Buyer's Guide
HCI
January 2023
Get our free report covering Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Nutanix, and other competitors of VMware vSAN. Updated: January 2023.
670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.

Read reviews of VMware vSAN alternatives and competitors

Mithun Nidiyenga - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior System Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
It's easy for an engineer to manage and upgrade
Pros and Cons
  • "It has centralized management. It is easy for an engineer to manage. More work goes to patching, upgrades, and maintenance. Nutanix is very easy to upgrade. It takes one click. Engineers do not need to spend additional time with Nutanix for upgrades. With one click, it will complete the upgrade and show the results. Other hypervisor solutions are not like this, specifically since you must do all the components one by one."
  • "It is a CentOS-based operating system, but CentOS releases security patches almost every week or every other week. However, Nutanix releases their upgrade at three or four month intervals. According to my organization's SLA, if a critical patch is released during that time, then I need to implement the patches within 30 days. If it is a standard patch, then I need to patch it within 60 days. Since that is my SLA, I cannot meet my SLA for security because Nutanix will not release the upgrade within these 30 days. Between the critical patch release and the Nutanix release, my customers say they are vulnerable and I am accepting the risk while the SLA is breached."

What is our primary use case?

I have been using Nutanix products, like AOS, HPE, and Prism Central. I am managing a total of seven clusters with Prism Element and one instance with Prism Central.

We did a total deployment to all areas across multiple locations.

My environment is closed. It is not hosted on the internet. It is a dark site. So, if there are any issues, the Nutanix team lacks the ability to remote in because I cannot provide it. 

What is most valuable?

The Lifecycle Management (LCM) for upgrades is a very fantastic feature that I have observed from Nutanix.

It has centralized management. It is easy for an engineer to manage. More work goes to patching, upgrades, and maintenance. Nutanix is very easy to upgrade. It takes one click. Engineers do not need to spend additional time with Nutanix for upgrades. With one click, it will complete the upgrade and show the results. Other hypervisor solutions are not like this, specifically since you must do all the components one by one.

Nutanix is easy to learn for someone new to the system. It has more flexibility in its handling. If you are familiar with another hypervisor, Nutanix is easy to learn.

What needs improvement?

There is a cost for us with a Controller VM. For example, if you are purchasing a Nutanix node with 500GB, then 32GB of that node will need to be allocated for Controller VM. Therefore, we need to spend 32GB of RAM for Nutanix, which is not in our production requirements. This is an area that they need to improve.

Most other software comes as an OVF template. These kinds of OVF software templates are only supported in VMware. We technically can customize and use them in Nutanix, but the vendors tell us that there are technical issues that they will not support. So, they either have to improve this or software providers have to provide the proper software for Nutanix supported software.

It is a CentOS-based operating system, but CentOS releases security patches almost every week or every other week. However, Nutanix releases their upgrade at three or four month intervals. According to my organization's SLA, if a critical patch is released during that time, then I need to implement the patches within 30 days. If it is a standard patch, then I need to patch it within 60 days. Since that is my SLA, I cannot meet my SLA for security because Nutanix will not release the upgrade within these 30 days. Between the critical patch release and the Nutanix release, my customers say they are vulnerable and I am accepting the risk while the SLA is breached. Because of this SLA breach, I am rating this solution as eight out of 10.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for the last five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When we started, it was not that stable. We were facing multiple issues. Now, Nutanix is very stable.

When Nutanix releases their upgrades, I then need to update to the latest upgrade and patch. Once I click the upgrade, it will automatically reboot the AOS one by one. There won't be any service disruption as well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable, especially if you want to expand.

Expansion is very easy. In Nutanix, additional node expansion is very easy. We can spin multiple VMs based on our business requirements very quickly. In this area, it is very good.

There are two engineers managing Nutanix now for four data centers and a lot of customers.

How are customer service and support?

If I am comparing with the other technical support from VMware, the Nutanix server technical support is awesome because they promptly respond. Sometimes, when I call for an engineer, my call will be kept waiting. Other than this, they quickly respond. If the engineers are free, they will attend the call and help us. I would rate them as nine out of 10.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was using VMware. However, VMware is more costly since Nutanix has cluster and storage management that creates storage free of cost. In the case of VMware, we need to pay the licensing cost for ESXI as well as purchase a separate license for the vSAN for storage consolidation and the HCI configuration. Nutanix is not like that. If you are buying their node, then you only need to pay for the AOS and Prism licensing costs. Cost-wise, Nutanix is very good.

How was the initial setup?

It is very straightforward because there is a foundation option. From the foundation, we mount the devices on the rack and get the network to be connected. That is it. Then, we can use the foundation to configure and push the AOS and the hypervisor. The cluster spins up very quickly. It seems like everything is in a single window. 

