Nutanix XI Frame: Run any Software in a Browser

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Nikola Bozinovic, Founder & CEO, Frame, GM, Desktop Services, Nutanix "What a waste of time!” This is how engineers at MotionDSP, a software company founded by Nikola Bozinovic, summed up three months of attempts to virtualize their video analytics software. It was early 2012, and a client required the software to be delivered securely through virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) directly into a browser, just like any other web service. Bozinovic then tasked his team of engineers to set up a robust, high performing virtual desktop for the client, with full graphics support. While the team had anticipated a seamless cloud experience, they instead ended up flipping through hundreds of pages of “getting started with VDI” manuals and kept clicking through seemingly endless configuration screens. “The reason my engineers struggled was that the VDI solutions available to them were complicated to get up and running, had ordinary graphics capabilities, and focused exclusively on on-premise infrastructure. Also, the solutions were not built for the cloud, which I thought was a massive opportunity to capitalize on,” points Bozinovic. These gaps in traditional VDI solutions led Bozinovic to start Frame later that year.

Frame’s vision was clear right since its foundation—to develop a cloud-native desktop service offering delightful user experience, one-click simplicity, and the freedom of running any software in a browser. Consequently, Frame created a modern, multi-cloud desktop virtualization solution with streamlined operations and as-a-service delivery for organizations looking to deliver apps and virtual desktops securely to users. As opposed to traditional solutions that were designed for a non-elastic, single-tenant data center infrastructure, and resulted in vendor lock-ins, Frame’s solution allowed organizations to choose from multiple cloud alternatives.

Over the years, with cloud computing and data privacy taking center stage, Frame continued to succeed in business along with expanding its team to 80 people. “And as we were looking to extend our solution’s capabilities beyond Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure public clouds, I met Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix, toward the end of 2017.

The meeting proved to be a turning point for both the companies,” remarks Nikola Bozinovic, founder and CEO of Frame. As a provider of cloud software and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solutions with a strong background in on-premise VDI, Nutanix’s commitment to simplicity, deep understanding of VDI, and adoption of open source software instantly struck a chord with Bozinovic. “I connected with Nutanix’s philosophy of providing top-notch user experience, making IT infrastructure invisible, and expediting operations compared to traditional tools. This, coupled with their global reach in the enterprise infrastructure landscape, made me believe Nutanix was a perfect match for us,” adds Bozinovic.

At the time, even Nutanix was looking for ways to address the emerging as-a-service and multi-cloud trends in the industry. “In this regard, Pandey recognized Frame’s potential to deliver products to Nutanix’s clients that were planning to migrate their on-premise infrastructure to public or even hybrid cloud,” states Bozinovic. Eventually, after several months of discussions around understanding each others’ technologies and business objectives, Nutanix acquired Frame in August 2018, and Bozinovic was named the GM for desktop services at Nutanix. Frame is now under the “Xi” umbrella of Nutanix’s cloud services and is known as Xi Frame.


A blend of Nutanix’s experience as an on-premise vendor and Frame’s multi-cloud nature gives immense freedom to organizations with regard to deploying their workloads at multiple locations


Xi Frame: Multi-cloud Desktop as a Service

What makes Xi Frame unique is its ability to provide desktop as a service (DaaS) with a control plane that runs in the cloud just like any other modern software as a service (SaaS) application. With a hybrid approach to DaaS, Frame allows organizations to run desktops and workloads on the Nutanix cluster as well as in the public cloud—Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In fact, a blend of Nutanix’s experience as an on-premise vendor and Frame’s multi-cloud nature gives immense freedom to organizations with regard to deploying their workloads at multiple locations and seamlessly migrating them from one place to another. Whether it is Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure and Frame DaaS, Microsoft Azure and Frame as an offering, or any other hybrid combination, clients can choose what best fulfills their business requirements.

"Given Frame’s elastic design, these users pay only for what they consume, thus saving them significant amounts of money and resources"

In the case of Nutanix’s infrastructure, the core comprises an HCI solution called Acropolis, AHV as a homegrown hypervisor, and an advanced, intuitive management console named Prism. These solutions have helped Nutanix gain recognition from Gartner and IDC in the HCI landscape. Augmenting the Nutanix core are various essential services including Nutanix Files, an enterprise-grade filer and a micro-segmentation solution, Flow. In the same vein, Frame, along with Era Database Services, is part of the enterprise services that further strengthen Nutanix’s position in today’s multi-cloud world. “As we advance from the core through essentials to enterprise services, you are transitioning from on-premise, hyper-converged storage solution to a complete set of data center services, and eventually to the third layer that consists of multi-cloud hybrid services. That is the strength of our story, and we walk our customers through this journey, helping them understand every single aspect,” explains Bozinovic.



