Nutanix Acropolis AOS Review

Nutanix vs. VMware EVO:RAIL vs. FlexPod

Originally posted at

I hate the fact that I am bursting the big bubble brewing about Hyper Convergence (HC). I urge all to look past the hot air and hype frenzy that are going on, because in the end, the HC platforms have to be aligned and congruent to the organization’s data architecture and business plans.

The announcement of Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant on Integrated Systems (read hyper convergence) has put Nutanix as the leader of the pack as of August 2015. Clearly, many of us get caught up because it is the “greatest feeling in the world”. However, this faux feeling is not reality because there are many factors that made the pack leaders in the Magic Quadrant (MQ).

First of all, the MQ is about market perception. There is no doubt that the pack leaders in the Leaders Quadrant have earned their right to be there. Each company’s revenue, market share, gross margin, company’s profitability have helped put each as leaders in the pack. However, it is also measured by branding, marketing, market perception and acceptance and other intangible factors.

Secondly, VMware EVO: Rail has split the market when EMC has 3 HC solutions in VCE, ScaleIO and EVO: Rail. Cisco wanted to do their own HC piece in Whiptail (between the 2014 MQ and 2015 MQ reports), and closed down Whiptail when their new CEO came on board. NetApp chose EVO: Rail and also has the ever popular FlexPod. That is why you see that in this latest MQ report, NetApp and Cisco are interpreted independently whereas in last year’s report, it was Cisco/NetApp. Market forces changed, and perception changed.

The most glaring gap of the Gartner MQ is, it does not measure how good each technology is against the competitors, and therefore, boxes like Nutanix and Simplivity, and also the motley crew of so-called EVO:Rail partners, are simply betting on how good they pitch to get into the MQ Leaders Quadrant as part of their agenda.

It is not common that a vendor would do a bake-off against a competitor because one might fall flat on his/her face if they lose the bake-off. Recently we witnessed the big shouting match between Nutanix and VMware, each trying to out-boast the other with claims and counter claims of how good their performance was. Here is VMware’s Chuck Hollis’ piece and here is Nutanix’s piece (part 4 anyway). It was hounding the blogosphere with so much *bleep* that it felt like a game of Kabaddi. (Look up the game of Kabaddi).

The dare, double-dare and triple-dare went on for a few weeks between VMware and Nutanix until Storage Review, an online “independent” storage articles and news aggregator, probably got sick of this undignified spat. Storage Review ran the Nutanix’s tests (and blogged about it) and came up with some unexpected results. Nutanix got disillusioned and started to dictate what should be in the performance tests and went through some “innocent” and “hilarious” acts to justify the results. You can read about them here. Page 2 of that article started the “We ask you not to …” comments to Storage Review, which I thought was really funny.

That’s just it. The Hyper Converged vendors spend a lot of the resource and marketing on hypping up performance, and little of everything else. It is true that storage performance is needed for 25-30% of the active data. However, in any organization, we know very well that 70-75% of the data in the entire data lifecycle is non-active, Tier-3 or archived data. Hyper Converged systems and platforms ignore this passive data space. They do not play with inactive data landscape because the $/GB or $/TB is too expensive.

Furthermore, if we look at the entire HC thingy more close, it is just Software-Defined because it is just a wonderful piece of proprietary software running on an ODM (original design manufacturer) x86 platform. EMC VSPEX is rumoured to be running on the Quanta systems and Nutanix on Supermicro. Why do we need to pay a premium price for a piece of whitebox hardware?

We must overcome the hype and read beyond the messages that vendors, partners who tend to oversell their technology. We must look at what is required in our business, in our operations and look at our data requirements. I constantly share that we must look at our data landscape and use the 7 points that I always use to consider a technology – Availability, Performance, Protection, Accessibility, Management, Security and Compliance. Is the HC technology and the solution relevant to your organization’s business?

So, if you want to Hyper Converged, please Hyper Converge responsibly. Your data landscape architecture will thank you for it.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
More Nutanix Acropolis AOS reviews from users
...who work at a Financial Services Firm
...who compared it with VMware EVO:RAIL [EOL]
Add a Comment

author avatarit_user254232 (Senior Director, Outbound Marketing and Demand Generation at a tech vendor with 5,001-10,000 employees)

I just recently joined Nutanix so I missed the spat with VMware in blogosphere. However, a couple points on the value of hyperconverged -- it just works and is much simpler than cobbling together separate piece parts from your server + storage array + SAN + hypervisor vendors. Most people want their IT experience to be like buying and operating a car -- you just get in and drive rather than separately buying the engine + transmission + wheels + seats. This convergence is delivered in software and why there is a price premium over the industry standard hardware cost. Nutanix delivers it as an appliance to simplify the "get in and drive" experience. BTW, expect hyperconvergence to start encroaching on the Tier-3 space. Scale-out archival storage from EMC Isilon is already there, even though, it is not the cheapest. It's just simpler to set-up and run than other archival choices. The hyperconverged vendors will be there over time, as well.

author avatarit_user307227 (Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)

Brian - I think your analogy of buying a car is perfect..... for the average driver. I run all season tires on 2 of my 3 vehicles - they perform *adequately* in *most* conditions. However, when I want to drive in harsh conditions, or at a higher performance level, I equip my car with tires that are designed for the conditions. Thus while I happily drive in the blizzard, I pass the GLKs, the Jeeps, etc., because my winter tires are designed for the cold and the snow, while they are sitting in the ditch spinning with their OEM tires.

I'd like to thank you for pointing out that Nutanix is geared to the "get in and drive" consumer, rather than those who know and understand their processing needs. For those of us who still need a higher performing system, we will continue to assess, design, and implement systems that meet and exceed those needs.