Nutanix vs. VMware – The Hyperconverged Duel

Nutanix vs. VMware – The Hyperconverged Duel

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Nuanced stories should permanently be narrated from the beginning, so this duel between Nutanix and VMware is no exception. We must start from the basic concepts behind these solutions.

Nutanix AHV and VMware ESXi are top hypervisors with their pros and cons. Both are mature companies with everything IT administrators would expect from a company-class offer, but understanding the differences between Nutanix AHV vs.

VMware ESXi supervisors determine what administrators want to achieve and at what cost.

VMware and Nutanix were allies in the early days of the hyper-converging infrastructure market, which Nutanix pioneered. Its first product, launched in 2011, was a device that integrated servers, storage, networking, and virtualization.

VMware’s VSphere provided the virtualization section. The companies loved the concept.

How it all began – the convergence

For a start, we ought to understand what convergence is, a term that refers to merging several elements.

In the specific case of IT infrastructure, it is understood as a combination of networks, storage, and processing, in the same solution. In this scenario, however, we will have to resort to third-party solutions to cover all critical points of the data processing center (DPC).

The next step towards convergence is redundancy due to the fact that hyper convergence not only encompasses the elements but also goes beyond them and integrates critical CPD solutions such as tracking, backup, duplication, data compression, or disaster recovery, among others.

We are able to divide the concept of convergence into three levels:

Level 1

For solutions where we can visually distinguish network elements, processing, and storage by opening our back door.

Level 2

It integrates all these elements into one device.

Level 3

A device that not only integrates network elements, processing, and storage. It also provides storage management, backup, migration, deduplication, compression, restoration, and single glass solutions for monitoring our hyper convergent solution (HCI).

VMware hypervisor

For the first few years, VMware focused on delivering virtualization products that caused failed virtualization that brought the radically better performance to enterprise IT environments.

Nowadays, as many IT teams build their data center around VMware technologies, VMware’s clear focus is on increasing customer reliance on vSphere virtualization technologies and long-term locking of VMware products.

One of the best examples of this approach is their vSAN HCI software solution. Instead of building an HCI solution to support multiple supervisors and allowing customers to choose the best virtualization technology for their business, VMW engineers have built vSAN deep into the core of their ESXi hypervisor.

As a result, IT teams become increasingly locked into VMware technologies. They are giving up any future opportunity to move their environment to a non-VMware hypervisor to reduce licensing costs.

Nutranix hypervisor

At the other end is Nutanix, which provides good customer flexibility. Nutanix products are widely known for enabling customers to choose solutions that allow IT teams to choose the right technologies for each use case.

For example, Nutanix HCI software supports the most popular hypervisors in the industry – VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, and KVM (via its own AHV hypervisor without a Nutanix license). About half of Nutanix customers now choose to run ESXi on the Nutanix platform.

That being said, others may reduce virtualization licensing costs by using Nutanix AHV or Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V.

Nutanix AHV vs. VMware ESXi

When comparing Nutanix versus VMware in terms of their respective supervisors, administrators must determine which functionality and capabilities best suit their workload.

Moreover, Nutanix AHV is an offer for HCI only, so administrators can not add forms for external storage other than the network file system and iSCSI.

In essence, workloads that require additional hardware, such as Fiber Channel cards, will not work if the workload relies on AHV. For administrators who maintain their SAN infrastructure, it makes no sense to think about AHV because of its standalone clusters with no external hardware dependencies.

The exclusive features of the AHV and ESXi are very similar outside the box. VMware reduces ESXi to two vCenter offerings, and Nutanix offers three via AHV. Nutanix enables automated workload management across clusters, regardless of which version of AHV administrators use.

This feature is available only in vSphere ESXi after administrators purchase an additional license. Manual control is still public but not as effective.

Comparison between Nutanix AHV and VMware vSphere in the key categories

Ease of deployment

Nutanix AHV users and VMware vSphere users say that solutions are easy to set up and deploy.


Nutanix AHV users are more into manageability and ease of troubleshooting, but there are also some limitations to compatibility with other software.

VMware vSphere users continually claim that the solution is easy to maintain, has excellent stability, and provides good virtualization.


The prices for Nutanix AHV are not so high in the likes of VMware vSphere. Many users are still complaining about the costs of both services.

Service and support

Both services provide excellent support for their customers.

VMware vSAN

It is a software-defined storage solution introduced in the vSphere kernel, combining multiple node storage disks to create a single distributed data warehouse, allowing the user to define storage requirements and data available on virtual machines or clusters via policies.

VMware software is tuned on VMware cloud environments with specific VMware licenses and HCI solutions.

Some of the benefits of VMware vSAN would be:

Unique data store

The disks of each node are merged and presented to all hosts that are part of the cluster. Therefore, adding disks to a node will increase the capacity of the cluster and data storage.

Distributed fault tolerance

It is an idea equivalent to RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), which aims to tolerate the collapse of one or more disks in a row. Distributed fault tolerance deals with the destruction of a node or one of the resources it carries in the cluster.

Does not use network storage services

Storage infrastructure is operated locally between host nodes, which decodes into savings by not depending on a network solution that demands infrastructure and a skilled workforce.

Centralized management

The vSphere client does not need to train staff on new technologies.

Fully integrated

vSAN is part of the vSphere kernel package, so it is compatible with all its components and will deliver a performance level bonus.


VMware ESXi is a hypervisor-converged storage solution designed explicitly for vSphere virtual infrastructure. This product’s main aim is to simplify storage and management while providing increased performance.

On the other hand, Nutanix AHV is the base hypervisor installed on several hosts. It comes into its own when governed by Prism, practically the vCenter equivalent in the Nutanix world. Without Prism, Nutanix AHV is somewhat limited.

Both solutions are great, and it is up to you to choose what solution will suit you the most for you and your business to grow.