Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) vs VMware vSphere comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) and VMware vSphere based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out what your peers are saying about Nutanix, VMware, Dell Technologies and others in HCI.
To learn more, read our detailed HCI Report (Updated: December 2022).
655,994 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"StarWind saved us about 80% of our storage costs over our old solution.""It's quite easy to install.""The Windows-based StarWind GUI is easy to use and understand and integrates seamlessly with VMware's vSphere portal as well.""Besides being 80% cheaper than the other alternatives, the simplicity makes reconfiguration and support much easier.""We went from "no way DB applications would have good performance" to "Wow! We can now actually have a DB running and have some VMs running at the same time."""They offer top-tier support.""This software lets us maintain storage redundancy across both of our Hyper-V hosts, so if one goes down the environment fails over to the other and we have minimal to no downtime.""The install itself is easy as pie."

More StarWind Virtual SAN Pros →

"There are a lot of features in Nutanix that are different from other hyper-converged solutions, such as site-to-site replication. VM-based site-to-site replication is bundled with the software licensing. For the DR, it has the availability groups, which is one of the key features that Nutanix provides.""The best feature of Nutanix Acropolis AOS is the central management of all of our resources. Additionally, it is easy to use""The feature that I have found most valuable is its software Move, which we use to migrate virtual info from another platform to the Nutanix platform.""It offers very useful data protection.""It's quite easy to scale, and you have the option to have distributed nodes everywhere around the world that work as one. You can also have a solution for small branch offices with only two nodes for redundancy, and that's good enough to start.""The scalability is great.""The most valuable feature I have found to be the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV).""It's much easier and faster even when you want to create a server from a template or clone."

More Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) Pros →

"The most valuable features are the virtualization and the performance on the virtualization platform.""It is the number one virtualization-layer platform available, and a lot of people trust it.""Technical support is very good. They are very helpful.""The fact that you can use all the CPU and memory power that the server can provide is most valuable. In a physical server, you might end up not using all the physical resources. There are a lot of benefits, such as flexibility and mobility, in virtualizing computes.""The solution is easy to use, user-friendly interface and has high availability features. When comparing it to other solutions it is more robust.""It's easy to use, and it is flexible.""VMware vSphere is user friendly. It is scalable and stable.""It's much more stable than other products. It is scalable and easy to implement as well."

More VMware vSphere Pros →

Cons
"While we had little to no issues in setting up StarWind and received excellent support from the StarWind technicians, we would have appreciated a clearer guideline for a setup with the free version of StarWind Management Console or, in other words - for the setup with the PowerShell.""The documentation could be better.""A web management interface would be good, especially for those coming from other solutions that have one.""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.""StarWind Virtual SAN architecture is slightly complex and requires the team to carefully identify and study how the solution integrates with VMware vSphere.""I wish the sync after a failure, such as hardware failure or power-related issues, for example, was faster.""If it's possible to make a driver/solution that does not make use of the iSCSI targets of Windows, that would be great. I don't know if that's possible, however, it could make the configuration a little easier.""I would say that the documentation is mostly great, however, some features could be expanded upon a bit."

More StarWind Virtual SAN Cons →

"With some projects that we are deploying, there are errors that arise when adding nodes.""An area for improvement would be the cyber security features.""As far as what could be improved, they have some built-in backup functions already, but any built-in isolation features like vision security features and free LAN features become a security concern.""One disadvantage of Nutanix Acropolis AOS is it doesn't support external storage. Connecting external SAN storage to Nutanix, it's not supported.""It would be great if they could improve the GUI features.""The new features are not free. You need to pay for each feature.""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.""I would like to see them utilize the spare storage that they use as a redundant space. I feel that now a lot of resources are wasted just for standby purposes because we are using data protection. Instead of utilizing those resources only when something happens, they can have an alternative so that we can utilize these resources all the time."

More Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) Cons →

"One of the areas creating a crash is when you are cloning.""The installation is complex and you need to have a good understanding in regards to what you are doing when you are setting it up.""We have had some problems setting up the monitoring with vSphere. The process could be simplified.""We've been using vSphere on Windows 7, and it had less fluff associated with ThinApp. Currently, with Windows 10 version that we have, it adds a lot of bulk to ThinApp. We have offices spanning across Canada from the east coast to the west coast. A ThinApp that is roughly around 400 MB in size would take minutes to open up. With Windows 7, the same ThinApp used to be close to 75 to 80 MB in size. So, I'm really not happy with the extra fluff that is bundled in Windows 10. It really messes things up for us at times.""The installation can take a long time, they need to improve on the simplicity and length of the installation.""I know VMWare has this Operations Manager. I know that it comes at a price because VMWare normally wants to charge for everything in the software. But I'm not seeing all the features of the Operations Manager. I only see a few features. If all the features can be included in one package, that would be good.""The only concern that I have with VMware is the support. It is very limited and can be better.""There are occasionally bugs or errors."

