Nutanix for Always-On Computing
July 10, 2019
Nutanix for Always-On Computing
Score 7 out of 10
- Nutanix AHV
Overall Satisfaction with Nutanix
We installed a Nutanix cluster (4 nodes) to run all the virtual machines (VM) used by my organization. Nutanix is a hyperconverged computing solution, so the processing, storage and networking for the cluster is all crammed into a 2U space, all managed from a web browser. The promise of the cluster is that you will never lose services, as an entire node can go offline and your system will not miss a beat. If you are familiar with RAID for storage, clustering is like RAID for servers, where there is redundancy not just of storage, but of an entire server. So if uptime is critical for your organization, Nutanix can be a good solution, albeit expensive. Our implementation supports our entire organization, offering peace of mind from hardware failures. It's also all automatic, significantly lowering management cost and reducing administrative burden.
- Nutanix AHV removes the headache from clustering. Once it's set up--which a Nutanix rep completed--the system is largely self-managed.
- It was a turnkey installation, and I was building virtual machines from day one.
- The system automatically manages moving VMs from cluster to cluster when software updates are performed on the Nutanix system that require the nodes to be rebooted, so there is no down time.
- System management from a web browser is easy management, as it can be managed from anywhere there is Internet connectivity.
- It supports Windows and Linux VMs equally well, allowing access to the VMs from within the browser. This can be much easier than using remote desktop or VNC.
- Nutanix has a huge learning curve. We purchased the on-line training course when we moved to the platform and it was literally weeks of instruction. It was so extensive, in fact, that we ran out of time to complete it before the test.
- Operations that cannot be done from the browser require running commands from a terminal emulator; perhaps owing to the newness of the platform, documentation is not robust. I highly recommend you buy the tech support.
- Software updates are sometimes rushed to release. I've gotten to where I wait at least a few weeks after release before installing them, as I've run into significant issues with buggy software. Such installations have required time-consuming tech support calls to resolve.
- While the promise of perpetual VM uptime is being fulfilled, the dashboard frequently reports issues that need to be resolved.
- Because of significant hardware redundancy, the cost per byte of storage capacity is high.
- In the 20 months we have had Nutanix, our VMs have always been available. That was the goal with this purchase.
- The peace of mind is incalculable. Automatic failover, total hardware redundancy, automatic VM provisioning--while it's not always easy to work with and causes headaches in other ways, the bottom line is we are always up and it fulfills its promise. While I cannot measure the ROI in dollars and cents, the reduction in stress is a significant ROI, and management is pleased, too.
There are other clustering solutions, to be sure. And there are significantly less expensive solutions for preventing downtime, such as Hyper-V replication, which is what I was using before Nutanix. But Nutanix is in the upper-right of the Gartner magic quadrant for hyperconverged solutions. If you want an all-in-one solution that comes highly rated by industry experts, it can be a great way to go. It was also selected because several peers had selected it and had good experiences. I've used Hyper-V (which you can run on Nutanix instead of AHV, by the way, although you lose many of the cool features AHV offers) and VMware (which you could also run on Nutanix), I have not found myself wholly missing either of those products by using AHV.
Nutanix is a good solution if:
- You cannot afford to have your services go offline.
- You want peace of mind that comes from total hardware redundancy.
- You are comfortable running commands through a terminal emulator.
- You want a system that largely manages itself in terms of keeping your VMs online.
- You're concerned more about bullets 1-4 than you are cost.
- Cost is your primary concern. In this case, you would probably be better served using something like Microsoft's Hyper-V replication, which is included with the cost of a Windows Server license.
- 24x7 uptime is not critical, there are cheaper and easier solutions to achieve near-constant uptime (see bullet one, above).
- You are not comfortable working at a command line or don't want to pay for tech support.