William Beckett

Nutanix Beam - Multi-Cloud Optimisation to Reduce Costs & Enhance Security - Part 1

One of the biggest and most exciting announcements to come out of the annual Nutanix .NEXT conference this year is Nutanix Beam. Beam is a new Software as a Service (SaaS) offering from Nutanix as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS which is designed to help customers optimise and better manage cost and security when it comes to their public clouds. Currently Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure are the two supported public clouds however this could expand in the future to include Google Cloud Platform.

I'm going to make this a two part blog series as there's just too much to cover in a single post. Part 1 (this post) will give you an overview of Nutanix Beam and an introduction to the Beam UI and what you can expect to find there. Part 2 will continue through the Beam UI and talk a bit about the Cost Optimisation and automation features that Beam is best known for. So lets get into Part 1!

Beam Overview

Nutanix Beam provides you deep visibility into your multi-cloud environment and ability to optimize your clouds with one-click. Beam identifies underutilized and unused cloud services and then provides convenient single click remediation suggestions, empowering cloud operators to realize cost savings immediately.

Beam tracks cost consumption across all cloud resources at both aggregate and granular levels – per application workload, team and business unit. The visibility that Beam provides will help you identify the cost of your applications across multiple clouds as well as give you projections for future costs across your services.

Pair the simplicity of Nutanix One-Click operations and the deep visibility of Beam and you have a multi-cloud optimisaiton platform that is sure to disrupt the industry yet again.

If you want a more in depth overview of Beam head on over to the Nutanix blog here to read up.

I wanted to take Beam for a test drive to get an idea of how this new service works and how easy it is to use. I started this blog with the intention of it being an overview on the service however it has quickly evolved into a deep dive of sorts. Come with me on this journey as I take Beam for a spin and have a look at the different dashboards and screen Beam provides.

Getting Started

Beam is a SaaS offering so no on premise hardware is required. Nutanix is currently offering a 14-day trial so you can get a feel of Beam and if it will work for you. Head on over to https://beam.nutanix.com to login or https://www.nutanix.com/products/beam/signup/ to sign up for a free trial.

Beam Signup

Adding your Clouds

Once you are signed up and logged in to the Beam service you are greeted with a screen to select which public cloud you would like to add to Beam.

Beam Signup

After you select with AWS or Azure you are then given the option to take a tour of Beam with demo data or add your live AWS or Azure tenancy to Beam to play with live figures that actually mean something to you. In order to add your tenancy (in my case Azure) you'll need your Enrollment ID and Access Key (API). The Beam setup wizard helps you with where to find these pieces of information.

Beam Signup

Dashboard

The first thing you are presented after adding your AWS or Azure tenancy is the Dashboard and wow is this thing beautiful. One thing Nutanix has always done well is their UI/UX. The UI is easy to understand, not overcrowded and give you enough information without being like drinking from a firehose.

Beam Signup Beam Signup

The Cost Governance Dashboard is broken up into four sections:

  • Spend Overview - Your spend across your various subscriptions (if you have multiple subscriptions) otherwise it will show your services if you only have the one subscription (Virtual Machines, Data Services, Business Analytics, Cloud Services, Others)
  • Spend Analysis - Spend trend over time along with your Average Daily Cost, Last 7 Day Spend, and your Projected Yearly Spend
  • Top Services - Breakdown of your most used Services
  • Top Resource Groups - Breakdown of your most used Resource Groups

Clicking on any of the values in the graphs will take you to the Analyze page (more on this page below) for that service so you can dig in a bit further to see where your spend is going.

This dashboard is perfect for getting a quick insight into how your costing is looking across your entire tenancy. What's nice is that you are also given a future projection based on the current usage which will help to tailor your usage over time.

Analyze

If you click on any of the graphs or figures on the Dashboard you'll come through to the Analyze page. This is the spot where you can drill further down into your spending to see what each service is costing you.

The Analyze section is split into 5 subsections:

  • Current Spend
  • Projected Spend
  • Virtual Machine
  • Storage
  • Data Services

Current Spend

As the name of this screen suggests, the Current Spend section is all about analyzing your current spend (duh). This is where you can see your current costs across your services within a specific time frame. The default view is for 7 days worth of data however there is a filter off to the right that will allow you to change the time frame.

Overview

The first page you land at in the Current Spend section is the Overview screen. This screen gives you a look at what you are spending on a day to day basis. There is also options to change the graph view from Bar to Line, Pie or Table view as well as a drop down to quickly change from Day to Month view.

Current Spend Overview

The subsequent screens following on from Overview (Subscriptions, Service Categories, Service Type, Region, Tag, Cost Center, Department, Resource Group) will give you a similar view of the cost breakdown per day (in the default view) across those additional Azure sections. Hovering over each element on the graph will pop out some meaningful tool tips showing you the cost breakdown for that particular day. In order to keep this post from turning into a small novel, I've included screen shots of those screens below.

Current Spend Subscriptions Current Spend Service Categories Current Spend Service Type Current Spend Region Current Spend Tag Current Spend Cost Center Current Spend Department Current Spend Resource Groups

Projected Spend

The Projected Spend section is all about analyzing your potential future spend (calculated by how you are using your resources now). This is where you can see your predicted costs across your services within a specific time frame. The default view is for 3 months + the current month of data however there is a filter off to the right that will allow you to change the time frame.

Overview

The first page you land at in the Projected Spend section is the Overview screen. This screen gives you a look at what you are spending on a day to day basis. There is also options to change the graph view from Bar to Line, Pie or Table view as well as a drop down to quickly change from Day to Month view.

Projected Spend Overview

Again, subsequent screens following on from Overview (Subscriptions, Services) will give you a similar view of the cost breakdown across those additional Azure sections. Hovering over each element on the graph will pop out some meaningful tool tips showing you the cost breakdown for that particular day. I've included screen shots of those screens below.

Current Spend Department Projected Spend Services

Virtual Machine, Storage & Data Services

The final three sections on the Analyze page are very similar to one another (which is why I have grouped them together). They each have four sub screens (Overview, Sub Service, Region, Service ID) and the same default filter (7 days) on the right. These pages will again show you a break down of cost per day across the different sections of each service giving you the granularity to see exactly what is costing you money.

I think I will leave it here for today as this has become quite a long post.
Stay tuned for the next post on Nutanix Beam where I will dive into the Cost Optimisation and automation features that is generating all the buzz around Nutanix Beam.