More VMware vSphere Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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."
  • "The StarWind VSAN business model is very cost-effective."
  • "This solution has competitive prices and the implementation is very easy."
  • "StarWind is a low-cost, full-featured alternative to the traditional SAN environment, and their support will guide you every step of the setup."
  • "The support contract is well worth it. The price for it was very reasonable and their team has been very engaged whenever we reach out."
  • More StarWind Virtual SAN Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "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."
  • "There is a license required for this solution and my clients usually purchase a two-year license with extended support. The price of the solution could be reduced, it is more expensive than competitors."
  • "The price of the solution is high."
  • "The pricing is quite good in comparison with HPE SimpliVity, Nutanix Scale, and even traditional architecture."
  • "When compared to the competitors, the price is reasonable."
  • More Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The license growth of vSphere depends on the growth of the visual environment and the addition of more hosts."
  • "This is an expensive product, especially because we need to pay in US Dollars."
  • "It is expensive."
  • "The price could be lower."
  • "The pricing is reasonable and you are able to purchases licencing for certain time frame intervals, monthly, yearly etc."
  • "I don't like the price because it's too expensive."
  • "The licensing cost is strictly based on the number of CPUs that your hosts have."
  • "This is quite an expensive product, although everything is included in the standard licensing fee."
  • 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 most valuable features are high availability and real-time replication between two servers.
    Top Answer:The StarWind Management Console is available only for Microsoft Windows/Windows Server, and should also be available for… 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:We use VMware and KVM. We find that KVM is a lot simpler to use and it provides the virtualization we need for Linux… 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 »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Nutanix Acropolis AOS, 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 Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) is a top-raking HCI software, cloud management tool, and Software Defined Storage (SDS) tool that is marketed as the foundation for users' hybrid clouds. It offers a powerful and secure hyperconverged infrastructure to deliver all data and applications at any scale and on any cloud. The solution offers a complete software stack that allows users to unify their hybrid cloud infrastructure. 

    NCI’s services include computer, storage and network, hypervisors and containers, and deployment in public or in private clouds. The product also comes with built-in resilience, disaster recovery capabilities, self-healing, and high-security capacities. It provides further deployment flexibility through several software and hardware options and platforms. NCI includes a full set of enterprise capabilities. It can also be deployed on a wide range of servers from popular manufacturers.

    The capabilities of the product are categorized into three main groups:

    • AOS storage
    • Flexible and open compute
    • Automated and secure networking

    Outside of these categories, NCI also offers other capabilities:

    • Integrated disaster recovery
    • Full-stack lifecycle management
    • VMware with Nutanix
    • Intelligent operations

    Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) Features

    Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) offers its customers various features and tools in each of the previously mentioned categories. The available features for users currently include:

    • High-performance: This set of features utilizes hardware advances such as NVMe and RDMA to accelerate users' most demanding applications with consistent performance. The tools in this feature category work alongside data locality to ensure successful results.

    • Foolproof resiliency: These Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure features protect data and keep it available by facilitating advanced distributed consistency algorithms. Users can utilize these features to protect their data from issues like bit rot, hardware failures, and even entire site failure.

    • Flexibility: This set of features allows storage to be sized for the needs of each organization and expanded promptly and easily so that the organization and its data can grow. The features offer flexibility to users in terms of applying storage policies logically on a pre-workload basis, instead of being tied to hardware.

    • Hypervisor choice: Users can choose from the leading hypervisors - Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESXi. They can also leverage the built-in hypervisor AHV that Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) provides.

    • Integrated virtualization: These features offer simplified automation and AHV streamlined operations. The services in this category are optimized for high performance and reliability.

    • Kubernetes: Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) offers features to build and deploy cloud-native applications on intelligent distributed infrastructure. Apps can be integrated with cloud-compatible storage and both building and deployment can be achieved within the same platform.

    • Microsegmentation: Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) offers features to prevent malware spread and reduce attack surfaces by leveraging machine learning (ML).

    • Virtual networking: This set of features allows users to easily implement multi-tenancy in their environment or stretch networks across clouds.

