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Nutanix Acropolis AOS vs VMware vSphere comparison

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Q&A Highlights
Question: What is the biggest difference between Nutanix Acropolis and VMware vSphere?
Answer: Nutanix AOS is an SDS (Software-Defined Storage). We can compare it to VMware vSan. To simplify, we use it to aggregate the local drives of each node and provide a storage cluster. VMware vSphere is a virtualization layer. It's used to provide a compute cluster. For Nutanix, the virtualization layer is AHV. So, we combine the virtualization cluster and SDS cluster from the same nodes to provide an Hyperconverged platform. For the best fit, it depends on your need. If you're looking for performance and simplicity, I think Nutanix is the best choice.
Featured Review
Buyer's Guide
Hyper-Converged (HCI)
June 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Nutanix, VMware, Dell Technologies and others in Hyper-Converged (HCI). Updated: June 2022.
607,332 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"Starwind made it easy to deploy fully redundant, highly available storage at a low cost.""The biggest benefit was that it allowed us to provide SAN services on a limited hardware budget.""The virtual tapes can be uploaded to the object storage of your choice with object locking/governance which gives you an extra layer of protection.""The most useful aspect is the hyper-converged SD SAN and the ease to expand it by just adding cheap SSD or NVME disks.""The fact that the solution is vendor-agnostic allows it to be used with any virtualization vendor while remaining a powerful abstraction over storage.""StarWind Virtual SAN for vSphere is a software-defined storage solution that has reduced administration time for storage. It's pretty straightforward to install and setup it and so far it has been robust and worked as advertised from StarWind.""The most valuable feature is the reliable storage replication, which enables me to create a robust infrastructure to run our business.""Immediately we noticed huge performance gains, even on older hardware and once we implemented a 10GB link between both servers, the sync was near-instant after the initial sync was complete."

More StarWind Virtual SAN Pros →

"What's best about Nutanix Acropolis AOS is its simplicity. It's simple to install and simple to understand. The technical support and support portal for this product are both very good and very helpful.""It is 100% stable. It's the most stable infrastructure that we have.""Nutanix Acropolis AOS makes it easy to use and manage projects and it has a good reputation.""Nutanix has the best virtual desktop infrastructure.""One of the most valuable features is how well this solution performs. It's stable, aside from some patch issues, but it's great from a virtualization and scalability perspective.""It supports multi-cloud integration that includes AWS, Google, and Azure.""It offers very useful data protection.""The HCI environment itself is very intuitive. Everything is centralized under one solution. And, they also have fast server built in in addition to a network analyzer."

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"It affords us different views of the VMs created by vSphere so we can control them better.""Virtualised automation is a useful feature.""Its dynamic resource scheduling and its fault tolerance capabilities are two features that I've found to be valuable. I also like that VMware vSphere is stable, scalable, and easy to install.""The scalability is good.""The documentation is very good.""Technical support is helpful and always available.""VMware vSphere has plenty of features.""This product is useful for running multiple virtual machines from a single server so that people can utilize the hardware resources in their organization. Its ability for backups is also valuable. In case of a disaster, you can recover the entire server from the images. It is easy to use. In terms of features, whatever they are providing is more than sufficient for us. We are not exploiting this product up to a hundred percent."

More VMware vSphere Pros →

Cons
"A great feature would be a wizard and to include a new disk in the SAN. At the moment, including a new disk requires several steps - some that must be done at the OS level and others in each node.""StarWind Virtual SAN architecture is slightly complex and requires the team to carefully identify and study how the solution integrates with VMware vSphere.""When you will cease your contract with StarWind (for support) your product won't be updated and that is a big selling point, especially for us, as we have loads of products from StarWind.""Although minor, some of the documentation could be rewritten to be clearer.""I would like an automated installation/configuration despite the fact that their service is very collaborative, a customer should be able to deploy the solution by themselves.""If there was one thing we could request, it would be the ability to shrink volumes. For example, we want to be able to decrease in the size of the volume.""Having more support plan options would be nice.""It would be helpful if StarWind provided more precise and detailed documentation explaining how to configure the solution in various scenarios, including the advantages and disadvantages of each."

