Nutanix Era Review

Clients can use it for automatization as well as virtualization but patch management has caused issues

What is our primary use case?

We deploy the solution for companies we work within the areas we cover — like our Minister of Education. They work with a lot of colleges. So we help them to deploy Nutanix in the central data center at the Ministry of Education. The colleges are using the centralized database from their locations as a guest or a cloud entity.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature in Nutanix Era is that the clients can use it for automatization as well as virtualization.  

There is no extra charge for other things. There is a scaled-down deployment. They get only the features that the client is issued.  

What needs improvement?

We just started about three or four months back to do deeper explorations of the product. We are in the implementation of it really, and exploration is still on-going. Essentially, customers have just started using this product so we need to wait some time and see what their feedback is going to be like. Generally, before, we were using the Nutanix Acropolis product, which is another hypervisor, and the deployment was okay. This is something new for us, so we are still discovering a lot about this solution. Maybe after six months, we will have more valuable customer feedback about what is missing and what is required to be improved.  

But so far, we already have some issues like patch management which has shown to cause some stability issues. The pricing — which is probably the biggest issue for this product becoming more accepted in the market — probably needs to be re-evaluated because it is too high and customers are resisting the cost. The pricing structure is also much more confusing than it needs to be.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have three customers here and they are working with Era. We are the system integrator so we deployed Era over there between three and four months ago depending on the client.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We don't see any problems with Nutanix so far. It is mostly very stable. But all the cases that usually reveal stability problems are upgrades. If we are upgrading the operating system or doing firmware upgrades and server upgrades, we may experience some stability issues. Sometimes there are stability issues when rebooting the node. These are the kind of things we have come to expect with this product, so it is okay. We are planning accordingly when we have to do upgrades and so far everything is surviving. We get by the temporary issues and move on.  

But we have definitely seen stability issues when we are upgrading the firmware of the servers with virtual machines in Nutanix. Otherwise, Nutanix is stable. The patch manager is the issue. So I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the patch management. Maybe the virtual machine has to be somehow offline when upgrading patches. This is not happening with the VMWare or other hyper-convergent products. It could be improved because they know when these situations occur and they know they need to resolve it.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Nutanix is good with scalability. There are no issues. Most of the clusters are six nodes, eight nodes, or twelve nodes. We have all kinds of customers in various businesses of various sizes with greatly varying demands. We have telecom customers and we have small customers. Some start with six nodes, some start with four nodes, some start with eight nodes. Different customers all have different variations in configurations. In 2018, we introduced three implementation packages which simplifies things somewhat from our end and in discussing the pricing points with clients. We maintain a 90 percent market coverage. In all, there are around 15 to 17 Nutanix customers and we never had a problem with scaling.  

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

As a reseller, we carry a lot of products. For about 90 percent of our customers, we are using VMWare and only 5 percent of our customers are using Nutanix. Some customers we have are also using Microsoft Hyper-V. Everything is in clusters. What the customer ends up using depends on the customer's needs and cost of the licensing. A lot of other things could have an impact on the decision-making process on the customer's side.  

How was the initial setup?

The Nutanix product has a lot of wizard-based utility for the installation which does everything. It is well thought out and very nice.  

Right now, most of the things that our clients are using the product for are automatization as well as virtualization. These are the two features that the customers are most interested in.  

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

The costs for Nutanix Era are subscription-based. It is very expensive. This is one of the reasons why it is not easy to deploy Nutanix as a reseller. This is especially true if clients have their own hyperware like Microsoft Hyper-V or VMWare and can compare the cost of those products.  

But the cost depends on the customers. When you compare Nutanix to VMWare, it is impossible to beat the price because the cost of Nutanix is very high. The pricing is something that should be lower. It is the Nutanix license itself that costs a lot. It is not the hardware, it is the software. The only thing which is stopping Nutanix from being a bigger player in the market is the price of the software.  

They have built a lot of complexity into the licensing as well. Sometimes costs are based on licensing of components, sometimes on the processor, sometimes on the cache, sometimes on the capacity. The licensing is too complex especially compared to something like VMware which is simple processor-based licensing. They have a single price and there is no flaw in the technology which suggests it is not as capable as the Nutanix product.  

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Nutanix Era as a four or five. Because we have only been using the product for less than five months, we are still doing some evaluations and there is feedback pending from the customer experience. There is too much that we still need to discover. But the pricing and the stability are big problems. I will have to give this product a four.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
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