Should cloud ‘backend’ hyperconvergence infrastructure specialists play with ‘frontend’ toys like drones and their applications in our Internet of Things (IoT) world? Enterprise cloud computing company Nutanix says yes, it’s time for takeoff.

Nutanix is a company known for its approach to software-defined networking and so-called hyperconvergence, the provision of all backend cloud computing resources (from storage to compute processing) in one complete package.

The firm’s main priorities are focused on datacenter aspects including performance, scalability, resiliency and robust security. Why then would a firm that plays at the backend start talking about frontend devices?

Webscale, down to one device

Richard Arsenian is global solution architect for OEM Alliances at Nutanix. He argues that the firm’s technology is so versatile that it is delivered as a software platform for complete enterprise wide deployments (what some is sometimes called ‘webscale’), but that, equally, it can be scaled to one device.

This is important on two levels:

  • It means that the firms providing cloud power at the backend for the IoT can scale up ‘as wide as the web’ and provide so-called ‘webscale’’ breadth if any one IoT deployment is massive in and of itself.
  • It also means that we can provide refine the delivery of this technology down to the specificity of one individual device, which if we need to tune specific data tasks on specific IoT sensors or bigger complete machines, then we can do it.

Arsenian says that Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) that were once only available to government and special military operations has become commoditized such that they are now available to enterprises (and, in some cases, individual consumers) who now have the opportunity to integrate them into existing systems and workflows.

The ultimate use of these kinds of technologies could lead to projects like Facebook’s Aquila project, which is a solar powered drone that can fly autonomously for three months to connect areas of the globe where Internet access is non-existent.

Acropolos 1

Writing on ChannelBuzz, Arsenian explains that given the expanding applications for drone technology, Nutanix thought it would be interesting to create a fun proof of concept of their own, which they call Acropolis 1.

“Acropolis 1 adopts the same webscale methodology used in our hyperconverged platform to transform a drone into a cloud platform to deliver greater value encompassing enterprise applications and/or services whilst maintaining autonomous flight control. This is accomplished by taking commodity-based drone hardware and integrating it with an Intel Next Unit Computing (NUC) server and Nutanix’s Community Edition (CE) software,” said Arsenian.

PRODUCT NOTE: Nutanix CE shares the same DNA as the firm’s enterprise cloud platform that natively converges compute, virtualization and storage into a software-defined solution coupled with machine intelligence.

What did we learn here?

One of the key takeaways here, surely, is that IoT technology does indeed need to be as big as the web (webscale) but as small as the device. It’s a lesson in ‘breadth’ specifically and one that should impact the way IoT architecture is designed long before we get to the point of implementation.

If you care about your IoT devices, then you need to think about the frontend and the backend if we want to avoid an implosion somewhere in the middle.


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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.