More StarWind Virtual SAN Cons →

"I'm not very technical, so I don't know if there are any features that are really lacking. Our customers seem pleased with it, and I haven't heard of any downsides.""In the future, I would like to see integration with external storage using the fiber channel""There is a lot of functionality in Prism Central, but sometimes you want to see those features in Prism Element.""In the future, I would like to see multi-tenancy in Nutanix Acropolis AOS.""Nutanix Acropolis AOS could improve by having an auto-update feature. At this time I have to update each system manually. However, I bought the standard license and I did not buy the maximum license they have available. There could be a certain license that does the updates automatically.""This solution offers excellent functionality but could use a stronger interface.""It would be ideal if it was more secure.""The software-defined networking should be improved. It is quite substandard as compared to the VMware variant. The software-defined networking is quite limited, and we usually use other products to do that. We're aware that Nutanix is working on that and will be coming out with better solutions, and we can't wait because to do a fully software-defined architecture, the abstraction layer needs not only software-defined storage, which you have, but also the software-defined networking piece."

More Nutanix Acropolis AOS Cons →

"Sentencing has changed a lot.""VMware vSphere could be more secure and well-known to everyone.""The technical support could improve by being a little faster.""The UI of VMware could use some improvements, especially in dark mode.""There are occasionally bugs or errors.""Response time could be improved.""We need to improve availability and disaster recovery in VMware vSphere.""In the next release, I would love to have Java as a service, platform as a service, and container as a service."

More VMware vSphere Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The cost seems a bit steep, and I wish it was less expensive."
  • "I think the bang for the buck is much better with StarWind Virtual SAN."
  • "I think that purchasing StarWind Virtual SAN Professional Edition would be optimal for most."
  • "The setup cost, pricing, and licensing are very straightforward. They are exactly what you expect."
  • "The cost was ultimately low to implement, which allowed us to be 3-2-1 complaint."
  • "I think the cost of this solution is quite fair."
  • "If you are looking at a traditional SAN for a small cluster, give StarWind vSAN because you will save thousands without any compromise."
  • "The StarWind VSAN business model is very cost-effective."
  • More StarWind Virtual SAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "AHV is free! This is a great feature that should be taken advantage of."
  • "The licensing costs are a bit expensive but when you compare the features, it's reasonable."
  • "This product is less expensive than some of the competing HCI solutions."
  • "Its price is fine. I can't really complain about that."
  • "My advice is to get the ultimate license, as it is worth it."
  • "The setup cost, pricing, and licensing are very competitive and TCO is very low compared to three-tier solutions."
  • "Nutanix is cheaper than Cisco HyperFlex, although it depends on the configuration because Nutanix can also be expensive."
  • "The pricing is fair for the package."
  • More Nutanix Acropolis AOS Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It is expensive in terms of cost, licensing, and professional services."
  • "It is expensive."
  • "In my opinion, the essential version is a good price."
  • "The price of this solution is mid-range."
  • "I think it's a fair price. We are using it on the production side, and everything is good from our experience. That's why I would say that the cost isn't too high. However, it would always be nice if it was cheaper."
  • "Pricing is a little bit on the higher side, compared to other products."
  • "Container support is the last great addition for VMware and it is worth the money you spend on it."
  • "The license growth of vSphere depends on the growth of the visual environment and the addition of more hosts."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Miriam Tover
    Dorian Boris MOUKET - PeerSpot reviewerDorian Boris MOUKET
    User

    Nutanix Acropolis has been specially designed to respond to the problems of hyper-converged infrastructures.


    We believe that Nutanix Acropolis is more flexible and better suited to respond to the issues of very high availability.

    Patrick Ringelberg - PeerSpot reviewerPatrick Ringelberg
    Real User

    Question one:
    Does the customer already have vSphere because than I would suggest not to use Acropolis? Nutanix wants to control the entire platform with its HCI solution like VMware.

    Question 2:
    Do you want to use NSX now or in the future? Use VMware, because if it will be supported and it would always give issues with the integrations with Acropolis.

    Question 3:
    Is the growth of the customer low? Then Nutanix can be a choice if it is bigger than VMware. Nutanix is not flexible in big site setups and can give big problems with updating.

    Maan Othman - PeerSpot reviewerMaan Othman
    Real User

    I think VMware vSphere is more mature as a hypervisor than Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). it is more capable to serve almost most of the workloads. having said that if you are talking about a standard workload both of them can do the job, but your workload is sensitive or even newly released you most properly find it will be certified to work vSphere before becoming certified on AHV.


    in addition most technology providers and one of them Nutanix they first certify their solutions to work with vSphere before certifying any other hypervisor.

