Possibly the coolest thing is the new Elastic Deduplication Engine. It would appear that Nutanix NOS 3.5 can now use a combination of memory, flash and disk to deduplicate the working set of a virtual machine. This new dedupe engine provides additional performance gain, on top of the obvious reduced capacity consumption that comes with deduplication.
The final big ticket item in the NOS 3.5 release is the introduction of a new RESTful API. With the ever increasing progress towards a software defined data center, and of course software defined storage, the ability to automate tasks is critical. Great forward thinking here from the Nutanix team, and from what I have seen, they have created a very intuitive interface.
So now we come to the vSphere/VMware integration bits. First off, Nutanix have stated in their NOS 3.5 launch collateral that they now have a Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) for integrating with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager. I haven’t seen the SRA yet (I think Nutanix may still have to submit test results before the SRA is certified), but once this is out, Nutanix customers can now have a fully functional DR solution which integrates directly with vSphere, allowing for test fail-overs, structured recovery plans and fail-back to the production site when it is comes back online – all of the features one would need for an enterprise DR solution. (Disclaimer: As of March 19th, 2014, over 6 months after the article was published, the Nutanix SRA is not listed on the VMware website, as such it is not supported by VMware. Please validate the SRM section of the VMware website before implementing.)
I also heard of additional enhancements to their VAAI implementation. After a brief chat with Steve, he informed me that the additional VAAI-NAS primitive that Nutanix have implemented in the ability to reserve space on the NFS datastores. By default, all VMs deployed on NFS are thin. This primitive simply allows you to preallocate space up front for the VM, in other words deploy it as thick.
There are a lot more enhancements of course. More details on the NOS 3.5 release can be found here. Nutanix are a platinum sponsor at VMworld 2013. Drop by their booth to see the new NOS 3.5 features in action.