Data center company Cyxtera today announced a new software-powered data center architecture and a partnership with hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vendor Nutanix to provide on-demand HCI from its facilities.
The new Cyxtera Extensible Data Center (CXD) platform combines a network and services provisioning engine with an intra-data-center, software-defined network fabric. This allows colocation customers to provision services on demand or via a web console and run distributed environments within and across Cyxtera data centers.
A unified services port provides access to multiple data center services over a single physical port. And AppGate SDP, the company’s flagship security platform launched last week, provides software-defined perimeter and threat analytics services.
The CXD platform focuses on connectivity within the data center, said Randy Rowland, president of data center services at Cyxtera. “We will allow you to do virtual cross-connect, so you can connect cages together,” he said, adding that the platform also allows customers to run a virtual cross-connect between two data centers in Silicon Valley, for example, or in another market with multiple facilities.
Cyxtera also today rolled out its first two CXD-powered services: CXD IP Connect, which allows customers to provision Internet bandwidth service on demand, and an on-demand HCI service called CXD Compute Nodes. The latter runs Nutanix Enterprise Cloud software on Nutanix hardware and allows customers to provision dedicated HCI nodes without buying their own infrastructure.
“We’re all used to point and click provisioning in IT,” Rowland said. “We have cloud, everything is deployed on demand, and we want instant access.”
Companies want to deploy hyperconverged infrastructure — it’s the fastest-growing data center technology — and this service allows them to provision HCI with public-cloud speed and private-cloud control, he added. “We think we can take that average deployment time of six months and reduce it to one day.”
Cyxtera may team up with other HCI vendors in the future but chose Nutanix for its HCI on-demand launch for a few key reasons, Rowland said. These include its automated provisioning and lifecycle management capabilities and the fact that its software is cloud and hypervisor agnostic.
“We’re not a cloud provider, we’re a data center company, and we want to be agnostic when it comes to those platforms like AWS and Microsoft Azure,” Rowland said. “We don’t want to become a managed service provider. So if we can automate it, then customers can build whatever they want on it. And the Nutanix platform fit that requirement very well.”
The partnership is also an important win for Nutanix as it moves to a software-only business model.
Cyxtera’s roots go back to November 2016 when CenturyLink sold its data centers to an investor consortium. The group of investors officially launched Cyxtera in May 2017, and today is has 57 data centers in 29 global markets.
CenturyLink holds a minority stake in Cyxtera, and it still occupies the same amount of space in the data centers. According to Cyxtera, its data centers average about nine carriers per facility. In addition to CenturyLink, a few of the many others include Comcast, Verizon, Zayo, Cogent, and AT&T.
In November the data center company partnered with Megaport to offer direct connections to cloud providers and interconnection services using Megaport’s software-defined networking (SDN) platform. Initial markets include London, Dallas, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.
It differentiates itself from other data center companies like Equinix and Digital Realty by focusing on “providing secure infrastructure,” Rowland said. It does this by embedding its security software into its services.