Blog

Customers Weigh In: Tips for Your First Day on Nutanix

By Ines Marjanovic

Cher said it best: If you could turn back time, you’d likely want to spare others (and yourself!) from pain. And when it comes to the datacenter, chances are you wish you could’ve saved yourself and your team from the pain of legacy infrastructure years go. 

But now is as good a time as any to eliminate the silos, complexity, and weekend-eating nature of multi-tiered architecture. Our customers did—some years ago, some more recently—and we asked them for their best implementation tips for businesses starting off with Nutanix. 

And while they can’t go back in time (especially not back to the age of mainframes or legacy IT), they’re happy to pass along the feedback they wish they had themselves. 

Migrate Like a Pro

One of the biggest roadblocks that keeps organizations from moving to a new infrastructure platform is the perceived cost, time, and pain that comes along with migrating. It’s a well-founded concern—migrating to a new vendor often does mean some downtime.  

However, one security and network analyst had the right idea, suggesting new users try Nutanix Move (formerly Xtract) to migrate and rebuild VMs onto AHV. It’s a simple, automated way to eliminate the manual process of “lifting and shifting” VMs yourself, delivering the right configurations for the best VM performance. That way, you face much less cost, time, and pain so many organizations fear. 

Speaking of speed, many of our customers agreed on one thing: They wish they had made the switch to Nutanix sooner. Faisal Jawaid, IT Manager at Telus Spark, remarks: “I wish I rolled out Nutanix 4 years ago. Why didn’t anyone tell me about it before?”

The best time to implement Nutanix is yesterday. The second best? Right now. 

Escape Hypervisor Hell Now, Not Later

A good number of the customers we surveyed say they wish they had made the switch to Nutanix AHV sooner. And some even say they wish they, in one senior Big Data engineer’s words, had “foregone ESXi and gone with AHV.” 

According to one director of network software, the reason he and his team hesitated going all-in with AHV had to do with “the fear of something new.” Thankfully, after taking the plunge, he had this to say: “It was so easy!” And to corroborate his story, listen to David Tawater, Database Administrator at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, who said switching to AHV was much easier than expected. 

“The biggest suggestion I can make is even though you have to spend time to convert from one hypervisor to another, don’t choose the ‘get it done fastest’ route. I have enjoyed the most responsive VMs pound-for-pound of my entire career.”

And for some, had they known about the power of AHV to start, they might have moved more (if not all) of their workloads onto Nutanix. According to one team lead ICT, “If we knew AHV was so much better in performance, we [would] have made this choice!”

Luckily, now you can see what AHV can do in a hands-on virtual bootcamp! And if you’re not convinced, take it from this systems administrator, who says: “I wish I would have known about the Bootcamps beforehand and had gone to one or two of them!”

Implementation Insights

So, now that you’ve dove head-first into Nutanix, what’s next? How can you make sure you start your journey off on the right foot? Here are a few tips we saw the most often. 

First, several customers say they wish they had set up a PoC for AHV. Black Hills Energy did, and after a successful PoC, they decided to run with Nutanix. One senior infrastructure analyst even says that had he done a PoC to begin with, he would’ve realized AHV was the way to go, rather than “eventually’ getting around to [it].” 

The next tip has to do with implementation support. For many customers, their first day with Nutanix was surprisingly simple—so simple, in fact, that Gary Croxford, Computer Network Engineer at the North Vancouver School District, wishes he hadn’t hired a consultant to help with the rollout. Why? He says they “paid for 3 days, but only needed 15 minutes.” 

Third, we heard a lot of stories of folks who didn’t know just how easy it is to implement a Nutanix cluster. Jim Gallagher, Systems Administrator at the University of Pittsburgh, Center for Craniofacial & Dental Genetics, even says: “I wish I would have known how easy it was to implement a Nutanix cluster. Much less painful than vSphere manually. Now, I can get off of Horizon View and dump the VMware stack and move straight to AHV.” 

Sensing a pattern here? If not, here’s one more tip that speaks to the simplicity of Nutanix. One chief IT engineer says he wished he created a lot of protection domains, because, in his words, “It's so easy with Nutanix solutions.”

A Helping Hand

Overwhelmingly, a good deal of respondents said they wish they had certain Nutanix solutions on hand to make their implementation even easier. And while some of these might not have been around when these customers started with Nutanix, they’ve made it loud and clear that they wish these were around!

First up, we’ve got an IT infrastructure admin who simply said: “I wish I would have known more about Nutanix Calm.” In a nutshell, Calm is a multi-cloud application management framework, delivering simple, reliable application automation and lifecycle management. It’s no wonder customers confess they would’ve enjoyed having Calm—it’s a straightforward, no-brainer way to rapidly create and provision applications.

Introducing Nutanix Calm

More than a few customers say they wish they had deployed Prism Central from the start. An easy-to-understand console, Prism Central helps you monitor and manage entities across Nutanix clusters. With performance monitoring, alerts monitoring, and cluster administration, it keeps an extra set of eyes on your VMs, containers, disks, and more.

Nutanix Prism UI - 28 Nodes

One IT engineer wishes he had invested more in Nutanix Files when he started his transformation journey. Files is fully software-defined, scale-out file storage solution that delivers high availability, easy self-service management, self-tuning, and self-healing. It’s a simpler way to tackle ever-increasing data growth and governance requirements in the modern era.

Now...Get Started!

While we gleaned a lot of excellent advice, a lot of customers shared the sentiment that they found the implementation process quick and painless. Allan B., South Florida Water Management Sr. Systems Administrator, even said: 

“I honestly can’t think of anything that ‘needed help’ when I implemented in 2015. It was a simple rack and stack, foundation, allow connection from legacy vCenter, and start moving data. Less than half a day from box to production.”

And an ICT manager confessed that he didn’t have any implementation tips either, saying, “the setup was running in 3 hours (hardware placement included).” 

Our advice? Take out Nutanix for a test drive! No strings attached—just powerful hyperconvergence. 

© 2019 Nutanix, Inc.  All rights reserved. Nutanix, the Nutanix logo and all Nutanix product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).