Nutanix Acropolis AOS Review

I can do hypervisor upgrades on all my hosts with a click of a button while in production. Site-to-site replication needs some work.

How has it helped my organization?

The simplicity Prism/AHV delivers over other hypervisor solutions has dramatically alleviated the workload of our IT department without taking away granular features.

What is most valuable?

The level of statistical performance data it is able to report in real time is extremely useful. I can see what my VM’s hosts and guests are doing form a single pane of glass and identify issues before they would otherwise become apparent.

What needs improvement?

Site-to-site replication needs some work. It’s not as feature rich for a disaster recovery implementation as I would like to see, but my understanding is that it is slated for improvement in near-future releases. DRS-like functionality is also a much-desired feature that is also slated for future release. Third-party solutions are also few and far between as of right now since Nutanix is so new. In regards to third-party backup solutions, your only agentless option is Commvault, which is expensive, complex and requires intensive vendor training. We opted to use the built-in snapshot replication options to Azure.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is so dramatically more stable than other hypervisor solutions I have used its almost hard to believe. I can do hypervisor upgrades on all my hosts with a click of a button while in production. No need to move or shut down guests or take hosts out of production, or plan off-hours maintenance windows. I don’t need to seek out updates or go extended periods of time because of a lack of awareness of updates. It’s literally as easy as you’d hope for or expect to have… probably more so.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is a non-issue, especially if you have Prism Central Pro. The only scale issue we ran into was right-sizing the environment we purchased for our existing needs. We over purchase by quite a lot only because we had no way to measure the deduplication and compression savings until the data was actually imported into the system. The storage savings we received from these features was substantial. We got better than a 2.5:1 ratio on compression, which took our storage usage from 12TB down to about 4TB.

Prism Central Pro has a feature called capacity runway that can estimate your growth and inform you when you will need to expand your cluster and even recommend the appropriate node to expand into based on your usage in real time. You can plan your next upgrade 6+ months out with high confidence you’re not over doing it, jumping the gun or purchasing too late and causing your environment to suffer performance issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is pretty stellar. Even when you get a tech that isn’t quite on par, it’s easy to get them back on track or escalate the case yourself with a click of a button, not that you really ever have to that often. The response time is very fast. The language barriers are almost nonexistent, and most issues can be resolved the same day with a couple emails and minimal effort. Most of the time, I just inform support that I have opened the support portal and they login and fix the issue without ever needing to try to make our schedules work together, and the next corresponsive is that its fixed already.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are currently in the process of switching to AHV from ESXi. We felt the Nutanix solution was significantly easier to manage, has all the features we need, and comparable features to ESX already either exist or are on their way in the near future. We believe that the solution Nutanix offers is the way the market will continue to trend in the future. Finally, going with AHV cuts out ridiculously overpriced costs of ESXi. We were looking at over $100k in licensing with ESXi alone for what AHV will supply us for free.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was easy. We could have set it up ourselves; however, Nutanix flew a technician out to use to set up the environment for us. All we had to do was mount our ESXi data pool on Nutanix and vmotion the VMs over to Nutanix, and we were up and running on the new cluster in under a week.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I would encourage you to heed the advice of your rep on what to purchase with one exception: Make sure the hardware you’re purchasing is the latest generation of hardware available. Also, Prism Central Pro is worth spending a few extra bucks. I’d also take into consideration that since Nutanix is fairly new, not all ESX-comparable features exist yet, but don’t let that discourage you away from Acropolis, as their development team is top notch and moving fast… the features are coming. If you must have ESX, it runs fantastically on Nutanix, but you’re probably spending more than you need to on licensing it over just using Acropolis and being patient. You’re also taking away many of the feature that simplify your environment by passing up Acropolis.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We spent a substantial amount of time evaluating many other options, including VxRail, EqualLogic and Compellent, the Dell M series blade chassis, NetShelter, Cisco UCS, as well as SimpliVity. Plus we evaluated Nimble vs Nutanix.

What other advice do I have?

Do not dismiss Nutanix too hastily over one little feature or another. They are coming, and it is worth your patience. The value brought in simplicity, support and time savings is worth a good hard look. Also, consider purchasing Turbonomic with or before Nutanix. They pair and play well together. Prepping my environment with Turbonomic before migrating made the transition much faster and easier by right-sizing my VMs and it continues to offer great features in my new environment. If you do, make sure they know you intend to move to Nutanix to ensure you license the proper features.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarChris Childerhose
ExpertTop 5Real User

Great review. We are looking at them as well to start our Dev/Test environment first then move to Production.