In 2019 Nutanix made a lot of noise around its Nutanix Mine product which DCIG wrote about a few years ago. This offering presents Nutanix’s technology as a secondary scale-out storage offering optimized for use in backup. One could configure Mine as either a backup storage target or an integrated backup appliance with both backup software and storage.
However, Mine seemingly faded from the headlines since then. This disappearing act did not entirely make sense to me.
Recently DCIG has seen a significant uptick in interest in backup target appliances that offer deduplication technology and robust recovery features. Nutanix Mine checks both these boxes. This begged the question, “Why would Nutanix discontinue or downplay its Mine offering?” This lack of clarity about Mine contributed, in part, to my decision to attend the recent Nutanix .NEXT 2023 conference in Chicago.
Mine Still Lives But as Objects Storage!
In meeting with Nutanix at its recent conference, it turns out Mine has not gone anywhere. One can still find Nutanix Mine on Nutanix’s website. However, Nutanix rarely mentions Mine in its communications. Rather, it refers to its Objects Storage offering.
Nutanix’s heightened focus us on Objects Storage shows up in how Nutanix licenses Mine. Nutanix currently only offers two licensing options for Mine, one of which essentially represents its baseline Objects Storage license. These two license options include:
- Unified Storage Starter. This licensing option presents Mine as a backup storage target. In this use case, Mine utilizes Nutanix Objects Storage to present an S3-compatible object storage interface. This common use case for Nutanix Objects Storage negates the need to formally use the “Mine” term. This led to some confusion (at least on my part) on whether Mine still formally existed as a product and its future.
- Unified Storage Pro. Nutanix makes a second licensing option available for Mine. This option delivers Mine as part of an integrated backup appliance. Organizations may acquire Mine bundled with a backup software, such as Arcserve, HYCU, and others. This integrated Mine backup appliance provides a scale-out architecture with computing power for the backup software and storage capacity for the backups. It then positions organizations to handle backup workloads with high capacity and/or performance demands.
Backup Target Remains the Primary Use for Nutanix Objects Storage
On a broader level, Nutanix finds its Objects Storage offering primarily gets deployed as a backup target. According to Nutanix, Objects Storage gets deployed as a backup target up to 90 percent of the time in customer environments.
Any provider’s enterprise backup software may use Objects Storage as a backup target since they all support backup to an S3-compliant interface. Once protected, organizations may use Objects Storage to deduplicate any of these backup software’s backups. Objects Storage performs deduplication at a cluster level (as opposed to global deduplication across multiple clusters) to provide the best performance.
Organizations also have access to other features available on Objects Storage. These include scaling to multiple petabytes of capacity, a new global namespace feature, and performing analytics on the backups stored on it.
Objects Storage’s deduplication and scalability features certainly help organizations resolve the tactical backup and recovery challenges they often face. Objects Storage better positions them to manage backup storage growth and minimize data stores. Its data immutability features also protect backups from ransomware attacks. Further, organizations may find they can potentially do instant restores of virtual machines (VMs) hosting them directly on Objects Storage.
Backups Stay Local, Analytics Go Global
Nutanix’s analytics functionality may make for its most interesting and, potentially, most useful feature for organizations going forward. Enterprises may now perform analytics globally using Nutanix’s new SaaS-based Data Lens feature.
To perform this analysis, Nutanix can extract and export metadata from any Nutanix Objects Storage cluster to the Nutanix cloud. This technique ensures backups and any other data stored on a Nutanix Objects Storage solution remain in-place to satisfy any regulatory requirements.
However, current data governance requirements may not apply to organizational metadata. This gives organizations the flexibility to extract and export the metadata from a Nutanix Objects Storage cluster. Once exported to the Nutanix cloud, organizations may analyze this metadata using Data Lens.
Hosted in the cloud and available as a SaaS, Data Lens eliminates the need for organizations to install, configure, and manage. They may immediately use it to analyze their metadata for items such as:
- Data creation, modification, and access patterns
- Developing and customizing forms, workflows, and queries
- Discovering ransomware
- Performing data cleanup
Nutanix Objects Storage Vastly Expands Mine’s Possible Use Cases
As I discovered at the Nutanix .NEXT conference, Nutanix Mine remains alive and kicking under the Objects Storage brand. Objects Storage still primarily gets deployed like Mine did: as a backup target.
However, repositioning Mine under the Objects Storage umbrella makes sense. Defining Mine as only a backup target or integrated backup appliance shortchanges its underlying capabilities.
Granted, Objects Storage offers scale-out storage, deduplication, and an S3 interface. That’s only a starting point. Organizations now need their backup appliances/target to do much more than just host backups. They must protect backups from ransomware, offer immutability, support instant restores, replicate data, and perform analytics. Objects Storage checks all these boxes that organizations increasingly prioritize in today’s modern IT infrastructure.