Miriam Tover - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Delivery Manager at PeerSpot
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What Is The Biggest Difference Between Nutanix And VMware vSAN?

Hi peers, 

One of the most popular comparisons on IT Central Station is Nutanix vs VMware vSAN.

People like you are trying to decide which one is best for their company. Can you help them out?

What is the biggest difference between Nutanix and VMware vSAN? Which of these two solutions would you recommend to a colleague evaluating hyper-converged solutions and why?

Thanks for helping your peers make the best decision!

PeerSpot user
12 Answers
Bob Whitcombe - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Sales Architect at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Dec 6, 2018

I have written about this comparison before – the difference between Nutanix and VMware VSAN is like a Stanich Garage Grinder (Rated best burger in the US) vs getting a slab of Romaine Lettuce from California.

Nutanix is a full meal deal – Vmware VSAN is a single ingredient in a complex stew including VSphere, VCloud Director, vRealize Automation, vRealize Ops, NSX, Log Insight, Network Insight, CodeStream, Orchestrator and don’t forget – AirWatch. If you already have the meat and buns (VSphere, VCloud) and some vRealize condiments – you can add VSAN and make a decent burger. But it takes a lot of work, you have to juggle a lot of ingredients and each time you build a new cluster – it looks different. Or, I can order Nutanix, place it on a recommended HCI architecture from Dell, HPE or Cisco – and get a single pane of glass to securely manage and backup my environment.

Being from Oregon – I recall the many Garbage Grinders I had at Stanich’s and vividly recall the savory delight of the complex burger they put out.
I paid $5.95 for my first GG and you could probably save the $.95 by getting your own White box infrastructure – add VSAN as long as you already have licenses for the buns, meat and other condiments. Now if you have abundant time to put them all together and the attention to detail to manage everything you might get to keep your $.95 in savings. But you will some gaps, security and backup, and these days – that is not a savings – that is putting your customers at risk and your operations gaining a new Target like Identity. BTW – I no longer stay at the Marriott either.

Product comparison that may be of interest to you
Client Executive at a tech consulting company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Dec 6, 2018

The BIGGEST difference is that vSAN only runs on the ESX Hypervisor. Whereas Nutanix runs on multiple Hypervisors including ESX, Hyper-V and their own Acropolis Hyper Visor (AHV).
The second main difference is the cost, as the Nutanix software boasts a much larger range of features included in the toolsuit. Where as with vSAN, a lot of the extraneous functionality can be taken up by other vmWare apps (vSphere, vCenter, etc...)
Finally, vSAN requires a minimum of two (2) nodes whereas Nutanix needs three (3).

IT Manager with 51-200 employees
Dec 6, 2018

When we were looking at replacing our server infrastructure of 10 physical boxes and 5 VMs, I was thinking of going the traditional route of 2 large servers, a SAN and use VMware to run the servers. Then I decided to look at hyperconverged solutions. Looking at what was on the market we settled on a single Nutanix block with 3 nodes for the following reasons:

1. License cost of Nutanix’s AHV versus VMWare
2. Online training to support the hyperconverged environment, mostly free
3. Nutanix ‘FILES’ SAN/NAS solution saved me license cost
4. Single glass for managing both hardware and VM’s
5. Reduction in System Administrator workload
6. Seamless software upgrades (we were able to do them over lunch with no downtime)
7. Nutanix device takes up only 2u of rack space

DarrylHollingsworth - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Architect, Principal at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Dec 7, 2018

In my opinion, the biggest difference between Nutanix and VMware vSAN is flexibility and choice.

vSAN requires the VMware Hypervisor. Nutanix allows you the flexibility to select the Hypervisor of your choice (fully supported). Namely:
AHV ( NUTANIX’s Free native KVM based Hypervisor)
Hyper-V (Microsoft’s Hypervisor)
ESXi ( VMware's Hypervisor)
XenServer ( CITRIX's Hypervisor)

In addition, to partnerships with each of the Vendors above, Nutanix also has built in support-integration with the leading Public Cloud platforms (AWS, GCP, and AZURE).
This integration allows you to easily build a out a Hybrid-Cloud environment as well...

