Nutanix vs. VMware vSAN

Nutanix is ranked 1st in Hyper-Converged (HCI) with 40 reviews vs VMware vSAN which is ranked 2nd in Hyper-Converged (HCI) with 84 reviews. The top reviewer of Nutanix writes "What you might not know about Nutanix that makes it so unique". The top reviewer of VMware vSAN writes "Gives us a lot of advantages when we need to expand resources". Nutanix is most compared with VMware vSAN, HPE SimpliVity and VxRail. VMware vSAN is most compared with Nutanix, HPE SimpliVity and VxRail. See our Nutanix vs. VMware vSAN report.
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Most Helpful Review
Chris Gould
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Quotes From Members Comparing Nutanix vs. VMware vSAN

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
Nutanix has several unique capabilities to ensure linear scalability.The level of statistical performance data that it can confirm in real-time is extremely useful. I can see what my VM’s hosts and guests are doing from a single pane of glass and identify issues before they would otherwise become apparent.SRM capabilities for replication have been proven reliable and very useful for our organization.It has seamless expandability.Their Google operating system is more mature, so their results are much better.Prism Central allows managing the cluster from a single pane of glass, and it allows a deeper dive into the solution.They have one of the best technical supports in my experience.Simplified management: It provides us more time to work on other tasks.

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We can also create test cases. We can even throttle down performance or release more performance. So, we can run more precise test scenarios.When we do to do more scaled load testing, we can run more dense workloads and still have the same results across all specific nodesvSAN provides default HA configurations, where if any host goes down, the VM moves around within the host. Even though the disks are local, the VMs moves around with the vSAN disk and vSAN provides a high availability on its own.vSAN is scalable for us. If any additional capacity needs to be included, we just add to the host and configure the vSAN cluster.The most valuable features for us are the ability to scale out the nodes independently, and the flexibility of the nodes. We can put almost any type of server in there with our connectivity and everything works great.Scalability in vSAN has been really good. It's very easy to add nodes in, to automatically generate the drives and the disk groups. It has been a piece of cake, surprisingly so.The most valuable features of vSAN are its simplicity to deploy and that we can use commodity disks in our servers without complexity or need for external storage arrays or storage specialists on our teams.The features of vSAN allow us to reduce our operational complexity to a large degree.

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Cons
There is a need is to be able to consume Nutanix storage from outside the cluster for other, non-Nutanix workloads.Regarding third-party backup solutions, the only agentless option is Commvault, which is expensive, complex, and requires intensive vendor training.We would like to see it support other systems outside of the compute stack from which it was built.They should support more VM, which is not currently supported.I would like better integration of XenServer into the AOS and Prism Central.Make it easier to manage.Reduce its power consumption.Native File-Services are under heavy development and Container Services just came out.

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When we talk about improvements for vSAN, there is some way to go from a at least stability perspective. Adding all these new features is nice, but we are now at the level that most of the features you need in production are there.Upgradability could be a bit easier sometimes. We are now where vSAN can be updated without ESXi, but there is still enough dependency. So that would be good if that actually would uncoupled even more.There is a room for improvement on the latest version of compatibility with the VMware product, especially for vSAN and with other vendors on their motherboards and driver configurations.The biggest room for improvement I see in vSAN is the lack of SAN connectivity. I've kind of joked around that there is no "SAN" in vSAN. And it's something that we've worked to try and introduce some options for, and we're going to continue to work towards that.I see room for improvement for vSAN just around general hardware compatibility and expanding that sort of matrix.I see room for improvement with vSAN in particularly in the reporting realm. Now, with vSAN 6.7, they're starting to include vRealize Operations components in the vSphere Client, even if you're not a vRealize Operations customer. So, that's really good. It exposes some really low-level reporting. I would like to see more of that. However, you have to be a vRealize Operations customer to obtain that. I would like to see more include of this included in the vSAN licensing.vSAN itself is a great storage platform, but one of the issues with it is that you have to be fully locked into the VMware package to use it. We're going to be deploying 72 Kubernetes nodes, and we're not going to buy VMware licenses for 72 of them, just so they can access vSAN. That's what we're using the Pure for. Opening it up so you could have vSAN as a data store, use it as a data lake, hit it with an NFS, S3 from outside the VMware ecosystem, would be great.We do see weird things crop up every now and again. It will say that a drive gets kicked off even though it's fine, and we have to re-add it.