    KM Poon - PeerSpot reviewerKM Poon
    User

    Nutanix is running AHV. There is no need for a VMware license. 

    Steffen Hornung - PeerSpot reviewerSteffen Hornung
    Real User

    Acropolis in itself is no product. 
    Do we speak AOS or AHV Ort both?


    AOS is the intelligence on Top of a hypervisor making AHV Or Vsphere an HCI Solution.


    AHV is Nutanix own KVM-based hypervisor managed completely within Prism from AOS, so there is no standalone offering, it always comes with AOS.


    This seems to contradict the statement above, but since you can have AOS without AHV, you can make a clear distinction between both.


    AHV has the advantage of being optimized tightly with AOS. Together with ESXi, you still have to use two management tools for AOS + ESXi. AHV + AOS utilizes the same prism element web management. So, integration is the biggest difference between AHV and ESXi


    For AOS and ESXi the answer is quite simple: you would have to compare VSAN with AOS. Then you see, the integration of products and resiliency in Nutanix is better by a magnitude.


    if your comparing features you have AHV on Par with ESXi.


    AHV is the predominant hypervisor on nutanix systems deployed. Vmware would mostly be used for customers who already have vsphere licenses or want to keep their standard hypervisor.


    I dont think there are stability issues with AOS or AHV. We tend to update more frequently our AHV systems than we do with VMware. With Nutanix you leverage the update process conveniently with LifeCycleManagement (LCM) integrated into Prism Web Management supplying everything from native nutanix products to firmware for your hypervisor hosts. There are also regular customer notifications to warn of detected misconfigurations in the field and check for your own setup and howto act on that. I never got anything from VMware regarding such a thing. And I do know what a purple screen of death looks like...

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:The features that I found most valuable are ease of use of the software that StarWind offers - with the first setup… more »
    Top Answer:The initial setup cost will be great, especially with the new hardware. The StarWind pricing isn't that expensive… more »
    Top Answer:Some users have commented on online forums and others that the documentation and KB articles could be clearer or better… more »
    Top Answer:We found the reduced power consumption with Nutanix Acropolis AOS a very attractive feature. We also like the interface… more »
    Top Answer: Cisco HyperFlex HS series vs Nutanix Acropolis AOS Cisco HyperFlex gives extended hyper-convergence functions… more »
    Top Answer:We found the reduced power consumption with Nutanix Acropolis AOS a very attractive feature. We also like the interface… more »
    Top Answer:DEEPEN DHULLA did explain well IOMMU. IOMMU has to be activated at the bios level. It exists on Intel and AMD platforms… more »
    Top Answer:For me the biggest impact is the cost of licensing in the case of VMware despite its overall intuitiveness and ease of… more »
    Top Answer:To understand which is better - Nutanix AHV or VMware vSphere - you need to do a product comparison. Both products… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Nutanix AOS, Nutanix Acropolis
    Learn More
    Overview

    For SMB, ROBO, Cloud and Hosting providers, who look to cut down virtualization expenses, our solution is StarWind VSAN. It is software that eliminates any need in physical shared storage by basically “mirroring” internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers. There is less hardware to buy in general, consequently less money is spent on purchase and maintenance. The existing hardware is used with maximum efficiency, so there is no money wasted at all.

    StarWind Virtual SAN targets those who already have servers, or are bound to a particular vendor list to buy from. In case there is a new virtualization infrastructure to be built from scratch, StarWind offers a much better way – StarWind HyperConverged Appliance. It is a turnkey solution complete with hardware and software, powered by StarWind Virtual SAN. Those who need to build and maintain virtualization infrastructure at little to no expense, may be interested in StarWind Virtual SAN Free.

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS is a foundation operating system or "data plane.” It is the operating system for the Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure platform. Compare this to Nutanix's "control plane" components, Prism and Calm. The Acropolis Operating System is abbreviated as AOS. It is a back-end solution for workload and resource management, as well as for provisioning and operations. Its purpose is to separate the supporting resource from the workloads that are operating, while offering a single platform to operate on. Workloads can now travel between hypervisors, cloud providers, and platforms without interruption. Nutanix Acropolis AOS is a turnkey solution that can be implemented in 60 minutes or less, out of the box. Nutanix Acropolis AOS eliminates standalone SAN or NAS-based storage and costly virtualization. 