Within one day, we can configure a complete cluster. It might not even take a day, but four to five hours to configure it.

What about the implementation team?

Only two people were involved in the deployment. Once it is mounted on the server rack, then it is easy to manage. 

Mounting is a physical activity that took two people. For installation and configuration, we needed only one person. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

AHV is free of cost. If we went for VMware and other hypervisors, we would need to pay for the hypervisor license. Whereas, Nutanix is providing the AHV license for free.

Cost-wise, it is very good. It is like the hypervisor cost is not there. We only need to pay for the system and AOS licenses. 

Updating or configuring the licensing is very easy. We can take the licensed file and use it to update the portal. You download it, then upload it to the cluster. So, the management is very easy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We only compared VMware and Nutanix, who are the best players in the virtualization area.

What other advice do I have?

We already bought three Lenovo nodes and Nutanix licenses. We are going to expand the solution next month in October.

For most organizations, the first agenda is to look at the cost. If you are comparing Nutanix with any other solutions, Nutanix will be one of the best options. It is very stable now. You can reduce the manpower needed because even a single engineer can manage the maintenance.

Overall, I can rate it as eight out of 10 since there are few limitations.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Flag as inappropriate
Deepesh Sinnya - PeerSpot reviewer
Chief Technical Officer at Cypher Technology Pvt. Ltd.
Real User
Top 20
Has good support
Pros and Cons
    • "It should have object storage. It already has network virtualization and micro-segmentation, but it is missing object storage. It does not have object storage. vSAN also does not have object storage, but Nutanix has object storage, and it is natively integrated into its HCI. So, if you pay for the object storage license, you have that module pre-built."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use Sangfor HCI for the Sangfor Cloud platform. We are soon going to host our own cloud platform service by using Sangfor HCI. We've already got a conditional queue from one of the customers, and we're consistently in talk with Sangfor regarding this deal.

    We are working with the trial license of the Sangfor platform. For the first three months, we're going to use it on a trial basis, and after the customer confirms the purchase order, we'll be permanently going for the Sangfor Cloud solution.

    What needs improvement?

    It should have object storage. It already has network virtualization and micro-segmentation, but it is missing object storage. It does not have object storage. vSAN also does not have object storage, but Nutanix has object storage, and it is natively integrated into its HCI. So, if you pay for the object storage license, you have that module pre-built. 

    I would've been really happy if we had point-to-point network connectivity between the virtual firewall and the customer site lease line so that we could have a private IP VPN.

    Sangfor is relatively new in all markets. I would request the Sangfor team to come up with a partner training program with a free voucher so that we can get some of our staff trained and certified in Sangfor and educate them in a proper way.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    It has been about five months since we've been using the Sangfor platform.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We've been using it only for about five months, and I will be able to comment on the stability of this platform after about two years. I've been working with VMware for 10 years. So, there is no point in comparing it with VMware.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    We're going with two nodes at the moment. There will be some downtime, but we can manage it for the next two to three months because we have fewer customers. We're going to provide the cloud service on the Sangfor platform, and soon, we'll be upgrading to the third node. After we have three nodes, it's going to be easier for us to scale up the platform.

    We are a team of about 25 individuals. Four people are looking after this solution. When we start to scale up, we would need more people. With the license that we will purchase, we will also get support from Sangfor. If there are any specific cases, we will contact Sangfor support.

    How are customer service and support?

    Previously, we had Harper from their team for support. He has now moved to a different role, and he was very good. I would rate him 4.5 out of five. 

    Their technical support is pretty good, but we are having some language issues. Basically, we get support from China, and we are having some issues with English. I would rate them a four out of five.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We've worked with VxRail and vSAN in the past. We've not used Nutanix, but I would like Sangfor to grow as a competitor that could beat Nutanix. That's because the RFPs that are made are so much based on Nutanix. It is really difficult for VMware and vSAN to beat Nutanix. I would like to see Sangfor grow as a company and beat Nutanix with all its features. If they add object storage, it would be very good.

    How was the initial setup?

    For me, it was initially a bit complex, but later on, I gave it to my team. They communicated with Harper and other support staff from the Sangfor team, and they were able to do it. It is not a difficult task for us now. We've already given the Sangfor virtualization platform to a customer. So, we already have two Sangfor clients, and we are looking forward to increasing the number.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    Sangfor needs to be more aggressive because this is a new market or territory for Sangfor. Nepal is a very price-sensitive market, so Sangfor needs to be a little more aggressive with its pricing. I would rate them 3.75 out of five in terms of the price.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We're comparing it with VMware. 

