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Nutanix vs. VMware: Comparing Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Hybrid Cloud Solutions

March 12, 2024 | min

The history: Nutanix and VMware

Nutanix and VMware are two of the most recognized names in hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and virtualization. Nutanix pioneered the HCI market, modernizing IT design and operations via a web-scale, distributed cloud architecture using off-the-shelf servers to run business-critical workloads, cloud-native, and AI applications.

VMware (now part of Broadcom) redefined the IT landscape using virtualization with its popular vSphere product enabling multiple workloads to run on the same physical server. Nutanix HCI is listed on VMware’s Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) with certified compatibility to run VMware vSphere’s ESXi® hypervisor, which simplifies management and offers a virtualization platform for VMware vSphere users. For those looking for an alternative to ESXi, Nutanix also offers its Nutanix AHV® hypervisor as part of the Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure solution (NCI)  with no additional cost.

For years,  thousands of enterprise IT teams around the world have used both companies’ products. Today, the two remain competitors in key markets, including HCI, virtualization, IT automation, hybrid multicloud management, software-defined file storage, and network-based microsegmentation.

As hybrid and hybrid multicloud become dominant IT strategies, and partly as a result of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, there is market uncertainty. This instability is  encouraging organizations to move away from VMware and migrate to Nutanix Cloud Platform, which offers a future-proof architecture and enables consistent operations and natural extension to cloud and edge.

How can Nutanix meet VMware customer needs?

While technology architectures may differ significantly depending on unique business requirements, both Nutanix and VMwareoffer solutions to meet those diverse needs. Exploring the differences between each solution helps align where Nutanix HCI technology can meet the needs of customers running VMware vSphere, and how Nutanix Cloud Platform (NCP) can future-proof your IT to support business-critical applications and databases from edge to datacenter to the cloud.

VMware architecture was specifically made for virtualization

VWware's marketing strategy for its virtualization products seems focused on the following use cases:

  • Running virtualized workloads that are certified for VMware vSphere/VMware hypervisor ESXi.
  • Using VMware Cloud to help move VMware virtualized workloads to the various public clouds.

In contrast, Nutanix offers customers the capability to do much more.

Nutanix architecture: Ready for today and tomorrow

Since its founding, Nutanix has stood on the core tenet of flexibility. Nutanix supports multiple hardware configurations, multiple virtualization hypervisors, and multiple clouds. For example, Nutanix HCI software seamlessly integrates with the  industry’s leading hypervisors  – VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V®, and the Nutanix AHV hypervisor, the latter at no additional cost.

While many Nutanix customers choose to run ESXi on the Nutanix platform, a significant portion also prefer Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V. Today, customers are switching to Nutanix AHV to reduce virtualization licensing costs, streamline management through  a single unified pane-of-glass interface across hypervisors, and ensure the capability to run business-critical workloads. Also, Nutanix helps customers transition by offering free migration tools and providing training and support for organizations seeking to adopt Nutanix AHV.

Equally important as reducing costs and the other advantages its technologies offer, Nutanix also provides flexible adaptation to accommodate changes in customer architecture,market conditions, or the technological needs for various solutions. Nutanix delivers on key concepts like:

  • Facilitating the management of dual-hypervisors to reduce cost and offload risk by utilizing a multi-vendor solution strategy.
  • Introducing user-focused self-service options and integration with partners like ServiceNow.

Overall, Nutanix delivers more hybrid multicloud value outside of legacy virtualization solutions by:

  • Enabling a multi-vendor strategy to reduce the risk of a single virtualization platform.
  • Scaling business-critical, cloud-native, and AI workloads across public and private clouds.
  • Running different hypervisors simultaneously under a single management “pane of glass.”
  • Protecting the freedom to choose the best hardware and cloud provider for customers’  solutions.
  • Enabling the possibility of significant reductions to the total cost of ownership with web-scale design through software-defined-storage.
  • Enabling the portability of Nutanix NCI licenses between on-premises, the edge, and public clouds, such as  AWS from Amazon and Azure  Microsoft.

Customers also win because Nutanix modeled its solutions on popular cloud and SaaS offerings. Indeed, Nutanix products are known for full lifecycle simplicity and ease of use – from initial deployment, production scaling, and troubleshooting. Nutanix provides a comprehensive platform architecture that enables workloads to scale from on-premises to the edge to the cloud, always with cost-efficiency top of mind.

