat partnership that essentially enables it to deliver one of the leading containerization softwares available today.

It makes even more sense bearing in mind that Red Hat Openshift and RHEL are already available for VMware vSphere 6 & 7 virtualization platform, and VMware Workstation Pro 15 hypervisor, respectively.

What’s more is that the rivalry feud between the two companies exacerbated in December 2020 when Nutanix poached VMware’s chief operating office in charge of products and cloud services with even greener pastures. Now leading Nutanix as the CEO, Rajiv RamaswamiOpens a new window had inherited the beef (which, interestingly, started off as a partnership before Nutanix launched AcropolisOpens a new window ), not to mention a lawsuit from VMware.

Nutanix, and Ramaswani (who in his nearly five years at the Palo Alto-based VMware got to know the company’s cloud business thoroughly), are well poised to up the ante. The Red Hat deal seems to be a part of this stratagem. But more than that, it’s also simply good business.

See Also: Why Hybrid Cloud Is Today’s Business Imperative: Tech Talk With the CTO, IBM Cloud

Nutanix and Red Hat Partnership

The partnership between the two companies means the Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux will be available on Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV), Nutanix’s native virtualization platform as two fully supported solutions.

The alignment of Nutanix cloud platform AHV and Red Hat’s open source containerization solutions enables the creation of a full-stack platform for building, managing software in containerized form as well as virtual cloud (hybrid, multi-cloud, on-premises) environment at scale.

Nutanix will thus have an edge over VMware in running containerized software and virtual machines on hybrid cloud, technology that is rapidly gaining momentum. VMware itself is looking to integrate Kubernetes over the vSphere platform to build, run, and manage applications under Projects Tanzu and Pacific.

Paul CormierOpens a new window , president and CEO at Red Hat saidOpens a new window , “We have a vision to enable open hybrid clouds, where customers have choice and flexibility. Our partnership with Nutanix brings a leading hyperconverged offering to the open hybrid cloud, driving greater choice for our joint customers in how they deploy their containerized workloads and backed by a joint support experience.”

Under the partnership, Nutanix AHV is a Red Hat certified hypervisor. A joint engineering roadmap is also on the cards for extended interoperability and support for customers.

What Red Hat Stands to Gain

If Nutanix’s affirmation of OpenShift being an innovative solution for cloud, on-premise, and hybrid cloud containerization is not enough, Red Hat can rest assured that the world’s second-biggest provider of HCI is banking on the enterprise readiness of Red Hat’s products.

The partnership announcement clearly delineates Red Hat Openshift as the “preferred choice for enterprise full stack Kubernetes” while Nutanix Cloud Platform again is the go to HCI for Red Hat customers.

Red Hat also stands to expand its net with a wider customer base and reach taking into account the demand for HCI over open source computing platforms such as OpenStackOpens a new window . Red Hat’s director of product management Ronald Pacheco told The Register that the preference given to HCI solutions like Nutanix is due to the “simplicity of deployment, ” as this “requires a lot less skills.”

“We are thrilled to see two of our technology partners announce this strategic relationship. As we manage the complexities of hybrid cloud, we believe this relationship will unlock new hosting and deployment options for VM and container-based workloads,” saidOpens a new window Ritch HoudekOpens a new window , senior vice president of technology at retail department store chain Kohl’sOpens a new window . “These new options will support our goals of being fast, efficient and friction-free as we deliver new experiences to our customers.”

Closing Thoughts

Nutanix’s intention to catch up to, and possibly overtake VMware may have been the driving factor behind the union with Red Hat. But as we noted earlier, this really is just exceedingly good business.

Not only are the two companies lining up respective HCI and containerization solutions to deliver an integrated full stack (application level, platform and infrastructure server-side logic design, et al) offering to customers that have plied hybrid clouds, they are also banding together the engineering teams for a comprehensive product planning.

They are also talking about joint support. When you think about it, that’s rare.

VMware, on the other hand lost its CEO Pat Gelsinger to Intel shortly after losing Ramaswami late in 2020. Where the company will go from here can only be speculated and for now, VMware’s position is relatively safe. But it needs to revamp its vision under newly appointed technologist CEO Raghu RaghuramOpens a new window as it undergoes consolidation when Dell technologies spins off its 81%Opens a new window share in VMware later this year.

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