ESG Blog: Discussing the Acquisition of Netsil with Rajiv Mirani of Nutanix (Video)
In this video, I speak with Rajiv Mirani of Nutanix at the .NEXT conference about one of their latest acquisitions, Netsil.

Jun 12, 2018
Bob Laliberte   ESG Blog: Discussing the Acquisition of Netsil with Rajiv Mirani of Nutanix (Video)
Author: Bob Laliberte


Interview Netsil StillIn this video, I speak with Rajiv Mirani of Nutanix at the .NEXT conference about one of their latest acquisitions, Netsil, a digital native application performance management solution built specifically for containers and microservices. Learn about its different approach to collecting information and providing actionable information. We discuss how this innovative solution fits into the Nutanix mutli-cloud strategy and how customers will benefit from it, and Rajiv provides some insight into how the technology will evolve to better serve hybrid cloud environments by integrating with Nutanix FLOW and the role it will have automating brownfield segmentation. 

Video Transcript

Announcer: The following is an ESG on location video.

Bob: Hi, I'm Bob Laliberte from ESG, and we're here at Nutanix .NEXT 2018. There's been a lot of product announcements this week as the show has gone on, and what we wanted to do is spend a little bit of time drilling down a little bit deeper with Rajiv to talk about Netsil, and their acquisition, and what that brings to Nutanix. So Rajiv, thanks very much for joining me.

Rajiv: My pleasure, Bob.

Bob: Excellent. So why don't we start with a little bit around what is Netsil and what does it bring to the table for Nutanix?

Rajiv: So Netsil's a company that we first ran into last year, and they had this very interesting technology that they had built, and what it does is it takes a different approach to application performance management. It's something instead of integrating host agents with all the complexity and compatibility issues that has, it uses the network as a source of truth for gathering metrics and interactions between applications. So there are two unique things about it, one is that it was designed to be completely non-invasive, installed in the network, do all its magic from there. And then secondly, it was designed for the world of containers and microservices. So all was designed with a large scale in mind, so the application which would be like, you know, 10 VMs might be 100 microservices today. And the solution they had built for performance management was one application, but we saw that the technology had a lot of potential in many other areas, and we felt we had to have that team work with us. So that's how it all happened.

Bob: Yeah, that's fantastic. And it's really something, what we might call a digital native company.

Rajiv: Exactly.

Bob: Right?

Rajiv: Exactly.

Bob: One that was born in the cloud, and designed for the cloud.

Rajiv: Born in the cloud, born in the container world, integrates well with, you know, cloud metadata and all that stuff.

Bob: And that ties in really well with that Nutanix is doing. So at the show, you've talked about enterprise cloud being very important, but that you're also expanding into the multi-cloud arena as well. So having a solution that can not only help organizations with their applications and workloads on premises but also in the cloud environment as well.

Rajiv: Absolutely, and Netsil does exactly that. So we'll be actually porting it over to Nutanix, it is, as you said, born in the cloud. It is cloud-first, and it helps us with a whole bunch of different things we want to do. We talked about FLOW microsegmentation at the show earlier toady, and that's just one example. We see uses for it in security, in DevOps, troubleshooting and remediation, all kinds of things.

Bob: Absolutely, and let's talk a little bit about maybe the customer benefits that organizations who have been leveraging Netsil have seen, you know, to high-level discuss what benefits they have achieved by leveraging Netsil.

Rajiv: So Netsil is today used mostly for performance monitoring and measurement, so people have been able to install Netsil in their networks and troubleshoot pretty complicated problems in a very, very simplified manner. It employs a very extensive set of tools which let you zoom in on issues very, very quickly, especially in this world of containers where, you know, containers are ephemeral, they come and go, and there's hundreds, maybe even thousands, of them. So how do you track a problem? Like, a consumer comes and tells you, "Your website's slow today." Well, that website, 1 request might be hitting 100 different containers before a response. How do you even figure out which component is not behaving well today? And Netsil, by monitoring all this traffic between them, looking for anomalies, looking for areas where things are not behaving normally, can help you really zoom into solutions very, very quickly.

Bob: That's perfect, and that aligns with Nutanix's overall message of simplicity. How do you take something that's very complex and reduce it to something very simple? And as you said, with all the containers and microservices, while it's more sophisticated and it allows for greater agility, it also creates a much more complex environment. Right?

Rajiv: Exactly right. Exactly, Bob.

Bob: So having a solution like this that allows you to be able to gain visibility into all those moving parts and rapidly identify the root cause can obviously really help accelerate the troubleshooting and help ensure the there isn't any downtime, etc., so.

Rajiv: And that's just one example, I mean, FLOW microsegmentation is a great one too, where it's not an area that Netsil's been working on so far. But the moment we saw the technology, it came to us that, "Hey, look. This would be a great use case for it." If you want to microsegment an existing application, you really have to first understand what it behaves like without visibility you can control, and Netsil gives us exactly that.

Bob: Absolutely, so you could see then setting up policies around the applications that are discovered, and then implementing those into FLOW and creating the microsegmentation for the specific applications augment...

Rajiv: Automating brownfield microsegmentation, that would be the dream.

Bob: Excellent. Any other areas you see of tight integration going forward?

Rajiv: Look, as CTU, I can talk a little bit about futures. I think there's lots of areas. Like, so on the security side, since it's monitoring all traffic, it knows which services tend to talk to which other services, what API calls they tend to make because it's actually a deep-packet inspection. What kind of JSON do they normally send for these API requests? And once it's baselined, applications can look for anomalies. It can tell you, you know, "Hey, this particular service is trying to do inserts into a database where normally it only used to do selects." With those kind of insights, you'll be able to get security alerts very, very easily. The same kind of application discovery we talked about for microsegmentation applies to com as well. So you know, if you have an existing application and want to develop a com blueprint for it, well, you've got to first discover all its part. Netsil can help you do that.

And we also see that opportunity even on the troubleshooting side. We combine with some of the machine-learning algorithms that we have developed at Nutanix. We can automate a lot of the troubleshooting remediation RCA that goes on at a data center.

Bob: Yeah, I was gonna say some of those use cases were just screaming for an AI, ML use case, right?

Rajiv: Exactly, exactly.

Bob: Applying that technology, getting that baseline data, being able to build that in, learn from it, and then report on the anomalous activity.

Rajiv: Very excited about the technology, looking forward to doing a lot more with it.

Bob: That's awesome. Sounds great. Thank you very much for joining us.

Rajiv: Thanks so much, Bob.

Bob: Thank you.

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