    What other advice do I have?

    To anyone looking to implement Sangfor, I would advise doing a three-month PoC. We have a system deployed right here in our test labs with two nodes, and we can give a Sangfor cloud platform tenant for a PoC. We are always ready to support customers, and I believe Sangfor is too.

    It has only been about five months since we have been using it, and I'm pretty satisfied with it. I would rate it an eight out of 10.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Raphaël Julmy - PeerSpot reviewer
    Architecte Infrastructures at IT-Med
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Great continuous data protection with a helpful implementation wizard and efficient technical support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The documentation repository is really useful and kept updated."
    • "The cloud reporting interface is quite poor compared to other vendors."

    What is our primary use case?

    We're using SANsymphnony for our primary storage in a HA environment for sensitive production data. Storage nodes are HPE servers with SSD drives in them. They serve storage to two servers blades enclosures in a Fibre Channel storage network. We have a total of 50TB in a mirror. 16 servers use this storage in a VMware vSphere environment.

    This infrastructure has run without any issues since 2017 and we update it twice a year.

    Before that, we had other SANsymphony infrastructure running on an old HMP MSA storage array. We migrated without any interruption.

    How has it helped my organization?

    DataCore SANsymphony brings the ability to work on almost every hardware platform and to build a storage node with high precision (disks, interfaces, protocols). We can choose what hardware we want to put in and it brings a high-performance throughput from it. The ability to build exactly what you need is a major advantage of SANsymphony over other solutions.

    Hardware maintenance is easy since it is a simple server. There's no need for a storage hardware expert. On top of that, the Software-Defined Storage is easy to manage.

    What is most valuable?

    We used the wizard to deploy SANsymphony in a virtual environment for hyper-converged infrastructure and it is quite useful. We can deploy virtual high-available infrastructure for running tests in less than an hour.

    Continuous data protection is a powerful feature that can save your data in several cases. It is good protection against ransomware.

    The ability to use the RAM of the server node as a read and write cache brings a lot of performance to the storage. We can reach high IOPS from slow disks through the huge amount of cache.

    The documentation repository is really useful and kept updated.

    What needs improvement?

    We would like to see a real "sexy" storage dashboard with capacity, usage, performance, and error tracking.

    The cloud reporting interface is quite poor compared to other vendors. We are far from an HPE Infosight, for example.

    Using a classic storage array constructor allows clients to have a single point of contact in case of an issue. With DataCore, we have to deal with them for the software part and with the hardware vendor for the hardware part. Sometimes, in a complex environment, we have to deal with storage array vendors, servers vendors, and software vendors and that can be exhausting.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We've been using SANsymphony for almost 10 years now. We followed all of its great evolution so far.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    This solution is stable. Depending on the two rooms' interconnection, we have to deal with redundancy and maybe a witness. Losing the connection completely between the nodes can lead to a complete rebuild of a side.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability is almost infinite. I cannot think of a more scalable solution.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    The customer service is quick and efficient. Sometimes we have to deal with some trivial questions but that seems to be the basis of every support query right now.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We previously used an HPE 3PAR storage array. We switched to have more performance and more flexibility. The maintenance is quite easier too.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is easy via the use of a comprehensible wizard.

    What about the implementation team?

    We implemented the solution ourselves after a formation from the vendor.

    What was our ROI?

    The ROI is high as we can change or update hardware without changing our licencing. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The main work in building a SANsymphony solution is to design and select the correct hardware parts. The setup is quite easy and the configuration is too.

    The licensing is by terabyte and can be quite expensive. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated other hardware vendors but stuck to a software-defined solution.

    VMware VSAN was not mature enough for us and we did not want to use a hardware vendor solution.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Brendan - PeerSpot reviewer
    Technology Manager at Tryon International Equestrian Center
    User
    Top 10
    Easy to set up with excellent technical support and great high availability
    Pros and Cons
    • "The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful."
    • "If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use the StarWind HCA as the main solution for hosting all of our core VMs. 

    We have about 20 Microsoft and Linux VMs that we are running on Hyper-V on the StarWind HCA. 

    Our HCA is made up of two Dell servers running the StarWind VSAN software. The VMs that we have are mainly made up of general-purpose servers with a few other custom-use servers thrown in. 

    We also use the HCA to host both of our domain controllers, although we don't have them in the cluster, they are still on the appliance. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    Having high availability has definitely improved the reliability of our infrastructure and made server maintenance much easier, which is a significant improvement for the organization. 

    The low cost of this solution has also made a big difference in our budget, which has been very helpful. 

    The reliability of the VSAN software has also been a big improvement in our infrastructure. 

