Nutanix Acropolis AOS Review

Enables us to easily mix performance nodes with storage nodes

What is our primary use case?

We're using Acropolis as our own cloud platform. FutureTech, my company, has built a cloud which is called Jute Cloud and is offering services to customers in Kuwait, Bahrain, and in Jordan as well. We are offering infrastructure as a service, backup as a service, DR as a service, security as a service. All of that is based on Nutanix Acropolis.

In terms of performance, it is outstanding.

How has it helped my organization?

The TCO model of Nutanix is much more mature than other solutions, because everything is consolidated. We're getting the best value for our investments. We're able to build cost-effective solutions, so it helps us to generate better revenue, and better margins as well.

What is most valuable?

Flexibility. We're able to mix performance nodes with storage nodes easily. Unlike other vendors where, if we start a hyperconverged solution with them, we have to stick to a specific model, to a specific series with specific capabilities, with Nutanix it's very easy to mix and match the best solution, especially for a dynamic infrastructure like ours.

What needs improvement?

It would be fantastic if there was a built-in layer, in Nutanix, that acted like a cloud interface. So far, we need to integrate a cloud interface on top of Nutanix for billing the usage for specific customers' domains. It would be great if a cloud gateway was built-in, inside Nutanix.

Also, one of the very important things that I would like to see in Nutanix, but I'm not sure if it's in the roadmap or not, is to have some kind of caching optimization at remote sites, to build active-active data centers more easily.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is really outstanding.

One of my biggest customers worldwide is called Agility and they have distributed data centers around the world. In my first meeting, I asked the IT Manager there, "Okay, so what do you think about Nutanix's stability?" He said, "You know what? My only problem with Nutanix is that it's very stable, so I don't know how my engineers, if one day they face a problem, will fix it, because it's very stable, unlike other vendors." 

We literally put the appliance in production, and we forget about it. It's a very stable environment. More than 70 percent of my sales are coming from existing customers. Customers start with a small workload and then they add more workloads because they find the platform very stable and they can depend on it. They can add more workloads to it. And they even refer the technology to other customers as well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No other vendor in the market today has the scalability options that Nutanix has. We're able to mix different models, different capacity models, different performance models. It can do all of that. Other vendors cannot do that.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is very good, because whenever we have a support ticket, even from the virtualization layer, all we need to do is open one ticket with Nutanix, and they solve all of our problems related to hardware or related to hypervisor. We love that because it helps us to maintain our SLAs.

They are very responsive.

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

We switched to Nutanix Acropolis, because of the 3D architecture. The old architecture has a lot of disadvantages. For example, whenever there is a support ticket that needs to be opened, we used to check with the software manufacturers, and they would point fingers at the hypervisor layer or the virtualization software, so we would have to go open a ticket again with the virtualization vendor. Then, they would say, "No, maybe it's the storage." Then the storage guy would say, "No, maybe it's the SAN switch, not the storage," and we would keep on cycling.

With Nutanix, the best thing is that they support the whole solution. We're getting just one appliance.

One more issue was the storage itself. Regardless of how big the investment was - we could increase the capacity of the storage as much as we wanted - the problem remained in the IOPS. We found a very good solution for this in Nutanix, because whenever we're adding new appliances, not only are we increasing the capacity, but we're also increasing the performance. This is the best solution, especially for a dynamic workload.

Our most important criteria when selecting a vendor are 

  • support
  • having a decent roadmap
  • R&D.

Those are the most important factors. I put support first because maybe they have a very good technical solution but the support is very weak. That would be a very big problem for me, and production. And a vendor that is investing in R&D, it makes a lot of sense for me to use them.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Cisco HyperFlex. It was very weak. We also compared EMC2. They have a hyperconverged solution, but I don't remember what its name was. We also evaluated Simplivity, which is now part of HPE. All of them lacked a lot of features compared to Nutanix.

For example, automatic sync is not there. To guarantee the performance in all of them, you have to go with all-flash nodes. Nutanix is more cost-effective because we can mix a hyper solution and still get better performance than all-flash from those vendors.

What other advice do I have?

Do a demo. Don't just depend on the theoretical information in the information sheets, but go for an actual demo. Once you see a demo in action, you know exactly what the features are and how to do it.

I rate Nutanix Acropolis a 10 out of 10 because we're getting superior performance, support is very good, and it's a very cost-effective solution.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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