First let's back up a bit. A virtualized operating system, or guest, is a copy of an operating system installed and configured to run on top of a specific hypervisor. A hypervisor is a piece of software added to a kernel running on physical hardware to allow virtualization to occur. Traditionally a hypervisor is only capable of supporting guests configured for that particular hypervisor.
Nutanix is setting out to create an appliance which will operate with multiple hypervisors. This means you could theoretically run a mix of hypervisors on the same storage cluster managed by a single interface. An example of a similar undertaking would be a single phone charging cable able to support Android phones, iPhone's, Blackberry and Linux phones. Some of the existing hypervisors are:
- Hyper-V - runs on Microsoft servers
- ESXi - runs on VMware's mini-Linux distribution
- KVM - runs on Linux
- On a network where funds are limited. Many companies are unable to upgrade their entire network all at once. This happens for many reasons, one of the biggest being the cost of upgrading an entire network all at once. Other reasons can be the cost of downtime or inability to be down as in an insurance company.
- In an inherited network or new position where virtualization already exists. If virtualization already exists but is not using the preferred hypervisor, this would allow implementation of the preferred software without compromising or negating the effectiveness of existing systems.
- When companies merge or additional sites are absorbed. Whenever companies merge or additional sites are added, managing and consolidating hardware and software can be a tedious process. More often than not different versions of software are being used for development, marketing, product design, sales, email, and more. Consolidating hardware running virtual machines on different and incompatible systems often means money is wasted.