    The quality of support from StarWind has probably been the biggest improvement though as we went from having a relatively low level of support with our previous solution to having a truly top-tier support team at our disposal.

    What is most valuable?

    High availability with only two nodes has really been enormously valuable to us. Our infrastructure is relatively small and we really didn't need more than two nodes, however, for many reasons, we really needed to have high availability. Being able to accomplish that without extra hardware was huge. 

    The ability to use whatever hypervisor that we wanted has also been very valuable to us. We were able to switch over to Hyper-V from VMWare and save on the licensing costs that we previously had with VMWare.

    What needs improvement?

    I really don't say this very much, however, I actually don't have many issues with this product. However, if I had to think of something, some people might not like the fact that a lot of the engineers tend to have relatively thick eastern European accents, and that might be an issue for some folks. 

    If I had to pick something to add to the product, it would be nice if you could have more than one user account on their command center VM. It's not really a big deal, however, that would be a good addition.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution for about six months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is extremely stable. I haven't had any issues at all. It's one of my favorite things about this solution.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is extremely scalable.

    How are customer service and support?

    Their customer service and support are top-notch. 

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    Our previous solution was very old and not really a good comparison. 

    We switched due to the fact that the hardware needed to be refreshed and we needed high availability.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was extremely easy and their support team was assisting through the whole process.

    What about the implementation team?

    It was implemented through their support team and their level of expertise was extremely high.

    What was our ROI?

    We've seen an ROI of 100% to 150%

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The setup cost and support contract was significantly cheaper with StarWind than with any of the other options that I evaluated.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We considered just buying new server hardware and staying with VMware. We also evaluated Scale and Nutanix.

    What other advice do I have?

    I really can't recommend them enough. 

    Their VSAN software is excellent. The ability to get a highly available setup with just two nodes is fantastic. Their support is top-notch, and from a cost perspective, they blew everybody else out of the water. Give them a call; you won't be sorry!

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Co Founder at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    Great for a large company, easy to deploy, and easy to scale up
    Pros and Cons
    • "VxRail is easy to deploy and easy to scale up."
    • "You have to buy a new server if you want to scale up."

    What is our primary use case?

    We work with Dell's Italian partner, so we go where the market goes. When Dell merged with EMC, we did several courses, and I got a certification with VxRail. We usually work with companies that have projects. We are solution architects. We don't work with software, programs, databases, or custom software.

    What is most valuable?

    VxRail is easy to deploy and easy to scale up, but you have to buy a new server if you want to scale up—not just a classic solution like RAM, CPU, or more disk. The solution would be good for a great company that is dynamic and wants to go up very fast.

    What needs improvement?

    When you converge the solution, you have to be very careful because the great scalability comes at an important cost. If you want to use three nodes with a standard license, for example, and you want to converge the solution with three nodes, you have chosen the wrong product because you have to buy a new server if you want to scale up.

    In my opinion, the lack of improvement is from a commercial point of view, not from a technical point of view. 

    It also lacks a single easy remote server for disaster recovery.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We started using VxRail three years ago.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is great because it is based on VMware, so it's the same panel and same code.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    VxRail has great scalability.

    How are customer service and support?

    Dell's EMC technical support is very good.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup process is pretty straightforward. Technically speaking, there could be some complications, but Dell's support is very good.

    In the course for VxRail, they tell you that it's a single click to deploy. From a technical viewpoint, that isn't true because you have to build the rack system. If the system is projected well, then you have a single click to deploy it with a single panel of glass.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The price could be lower. If the price were dropped, the products could sell more easily.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Compared to Nutanix, we are not as aggressive in the market, but VxRail is a good product with good design. If VxRail is to compete with Nutanix, it needs a single easy remote server for disaster recovery, but that depends on vSAN, which the design of VxRail is based on. The core of vSAN is not designed for this, maybe because vSAN customers are higher level.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would give this solution a 9 out of 10. 

    VxRail isn't for a small company. If you need less than five servers, you could technically use it, but there are probably other solutions that are cheaper. A classic solution for a small customer is cheaper than other convergence solutions.

    In my mind, the hyper-convergence solution is a requirement only for a great company. If you are a small Italian company that isn't going to scale up for a few years, it's very difficult to afford the price, and you might have a problem with technical knowledge as well because your normal technicians won't be able to assist in other convergence solutions if you have an issue. In this case, we prefer traditional systems over VxRail to give the client the correct stability and simple management.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Buyer's Guide
    HCI
    January 2023
    Get our free report covering Dell Technologies, Microsoft, Nutanix, and other competitors of VMware vSAN. Updated: January 2023.
    670,400 professionals have used our research since 2012.