I work as a System Engineer at a large Financial Services company (size: 1000+ employees).
Currently, I've been looking at the following HCI solutions: Nutanix Acropolis AOS and VMware vSAN.
Which of them would you recommend to my company? Otherwise, should I explore any alternative enterprise solution? Please let me know why.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Wow, all the name-droppers are there already!
But we had one job: recommend the best out of two!
Not recommend x,y and z.
I would recommend Nutanix as it has a wider scope as a solution.
Nutanix AOS has better resilience against failures and better performance and even the best support out there.
A wider scope means the eco-system beyond virtualization (and storage of VMs as we are comparing with vSAN) is already in place and the integration of the various products is much better.
You have Nutanix Files for a FileServer-Solution, Calm for Self-Service VMs, Era for your DB-Admins and on and on.
These have to be paid for too, but you would pay for alternatives also.
I really think you should put attention to using Openstack as HCI infrastructure.
With OS you can get all benefits of any HCI solution and keep an agnostic infrastructure. Maybe you lose some minor features but you gain more features than you lose.
Furthermore, you can integrate your current assets as you want and you will not have technologies silos.
You can also create a bridge from your current on-premise technology to hybrid or containerized infrastructure.
At last but not least, the costs. Software's OPEX never goes down. The deeper you go, the more you sink.
We´ve been through this sort of decision about a year ago: choose the best among Nutanix, VxRail and Simplivity. By that time, we were using VMware vSAN HCI applied to 9 physical hosts.
No mysteries about VMWare vSAN HCI - but there's a lot of operational work to apply updates/upgrades/fixes to all nodes. It consumes a lot of our team's efforts.
Nutanix and its Acropolis AOS seemed to be a very good choice: user-friendly, seamless navigation between features and configurations. Really nice to use and deploy our Citrix loads.
HP Simplivity also looks great! It offers very good storage and backup solution - DEDUP at very good levels. The V-Motion process between remote sites was very fast and reliable.
In the end, Dell VxRail became our choice, offering all VMWare features with a plus: VxRail software enables a consistent and proactive environment monitoring, all upgrades/fixes/updates are applied without downtime, all easy in a user-friendly interface
The botom line: all these solutions were great, so we invited them all for a PoC.
If it is for full open-source software on Acropolis, Nutanix is a good choice.
If you have to mix VM and containers with Tanzu Kubernetes (a modern app), vSAN seems to be a better choice.
We have deployed VmWare vSAN to some of our customers. The advantage with VmWare vSAN is that the vSAN software is integrated in ESX. So, you do not need to deploy virtual SAN as VM's. But you need a Witness VM, wich is a virtual ESX - so it will appear as two machines - little confusing in the beginning.
For small deployment (ROBO), you can have a two node cluster, with vcenter installed on the vSAN. This is a cost-effective solution. But keep in mind, the HCL from VmWare - all hardware has to be approved (on the vSAN Hardware Compability List).
We have also been searching for a solution to replace the EOL HPE VSA (StorVirtual). Here we came across StoreMagic SvSAN - we have deployed this to a Hyper-V customer. It also runs on VMware vSphere. This is also a brilliant solution and very cost-effective. The deployment scenario is often ROBO (Remote Office Branch Office), but it can scale up.
In a two-node scenario, you can connect 10Gb Eth direct between the two nodes, for synchronization. This works for both VmWare vSAN and Store MAgic SvSAN.
One of the point for discussion I see Harvester from SUSE.
It depends on: which product you are able to control, know the product way to fix it, and also the quality of the product support team after going live.
You should consider HP Simplivity.
While Dell Vxrail is the typical solution, HP Simplivity can fit well in various cases. Combined with Green Lake it can bring flexibility e cost savings.
But first, be sure that HCI is the right choice.
IMHO you should look into Nutanix with AHV hypervisor and DELL VxRail (instead of vSAN on boxes from somewhere). Both are complete and enterprise-ready appliance solutions available from 2-node RoBo-clusters up to 64-node (VxRail) or even more (Nutanix) -clusters.
Nutanix brings cloud-like management and a complete ecosystem of infrastructure tools and solutions and easily expands to different cloud providers. While I don't recommend it, you could use three different hypervisors: VMware ESXi, MS Hyper-V and Nutanix' version of KVM: AHV.
AHV is the solution of choice, as you get it for free paying for the Nutanix software, which you'll always have to buy, no matter which hypervisor you choose. Nutanix has a very good and clear GUI design (HTML5-Browser based) that makes it easy for administrators to acquire the needed skills.
Dell VxRail is based on the VMware hypervisor only, so if your administrators are used to work with ESXi, they'll be immediately and seamlessly able to work with VxRail. VxRail uses VMware vSAN to converge the cluster nodes' local storage, so the most minumums/maximums/requirements that are valid for vSAN are valid for VxRail too.
Be aware of one fact: VxRail is often cheaper than vSAN Ready Nodes, if you buy via a high-level Dell partner that has a deal registration for your project. Included in VxRail are vSAN licenses (any edition) and a vCenter Server license (cluster internal vCenter only, the license does not include management of non-VxRail ESXi-servers).
Because you say that you work at a large Financial Services company (size: 1000+ employees), please do yourself the favour and forget about StoreMagic SvSAN (it's okay for SoHo and small RoBo locations) and HPE Nimble/Alletra (has nothing to do with HCI, it's nothing but the next evolutionary step of block storage - no compute included). You could also look into Cisco Hyperflex, but if we're talking Cisco, we all know it comes with quite a price tag.
At the end of the day, it's Nutanix/AHV or VxRail, if you want a modern, enterprise-grade, easy to manage, flexible, stable and performant infrastructure solution that's eliminating the silos of a classic 3-tier approach.
I strongly recommend you looking at dHCI Nimble or Alletra from HPE.