Solutions Architect / Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Dec 7, 2018

From a physical hardware perspective, both Nutanix and VMware vSAN have similar offerings. (There are "2U solutions" that support 4-nodes for vSAN as well.) My recommendation is to list the features you ACTUALLY NEED first, then compare your list against both products. If an obvious winner doesn't appear, then start comparing the remaining features of each product to your business goals.

Director Sales and Market with 51-200 employees
Dec 7, 2018

Quick answer:

The biggest difference between Nutanix and VMware vSAN is the ability to choose.

* With Nutanix you may choose type of Hypervisor (VMware, MS Hyper-V or AHV)
* Flexibility in growing with different node types is wider – CPU Nodes, Storage Nodes, Object based storage, block based and File based – all in one solution.
* A total of 12 different SW based solutions to help you automate and manage your “Cloud environments” whether is your own Cloud or some others Cloud (private or public).

Speed of deployment and less complexity is another difference.

As there are blueprints and API’s “ready to go” with Nutanix there is far more integration and consultancy hours to integrate a VMware based vSAN solution with more advanced functionality (NSXi +++).

Though Nutanix needs to use AHV Hypervisor to do their “magic” the functionality is fare more easy to deploy and manage over time with little consultancy cost. In a long term scenario this is where the big difference in “total cost” matters .

Find out what your peers are saying about Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) vs. VMware vSAN and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
670,080 professionals have used our research since 2012.
MBA Candidate and Consortium Fellow at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees
Dec 7, 2018

The biggest reason to go with vSAN is the easy of management, troubleshooting and learning curve/overhead. Nutanix can be complicated and complex.

it_user887781 - PeerSpot reviewer
Operations Control / Resource Management with 1-10 employees
Dec 10, 2018

Spontaneously I would come up with the good management, as well as many years of experience in this environment.

Negative is the high price, above all, this is difficult to enforce in German SMEs (0 - 500 IT seats). In this environment max. three servers needed.

Furthermore, the environment is not very dynamic, so some of the added value of Nutanix is not so good here.

Other negative points are the high prices for retrofitting with RAM, this point concerns only the own Nutanix (Supermicro) hardware, these prices are not available to the customer.

Senior Account Manager at symphony
Dec 7, 2018


Presales Director at AspireNXT
Dec 7, 2018

With the advent of HCI architectures, there has been a flurry of solution(s) available each with their own claims and architectures. While all of them follow a Scale-Out architecture , with the use of commodity servers , each have their own strengths and a simple comparison (Excel Sheet) is something that one should not attempt .

I would suggest a holistic approach by looking deep inside on what you want to achieve. Work Loads, compatibility with your current backup strategy and investments, futuristic technologies such as microsegmentation.
Both VMware vSAN and Nutanix are SDS .
1. Licensing of vSAN has a trend to be more economical compared to Nutanix. Said that feature integration with Nutanix has always been quicker on the development curve.
2. There is a host of training materials provided by both vendors. In order to get you up and running most of them are provided with no additional charge. Exceptions are there, should you require to pursue your strengths to much deeper and higher levels.

Dec 7, 2018

As my understanding, Nutanix is software based shared storage it may limit you to its brand.
VMware vSAN is also software based shared storage BUT its NOT limit you to any brand.
VMware vSAN require minimum 3 node (one as witness).
From my point of view, VMware vSAN is more flexible.

VP Sales Director at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Dec 6, 2018

Hi, I think that if you are using now VMware software , is better keep using this platform and only add de San option, you don't need to learn new Administrations tools, you only new the interface of Van in the same VMware Administrator interface and that it. Technical are different but not too much, You will replace your actual servers with 3 new ones, in VMware Cluster using Vsan option, I hope I can answer your question.

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