Comparing the hyperconverged infrastructure solutions from Nutanix and VMware

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of HCI architectures from Nutanix vs. VMware:

Hypervisors supported VMware ESXi, Nutanix AHV, Microsoft Hyper-V
VMware ESXi only
Additional hypervisor licenses required AHV virtualization included; no additional cost Virtualization licenses are sold separately per CPU
Architectural design Modern web-scale architecture using HCI Legacy storage technologies retrofitted into software-defined solutions
Native file storage services? Yes, via Nutanix Files Storage Yes, via San File Service
Native object storage services? Yes, via Nutanix Objects Storage No native support. Third party products required
Automated database management, provisioning, and security? Yes, via Nutanix Database Service
VMware Data Services Manager
Automated machine learning for workload-based resource anomalies? Yes No
Low-latency application performance via data locality? Yes Yes, but limited

Create a multi-vendor strategy that adapts to a shifting landscape

Organizations must have the agility to adapt to changes in the vendor landscape. For example, mergers and acquisitions can raise risk through product rationalization or price increases that may cause business disruption, create uncertainty, force untimely changes and increase costs.

Considerations when deciding on a multi-vendor strategy are:

  • Platform flexibility to run multiple vendor solutions
  • Full license portability (across clouds and on-premises) and choice
  • Support quality and extend reach to reduce downtime
  • Cost consistency without being blindsided by changing price overhead

When it comes to customer loyalty, customer recommendations and repeat business, Nutanix consistently outranks the competition, with a seven-year average Net Promoter Score of 90+.

Amidst the uncertainties surroundingBroadcom’s acquisition of VMware, Nutanix is committed to providing certainty and transparency around your concerns. It’s difficult to  imagine a world without the continuation of VMware’s virtualization products in some form or another. But if you choose to find an alternative, Nutanix stands ready to assist you in avoiding the potential business disruptions that may arise from transitioning to new solutions.

Run all your workloads how you want

Nutanix future-proof architecture reduces risk by enabling a multi-vendor strategy that runs your applications and workloads in an efficient, resilient, and cost-effective way. And, because they extend beyond their original borders to the network edge, end-user devices and public clouds, you can run your applications and workloads flexibly, on the cloud of your choice, and securely and under your control.

Business-critical applications, cloud-native applications, AI applications, data lakes, and unstructured data exemplify the evolving landscape of modern ITworkloads, synonymous with cloud-like designs. Nutanix HCI was born from the same DNA that built how the modern web scales, seamlessly integrating web-scale capabilities for workloads spanning multiple servers, datacenters, and cloud environments. This concept has spawned  a distinctive attribute inherent to Nutanix: Choice.

This choice includes:

  • Enjoy extreme flexibility in selecting the off-the-shelf hardware you want.
  • Create networks that intelligently scale.
  • Run workloads where you need them to run, not within the confines of a rigid architecture.
  • Select stand-up data-centric designs focused on your business.
  • Decide on a license model that makes sense to your budget, whether CAPEX or OPEX focused.
  • Align public clouds to do what they do best, run dynamic workloads and data, and keep static workloads under your control in a private cloud.

Comparing hybrid cloud solutions from Nutanix and VMware

Below is a quick comparison of a few hybrid-cloud features from Nutanix vs. VMware:

Hybrid Cloud
Delivery model Customer managed for full flexibility Available only as a VMware-managed service
Public clouds supported AWS and Azure  AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud
Integration with public clouds Natively integrated
Requires proprietary gateways for network integration
Nutanix license portability between public and private clouds Supported on AWS and Azure Limited support
VM hibernation to reduce costs Supported
Not available

Nutanix provides a platform of choice, and choice is the basis of a true hybrid multicloud that is future-proof, and can reduce risk and permit you to run things your way.

Nutanix, Inc. is not affiliated with VMware by Broadcom or Broadcom.

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Related products and solutions

Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure

Standardize on powerful and secure hyperconverged infrastructure to deliver all applications and data at any scale, on any cloud.

AHV Virtualization

AHV offers a secure, enterprise-grade virtualization solution that streamlines operations to run all your workloads.

Hybrid Multicloud

Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure is the vehicle for your journey to the cloud, bridging private, public, and distributed clouds into hybrid multiclouds.

Compare Nutanix vs. VMware

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