    • Centralized network management: Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) provides organizations with a way to manage networking configurations centrally. Users can utilize it across their human-computer interaction (HCI) environment with simple virtual switch management.

    Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) Benefits

    The product offers various benefits to users who utilize its capacities. Some of these include:

    • NCI reduces technology sprawl and frees up technical resources to allow organizations to focus on other activities, potentially reducing costs for the business.

    • The product allows customers to deploy, scale, and bridge to the public cloud to be able to react in evolving business environments.

    • Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure improves data availability while simultaneously protecting it against several kinds of failures and attacks.

    • The solution offers high-performance, resilient distributed storage for all workloads.

    • Working alongside Nutanix Cloud Platform, NCI offers simple management of data from one console.

    • Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure works by the zero trust philosophy, protecting users' apps and data through specially designed security protocols.

    Reviews from Real Users

    According to Gerhard J., an IT manager at Q4 Fuel, Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) provides serious reliability and stability across the entire system makes for ROI.

    A solutions architect at a computer software company describes NCI as a stable, straightforward to set up, and scalable solution.

    VMware vSphere is a powerful and complete server virtualization platform that allows its users to create and manage virtual data centers and machines. VMware vSphere is designed to help IT departments set up and run applications using the most cost-effective computer resources. By using vSphere, organizations save the time and energy necessary for purchasing infrastructure and software and reduce ongoing maintenance and operational burdens on IT teams.

    Infrastructure administrators and network operators can access and manage the vSphere server by using a web-based cross-platform client application or via the vSphere client tool provided with vSphere. 

    VMware vSphere provides visibility into VMs and enables its users to carry out operations to manage VMs. This includes tasks such as:

    • Powering VMs on and off
    • Launching the VM console
    • Shutting down guest operating systems
    • Settings configurations
    • Taking system snapshots

    VMware vSphere Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using VMware vSphere include: 

    • Reduced costs: Since VMware applications are run on a server, it is not necessary to spend large amounts of your organization’s money on hardware, software, and infrastructure.
    • Increased productivity and customer satisfaction: VMware is able to operate multiple complex processes simultaneously. With all your applications being managed and run on the cloud, downtime, failures, and application errors are rare. VMware easily scales up and down to meet your computing needs. The high availability that VMware provides allows your IT staff to focus on other issues and keeps your customers satisfied with the service they receive.
    • Unlimited access to your VMs: VMware’s user-friendly cloud-based interface allows any employee to work from any location at any time.
    • Enhanced security: VMware’s security tools deliver full visibility into your entire system. This keeps your applications and data more secure, in any type of environment. VMware provides multiple protective tools including antiviruses and anti-malware, as well as backup and recovery services.

    VMware vSphere Features

    Below is a list of some of VMware vSphere’s key features:

    • Transferable virtual machine images: Export and import virtual machine images from your local environment. This gives users the ability to set up and configure their systems locally and only upload them to the server once everything is working properly. VM images can be moved back and forth between vendors, ensuring that your company is never tied up to a specific cloud vendor.
    • User-friendly interface: Using VMware’s intuitive console, you can easily create, manage, share, and deploy virtual machines.
    • API integration: VMware’s APIs support integration with third-party applications for data protection, multipathing, and disk array solutions.
    • Distributed power management: Automate efficiency by continuously optimizing server power consumption within each cluster.

    Reviews from Real Users

    VMware vSphere stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. A few major ones are its virtualization abilities, its flexibility and availability, and its user-friendly interface.

    Felix D., an Automation project administrator, DCS, I&E at Centennial Cayman Corp, writes, “The connectivity is fantastic, and many functions can run together in one server. If you need to scale, we can continue to add components or modules. It's a beautiful virtual solution that has many advantages over physical hardware, where you have to use devices and wiring to connect all your projects.”

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    Learn more about Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI)
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    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 Company11%
    Educational Organization10%
    Construction Company9%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Government9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company17%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    University8%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider15%
    Government8%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Comms Service Provider16%
    Government9%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business63%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise57%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise29%
    Large Enterprise32%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise60%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise45%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise61%
    Buyer's Guide
    HCI
    December 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Nutanix, VMware, Dell Technologies and others in HCI. Updated: December 2022.
    655,994 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) is ranked 1st in HCI with 75 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 118 reviews. Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) is rated 8.6, while VMware vSphere is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) writes "Serious reliability and stability across the entire system makes for ROI". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "Strong performance, works well with large infrastructures but it is quite expensive". Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) 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, Nutanix AHV Virtualization and Oracle VM VirtualBox.

    We monitor all 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.