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Pricing and Cost Advice
I don't feel that I am receiving the performance which I am paying for.Work close with your InfraTeam and discuss with Nutanix the best way to achieve sizing and price that are right for you.Licensing depends on the features needed.Extra features should not be so expensive. We would love to be able to use or even just try some of the extra features without having to buy them. Buying those features is just as expensive as buying vSphere licenses, so the cost savings is nullified.Setup cost is minor, pricing is quite a bit (we have a 7-node-cluster for about 450K EUR with 2 vGPU-nodes for Citrix) but that includes hardware, software, and support.While cost may seem higher than your traditional 3-tier architecture, you need to look at the bigger picture. You're not just buying hardware here. You're buying a complete environment.I know Nutanix and VxRail have similar prices and licenses. Nutanix is a go-ahead if AHV is used as hypervisor because it is already embedded in the price.The basic license that comes with the box allows basic virtualization features but advanced automation features would require an upgrade of licenses.

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ROI from an administrative perspective is clearly much better because I only have to deal with one user interface.With vSAN, we didn't find the market that competitive.The vSAN is somewhat expensive to license.The vSAN licensing is not an inexpensive product. It does cost more than hypervisor.We did consider other hyperconverged solutions. It usually came down to price. vSan was the most cost effective thing.What made us go with this solution was price point. When you can utilize existing storage infrastructure, and not have to continually purchase new SAN products out there that are going up in price as time goes by, then it's a wonderful thing.We have increased our user productivity.​I would like to see this technology be made available to smaller businesses, who might benefit from high availability but struggle with the entry fee.​

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Answers from the Community
AmitMehta
Hector MaldonadoUser

I been using VMware for long time and they have a very robust product that for quite some time. We used vSan to consolidate some low budget storage in order to maximize their use however, We switched to Nutanix seeking performance, flexibility to use both SSD and HDD, Licensing savings and of course one of your questions, the usability and simplicity.

After a year, I do recommend Nutanix because is simple to use (management and processing tasks are far more easy, fast and clean than VMware) , performance and the ability to select which kind of disk I wanted to run my VMs.

Nutanix storage show you a single container for all vms that has the capability of managing I/O loads and prioritize them across disks. In terms of expansion of resources, just adding a new host or storage node will expand the cluster easily. In the case you use DELL XPS server, you can add Disks to each node to expand storage without adding new host (If you have the physical space of course).

Nutanix user interface is clean, already tested in all browsers and their support is fast with a few clicks you can almost do everything. Really fast interface response.

Replication and protection is built in with consistent snapshots and also it has real-time statistics of the health, network, protection and hardware in the same management console. Basically you do everything in the same place.

Migration in Nutanix was a snap, easy and without complications, they had a tool that help schedule migrations without user input that connects to VMWare and migrate and translate all VM needs into the new system.

I use the VMware Client completely because the interaction everyday, I found the Web version not as fast or responsive than the old client and also managing storage between the cluster sometimes get messy, compatibility issues, orphaned snapshots, even sometimes if a host failed, the vCenter Appliance does not respond well restoring the cluster HA sometimes and needed to disconnect, reconnect the hosts in order to make it work.

I do not tested simplivity but I did use this link because I liked how they evaluate each solution:
>> http://www.datacenterzombie.com/hyper-converged-infrastructure-comparison/

I recommend to specifically look at the upgrades section. I already did various 1-click upgrades without production interruption in my Nutanix Clusters in comparison of VMware with HPE where I need to upgrade SAN firmware to fix performance issues and I need to take all the cluster down to perform it and I rather prefer to let HP support (that of course has costs involved) to do it in case something go wrong.

Another good information source ( see Figure 1. HCIS Key Feature Comparison)
here:

>> https://www.storagenewsletter.com/2015/07/08/hyperconverged-infrastructure-solutions-simplifies-midmarket-data-center-gartner/

We been with HP for more than 15 years and we switched to Nutanix hardware because instead of purchasing hardware, Hypervisor software and upgrades, monitoring and alerting software, backup software, basically we got it all from Nutanix tested, built in and ready for function in no time.

This of course is my opinion while using both platforms while I finish the migration of very old databases to the new Nutanix system.

Hope this information helps you.

02 November 17
Deb BerczynskiUser

Please see response below from Shane Hill, PMP Arrow SI Practice Manager, Data Center Infrastructure

vSAN was not originally designed to be a replacement for Enterprise storage systems. It was originally designed as a low cost alternative to them for Small Office Branch Office. It then got dragged kicking and screaming into today because of companies like Nutanix as competition. Even with vSAN R6.6, it’s still got some glaring misses.