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS Features

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Preinstalled AHV virtualization: Nutanix Acropolis AOS includes AHV, our native virtualization solution, as well as VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization technologies. Nutanix AHV is a full enterprise virtualization solution that is deeply integrated into Acropolis and comes at no extra cost. AHV provides the functionality needed to run enterprise applications.
    • Enterprise storage: Nutanix Acropolis AOS offers a distributed storage fabric that offers enterprise-class storage services such as de-duplication, compression, encryption, and erasure coding to all types of applications. Its data locality assures the most efficient performance.
    • Platform services: Nutanix Acropolis AOS provides a comprehensive collection of software-defined platform services that enable IT organizations to centrally manage and consolidate all of their workloads on the Nutanix platform.
    • Networking services: Nutanix Acropolis AOS offers a comprehensive collection of services for securing applications with native microsegmentation, analyzing network and performance, and automating routine network tasks.
    • VXLAN:  This is a virtualization overlay network that allows for the creation of private, isolated networks in the data center. These networks are layer 2 switches to which all traffic is routed. 

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Nutanix Acropolis AOS. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Less hardware: With Acropolis AOS, enterprise IT can consolidate on fewer hardware components and lower costs. The solution can be deployed on virtual machines, with no need for expensive hardware. It can also be deployed by external parties.
    • Default policy-based networking: Acropolis AOS by default discovers and applies policies that govern traffic in the network. This greatly simplifies management, as it is easier to simply enable or disable policies rather than use individual firewall rules per server.
    • Network fencing is used to control traffic entering or leaving a specific VM-to-VM port group based on access rules. This provides a way of selectively enabling or disabling services across VMs within a port group to help ensure traffic is managed in an appropriate manner.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its stability and its all-inclusivity, which saves users money. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:

    Gerhard J., IT Manager at Q4 Fuel, says of the solution, “One major thing that comes up again and again is stability. Our downtime is literally based on hardware upgrades that need to be done. Acropolis is very, very user friendly. You don't have to physically have a super IT guy to manage the system.”

    Another PeerSpot reviewer, a Solutions Architect at a computer software company, writes, “From a grander view, it's allowed our customers to actually reduce the amount of software that they have to purchase. Not only do they have to purchase the hypervisor, and if they're in VMware, in most cases, they're purchasing disaster recovery tools and a whole bunch of other things. However, Nutanix has it all built-in so that users have one area to manage and maintain.”

    VMware vSphere is the leading server virtualization platform with consistent management for virtual data centers.

    Deliver business value from day one with powerful server virtualization, breakthrough availability, safe automated management and intelligent operational insight that adapts to your environment. Automate workload placement and resource optimization based on preset customizable templates.

    Offer
    30-days for free

    Try it today

    Learn more about Nutanix Acropolis AOS
    Learn more about VMware vSphere
    Sample Customers
    Baker Tilly BVI, CMS Internet, Board Harpeth Hall School
    St. Lukes Health System, the City of Seattle, Yahoo! Japan, Sligro, Empire Life, Hyundai AUS, and many others.
    Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ACS, AIA New Zealand, Consona, Corporate Express, CS Energy, and Digiweb.
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company13%
    Construction Company10%
    Healthcare Company6%
    Non Profit6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company25%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Government8%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company17%
    Comms Service Provider12%
    University9%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company26%
    Comms Service Provider20%
    Government8%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Computer Software Company22%
    Government8%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business59%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise15%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise61%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise29%
    Large Enterprise32%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise61%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise45%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise60%
    Buyer's Guide
    Hyper-Converged (HCI)
    June 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Nutanix, VMware, Dell Technologies and others in Hyper-Converged (HCI). Updated: June 2022.
    607,332 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Nutanix Acropolis AOS is ranked 1st in Hyper-Converged (HCI) with 92 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 134 reviews. Nutanix Acropolis AOS is rated 8.6, while VMware vSphere is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of Nutanix Acropolis AOS writes "What you might not know about Nutanix that makes it so unique". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "An easy way of providing near-zero downtime services". Nutanix Acropolis AOS is most compared with VxRail, VMware vSAN, HPE SimpliVity, Cisco HyperFlex HX-Series and Hyper-V, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, Proxmox VE, VMware Workstation, KVM and RHEV.

    We monitor all Hyper-Converged (HCI) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.