Simplicity, Security, Agility, and Elasticity

Built from the ground up for today’s multi-cloud world, Frame combines elegant simplicity with dozens of one-click enterprise integrations for rapid implementation and adoption. Frame combines intuitive administrative interfaces and zero touch maintenance, allowing organizations to install, manage, and scale critical apps from an easy-to-use dashboard without any extensive expertise. With multi-factor authentication and a number of certifications including the FedRAMP Ready designation, Frame ensures robust security of cloud workspaces. Since apps run in the cloud, organizations’ data never leaves Frame’s secure datacenter. And as soon as a client’s project is completed, Frame terminates the session and destroys the virtual machine used, which prevents security breaches and unauthorized access.
Unlike traditional VDI vendors, the speed and agility of a DaaS enable organizations to incorporate innovations rapidly and seamlessly. “Even existing VDI users can utilize Frame as a supplementary solution for their temporary use cases such as seasonal projects, summer internships, end-of-the-year retail sales, and more. Given Frame’s elastic design, these users pay only for what they consume, thus saving them significant amounts of money and resources,” points Bozinovic. Frame provides organizations the alternative of experiencing a free test drive for two hours by merely signing up on nutanix.com/frame. Depending on their business needs or sophisticated use cases, organizations can opt for multiple test drives or even converse with a dedicated team of specialists for a deeper understanding of Frame’s capabilities. Flexibility is the essence of Frame as well as all of Nutanix’s offerings, which comes in handy while addressing diverse business requirements across industries and verticals.

The most typical use case involves enterprises that have traditionally been using VDI but now, look to Frame DaaS as a means to reduce the duration of VDI projects from months to days, or even a few hours. In addition, government IT providers can leverage Frame in a plethora of cases that mandate the FedRAMP Ready certification. With the ability to create virtual environments that support mobility and bring your own device (BYOD), Frame attracts a large number of clients from the education sector including universities that need to deliver, for instance, the SolidWorks designing software to mechanical engineers, and so forth. Similarly, in the case of service providers such as Autodesk, Adobe, and Siemens, Frame helps deliver DaaS or packaged digital workspaces for user-based consumption.

Success Story, Innovation, and the Future

Case in point, Frame has been assisting Autodesk—one of the largest software providers in the engineering and architecture sector—in virtualizing workstations for the annual Autodesk University conference that draws more than 10,000 attendees over three days. Previously, Autodesk’s event team would require a week and thousands of hours of labor to set up hundreds of high-powered workstations—not to mention what it took to ship the workstations across the country, hoping they arrived on time and intact. Whereas now, using Frame and Azure, they conduct conferences, hands-on training, and certification on virtual desktops preloaded with Autodesk software that is run from the cloud. By going virtual, Autodesk University has swapped desktops for laptops without compromising the performance while shipping only one-thirtieth of the hardware it used to.

Further exemplifying Frame’s effectiveness is how the solution helped Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), a global architecture firm, in boosting performance with enhanced manageability. With employees across continents, KPF had implemented on-premise VDI that failed to match the expected levels of performance and graphics quality. With Frame, KPF built a cloud-based virtual desktop environment that connects all users to the firm’s data and allows them to move things around the screen smoothly, thus delivering an enhanced user experience.

“Along with scripting many more success stories, we worked on completing the integration of Frame into Nutanix over the past six months. And later this year, we plan to add support for on-premise workloads in order to address the entire infrastructure spectrum for clients,” says Bozinovic. Today, as the world transitions toward hybrid environments, Nutanix, with its HCI solutions and Frame’s cloud capabilities, is in a unique position to provide clients with the best of on-premise and public as well as private cloud. Nutanix even demonstrated its clusters on AWS at the “.NEXT conference” last month, which bridges the whole public-private cloud divide. Hence, with Frame, VDI entrants now have a choice between private clouds, Nutanix’s best-in-class on-premise offerings, and the top public cloud providers including Azure, AWS, and GCP, all manageable from a single pane of glass.

Company
Nutanix XI Frame

Headquarters
San Mateo, CA

Management
Nikola Bozinovic, Founder & CEO, Frame, GM, Desktop Services, Nutanix

Description
Nutanix Xi Frame, a California-based cloud solution provider, offers a multi-cloud desktop virtualization service with enhanced UX, one-click simplicity, and the freedom of running any software in a browser. What makes Nutanix Xi Frame unique is its ability to provide desktop as a service (DaaS) with a control plane that runs in the cloud just like any other modern SaaS application. With a hybrid approach to DaaS, Nutanix Xi Frame allows organizations to run desktops and workloads on the Nutanix cluster as well as in the public cloud—Azure, AWS, or GCP

Nutanix XI Frame