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Is Nutanix's secret hypervisor 'PROJECT ACROPOLIS'?

KVM-wrangling kit is hiding in plain view and headed for hyperscale

By Simon Sharwood, 7 May 2015

The Reg's pursuit of Nutanix's rumoured hypervisor has turned up some leads about something called “Project Acropolis”.

We were recently told by a Nutanix partner to think about Athenian buildings. A little searching later, up popped “Acropolis” in a Nutanix community thread, where it is billed as a manager for KVM virtual machines. The timing of the posts in that thread mentioning Acropolis suggests they were made a few days after the late January release of Nutanix Operating System 4.1.1, which added management for KVM.

The thread we've linked to above notes the limitations of those features, but also features a Nutanix staffer saying “... the KVM with Acropolis will have more features in the future releases. As of now, we have live migration, clones, snapshots.'

“Also, at this time, we do not have Acropolis running across 2 clusters to work with each other. This will be implemented later with the use of Prism Central.”

So what might Project Acropolis be? This presentation by Nutanix man Maxim Shaposhnikov, delivered last year, talks up a zero-to-hyperscale-in-thirty-minutes arrangement.

Nutanix Acropolis - облако на базе KVM под ключ, Максим Шапошников (Nutanix) from Ontico

That deck also talks down OpenStack as too hard for most users, a common criticism but one that suggests Nutanix thinks something else is needed for those keen on open source clouds.

Let's also consider this article in Russian, which can be found in several places. Once we shoved it through a translate-o-tron we found discussion of a project to break through the scalability barriers that limit the size of clusters running virtual machines. The document, a copy of a blog post, suggests Acropolis will “seamlessly scale up virtually unlimited … hundreds or millions of VMs”. There's also mention of migrating VMs into KVM.

We're also hearing that Acropolis is Nutanix's take on the Open Nebula cloud manager, so perhaps we're looking at Nutanix getting deeper into the clouds-built-on-KVM caper.

Which wouldn't be quite the middle finger to VMware that's been imagined ... except that the other thing we're hearing about Nutanix's plans is that it's keen on its own hypervisor to reduce costs for customers. The idea is that customers could run workloads they want on vSphere or Hyper-v in those products, but that KVM could do things like run the storage.

All will be revealed, we presume, at Nutanix's June conference. ®

Bootnote: Yes, the image we're using for this story is the Parthenon, which is one of several buildings upon the Athenian Acropolis. A picture of the Acropolis itself would be rather duller.

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