Storage developers are serving up different types of solutions, but the key piece is intelligent proprietary software running on commodity hardware. One approach — flash — replaces the old mechanical discs with technology on a chip, dramatically boosting speed while saving space. EMC and NetApp have acquired their way into the market, while Pure is 100 percent flash and Nimble Storage sells a hybrid model.
Nutanix takes a different approach by combining storage and computing into a single platform that runs on commodity servers. In its prospectus, Nutanix lists EMC and NetApp as competitors in selling centralized storage products as well as companies like Hewlett-Packard and Cisco, which offer integrated systems, and VMware for virtualization.
Nutanix's pitch is that none of those technologies were built to handle the complexities of today's computing environment or, to use an industry buzzword, manage "Web-scale" computing.
According to a Gartner report from last year, 50 percent of global businesses will be utilizing Web-scale IT by 2017, up from 10 percent in 2013.