* Restricted write buffer size
* Maxiumum number of nodes
* Long rebuild time
* Deduplication/compression/erasure coding are only available with All-Flash
* No data locality
* Only available with ESXi
* Datastores/Disk Groups don’t survive an SSD failure in a hybrid system
* You can’t pin a VM to flash

As far as management goes, Nutanix kills vSAN hands down. In my opinion for 1 big reason. The rest are just icing on the cake. The big reason is one-click upgrades. I can upgrade all the nodes in a cluster by logging into the PRISM interface, choosing upgrade button, hitting download latest button, and hitting upgrade. That’s it. It will do a rolling upgrade of the Nutanix software with zero downtime. Upgrades of the bios, firmware and even ESXi(if you are using it) are done similarly. I upgraded the Nutanix clusters at a major health insurance company during business hours last week. That was 13 nodes in the primary cluster and 12 nodes in their DR cluster during the day without downtime. Now, doing hypervisor upgrades is a little different in that you still have to move the VM’s as each upgrades.

Other things that I love about nutanix.

* Native backup to AWS or Azure
* Self Service Portal- allow a non technical user to deploy a VM. You can even script the SSP to authenticate with Service Now and allow a VM to be created from a Service Now template ticket. That is slick!
* One pane of glass. All management for the AHV hypervisor and the cluster are done from within PRISM. There is even an integration to vCenter so from within the PRISM interface I can do 90% of VM management of ESXi VMs. IE, stop, start, console, edit, etc.
* Integrated tools to allow migration from ESXi to AHV while the cluster is running.
* Can run File Services natively and manage it from within PRISM
* Publish iSCSI block storage to VMs AND bare metal servers outside the cluster. I love this. We use this a lot.

01 November 17
Fred BerrangeReal User

Definitely Nutanix due to it’s scalability technology and the architecture.

01 November 17
reviewer607725User

With VMware, you have flexibility of choosing your own hardware vendor. VSAN is having lot of new features in the new release. If you prefer NSX then again VSAN.
If you need multi hypervisor environment, then Nutanix.

It is better refer the blogs for detailed comparison before any one take a call.

01 November 17
David DunawayReal User

I'll admit I am a little biased towards VMware's vSAN. I've been using it since beta in 5.5 and have not had much experience with Nutanix.

To me, VMware is the leader in this space. They might have been late to the game as Nutanix jumped ahead first, but they are quickly gaining traction and have been consistently releasing new features and functionality to their product.

vSAN is baked into the hypervisor at the kernel level, you just turn it on. There are no virtual appliances needed to manage and cluster the storage.

It is my opinion that VMware is the only true hardware-agnostic HCI solution and that everything else is vendor lock-in. You may get a good deal on Nutanix today, but might find it more expensive to scale later on. I've heard stories of customers getting gouged when trying to just add RAM to their nodes. Building your own nodes, starting with vSAN ready nodes will allow you to design a solution that can be scaled up or out.

Also, the VMware hypervisor is very widely used and supported. You will find many more articles and forums with answers to your questions on this platform over Nutanix. Also, there is an ecosystem of products that compliment the VMware solution that may not support the Acropolis hypervisor.

as always, it depends on what you are trying to do and what your requirements are.

-David

31 October 17
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Also Known As
vSAN
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Nutanix
VMware
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Overview

Nutanix delivers invisible infrastructure for next-generation enterprise computing, elevating IT to focus on the applications and services that power their business. Nutanix’s software-driven Xtreme Computing Platform natively converges compute, virtualization and storage into a single solution to drive simplicity in the datacenter. Using Nutanix, customers benefit from predictable performance, linear scalability and cloud-like infrastructure consumption.

For more information visit: www.nutanix.com

VMware vSAN is the industry-leading software powering Hyper-Converged Infrastructure solutions.

What vSAN Does

  1. Enables you to evolve without risk. Seamlessly extend virtualization to storage with an integrated hyper-converged solution that simply works with your overall VMware environment and reduces the risk in digital transformation by using existing tools, skillsets and solutions.
  2. Lowers total cost of ownership by 50% or more with capital and operational savings. Reduce storage CapEx, decrease operational costs, manage the day-to-day operations of compute and storage infrastructure, and accelerate responsiveness to traditionally time-consuming tasks.
  3. vSAN helps customers scale to tomorrow. Prepare for tomorrow's dynamic business in the multi-cloud era with a solution designed to utilize the latest storage and server technologies and ready to support a wide range of applications, from current business critical applications to next-gen applications using containers.
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