How Nutanix AHV and VMware vSphere Stack Up

Nutanix vs Vmware

With the fairly recent advent of hyper-converged appliances, a lot of IT functions in organizations are looking to move from siloed service provider to a consolidated services provider. In hyper converged infrastructure, storage and compute are integrated so that they can run adjacent to each other on the same hardware. The new entrant to the billion dollar Unicorn club Nutanix is giving tough fight to incumbents and bigger rivals in this space.

Nutanix’s offerings includes two key suites: The Nutanix Prism is a management platform designed to simplify datacenter storage and virtualization operations whereas Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) is an infrastructure platform that converges compute, storage and virtualization resources to run any application, at any scale.

This article will look at 4 ways Nutanix stacks against VMware what are the benefits of using either one of them.

Backup

The list of backup software vendors providing support for backing up Nutanix AHV is getting larger by the day, especially since AOS 5.0 version, when Nutanix released Change Block Tracking APIs. Some of the biggest backup software vendors have announced support for backing up Nutanix VMs. Although a lot of them offer incremental forever backup, none of them can support instant mount from a backed up copy, as raw disk mapping isn’t possible on Nutanix AHV. This results in slow recoveries both for operational as well as DR purposes. Compare this to VMware VMs and instant mount is very much possible due to the presence of raw disk mapping capability. If you are currently using VMware VMs and planning to have Nutanix AHV deployed in your datacenter, you should look at a solution that at least supports both, so that you can continue your backups without changing your backup software/appliance.

Multi-VM Operations

With VMware VMs, you can move live virtual machines between datastore without any downtime for the VMs. But with Nutanix AHV, this isn’t possible due to lack of “Storage vMotion” capability. With AHV the current workaround is to make a clone in different “container” and shutdown the original VM and reboot new clone residing in new “container”, which is not so handy approach for production workloads.

Automated VM Migration

VMware has the capability to migrate VMs based on CPU / Memory load and automatically load balance even while the VM was running. Nutanix in its newer versions has also come up with the capability to dynamically redistribute virtual machines based on CPU / Memory consumption, but unlike Vmware, AHV can also make decisions based on storage location / capacity / performance and use X-fit technology to make decisions not only based on single-point-of-time, but also using trends running over longer period of time.

Metro-Availability

Metro Availability enables customers to seamlessly keep applications online even on full site disasters. So when things fail, the system automatically handle failures such that applications and end users never see disruptions or even blips. Regardless of the failure — component (disk, memory, motherboard, power supply, etc.), server, rack or site — applications will stay online without any downtime.

At the moment MetroAvailability in Nutanix AHV is done at “container” level, all VMs residing in “metro-container” will be automatically protected with synchronous mirroring. So there is no MetroAvailability support for AHV VMs, and if you are looking at MetroAvailability as a requirement for your VMs in your datacenter, VMware should be the choice for you, as it supports MetroAvailability at a VM level as well.

Nutanix AHV is catching up fast with VMware vSphere as far as feature list is concerned. As an enterprise, you have to decide what features really matter to you and whether you really want to pay a premium for getting those features/services in your hypervisor. You should look at features that are relevant to YOUR business case. If a particular feature is not needed, there is not much point in making decision based on whether that feature is available or not.


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