back to article VMware and Nutanix in vSphere support spat

Nutanix and VMware are fighting an ugly online battle about over how to do hyperconvergence right. VMware threw the first punch, in this post by Chuck Hollis in which he says VCE invented the hyperconverged market and that got it right the first time with its “everything in this rack and running on this rack has been tested a …

  1. smashp

    I think people are missing the point, How can Nutanix sell a Hyper converged solution with "one throat to choke" when the customer has to have multiple separate support contracts. Thats the point VMware was making.

    And for the last time, Nobody but the blogosphere cares how many VCDXs Nutanix has on staff, the majority of them are nothing more then Marketing mouthpieces.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      So which team do you work for at VMware?

      1. smashp

        None, Zip, Zero...Just a Architect in the field that works with customers on a daily basis that is constantly fighting the over promised sales approaches of many Vendors in the Wild today. Selling the "Easy" button approach and a one size fits all model to modern datacenters is a major disservice to the many intelligent folks out there solving IT business problems.

        Nutanix has a very polished message that does appeal to the C-level types, but when they are in front of a smart infrastructure department that is competent and talented their value prop falls apart.

        Convergence has a place in the datacenter and many established vendors out there such as VCE, HP and Hitachi that al have different levels of maturity for application driven solutions. The Hyper-converged model attempts to oversimplify these problems and can put customers at major risk if the use cases dont line up. That doesn't even take into account the price premium the Hyperconverged vendors charge. With their price premium, they still dont want to play by established rules vmware has had for partners and OEMs. Those tightly controlled programs in the OEM and Hardware validation space are the reasons VMware is able to control that marketplace. But nutanix wants to play by their own rules and feels since they have so many VCDX" on staff, that enables them to spit in VMware face. I find it comical and arrogant that a few of these VCDX are pushing customer to move to NOS 4.1 which hasn't even been validated on the vSphere hcl. They refuse to submit and validate their features and integration (a NON HCL SRA Adapter for SRM for example) that many other established vendors do and have. I really feel this is because of their sales need to gain market share at all costs to remain relevant. If you worked with the products, you know that their has been some substantial bugs that go long unresolved, This is the real challenge they need to overcome and instead of spitting in VMwares face on these support quandaries, maybe they should focus on a little more polish. But this is often seen among many of the fast growing startups.... Can they scale as an organization.

        The bottom line is Nutanix is nothing more then a Supermicro white box re-seller that layers their own Storage solution on top of a Hypervisor. Without the Hypervisor they have nothing to stand on their own. They are at their core a storage vendor. Since VMware dominates that marketplace in many Enterprises, they are completely dependent upon the platform (Yes im aware they can Hyper-v or KVM it also). Their arrogance is causing them to forget how much they need this platform to be successful and they are even beginning to float the idea of building their own.. This would be a failed effort that has happened again and again.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Aha, so when a company outsources the architeching to Nutanix they are stupid. When a company outsources the architecting of their datacenter to you, they are smart. And when I hit you with a bus? What then? Hard to hit all of Nutanix with a bus. There's a lot of 'em.

          Oh, and by the way? The hypervisor is a commodity. Not matter how much the cult leaders say it isn't.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I can't read after 1st sentence without falling down and laughing. you post 1st 20 days ago. also against Nutanix. You managed to reference to prostitution. Next post on Nutanix again. This time with detailed support stuff.

    2. Magellan

      No, not quite true.

      When I worked for a server vendor (who also was a VMware OEM), most of the customers I sold servers to for running ESX had VMware ELAs and rarely, if ever, purchased individual ESX per-socket licenses from me. This was also true for Microsoft Windows licenses when I worked at another server vendor (who was a Microsoft OEM).

      What Chuck Hollis is saying is, when a server vendor OEMs VMware, there apparently is a cooperative support agreement that comes with being an OEM, so there is cooperative support between the server vendor and VMware regardless of from whom the customer purchased the VMware licenses (and software support contract).

      This is a fair criticism, but Hollis did not communicate it well at all.

      To Nutanix's point, I believe Nutanix should--like the Dells, HPs, IBMs ... er .. Lenovos, and Ciscos of the world--OEM vSphere, Hyper-V, RHEV, XenServer, OVM, and any other commercial hypervisors it supports (assuming the hypervisor vendor is willing), even if it does not sell a single license, to maximize its support for those hypervisors. It can always plan for its channel partners who are also VMware, Microsoft, etc. partners to sell the licenses separately if it makes the most sense for Nutanix, the partner, and the customer.

      One has to ask: Why would Nutanix not OEM VMware? I can only imagine the reason Nutanix has not done this is because VMware's OEM agreement must be onerous. It may require the prospective OEM partner to offer VSAN and EVO:RAIL.

      If anyone is a student of history, they will recall Microsoft had an onerous desktop OEM agreement which led to anti-competitive complaints.

      At its core, Nutanix is a software company that sells a VMware plug-in. Yes, they also sell commodity hardware, and yes they have broadened their portfolio to include a Hyper-V plug in. But again, think of the ISVs who sold Windows desktop utilities, and ISVs who sold Windows desktop applications, who were destroyed as Microsoft put more functionality into Windows and Office. VMware has decided to follow that path.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No, not quite true.

        I respectfully disagree. You are very knowledgeable about the industry based on your past comments, but I don't believe Chuck meant what you said he meant.

        1. He wants to highlight Nutanix is not an OEM (ok). I have the bits in an ISO that I paid for. I want to get them integrated (minor inconvenience because of their foundation tool)

        2. He wants to highlight that Nutanix can't really support VMware vSphere because they are not an OEM (the skills they hired and support related experience prove this wrong).

        3. He wants position VSAN as better than Nutanix (head spinner).

        Can Nutanix escalate a case to VMware if they see an issue with a customer's environment. They are arguing that if the customer has a valid VMware support agreement, they can do so (on customer's behalf or with them). Can someone confirm this once and for all?

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: No, not quite true.

          Let me be clear here: if the customer has a support agreement with VMware than any VMware partner can escalate on behalf of a customer, OEM or not. In fact, I'm not even a "VMware partner", and I escalate support tickets for my clients all the time.

          The support is paid for by the customer. Who is on the phone does not matter. You may have to have the customer added to the call for a minute or two to acknowledge that they are authorising you to speak on their behalf, but three-way calling is simple.

          If I am allowed to do this, as a small time operator with no VMware certifications, there is no rational reason why Nutanix - which is filled with VCDXes - cannot as well.

  2. smashp

    Never said its stupid, but when the only tool in the toolbelt is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Customers also need to be aware of i they are being sold to a quota or a solution.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      VMware doesn't do a whole lot of "selling a solution" anymore. They have places a lot of restrictions on what their sales folks can talk about, and even which VMware partner products they are allowed to discuss let alone recommend. VMware is 100% about the lockin these days. It has nothing to do with what's best for the consumer.

      Nutanix, at least, is willing to sit down with the customer and have an honest conversation about customer needs. That this is having more and more customers decide they don't need VMware is perfectly fine. Not because I have a beef with VMware, or love Nutanix, but because customer needs are what matter. Not vendor needs.

      The vendors can go to hell. All of them. Even though they are the ones paying my salary, I'll say loud and say it proud: the customer comes first, the customer comes last, and the customer is everything in between.

  3. AndyS_NB

    Hi Simon, Great article. I'm the VP Product at NIMBOXX. I'm surprised that the argument has escalated to the extent it has. I've written a response on our NIMBOXX blog.

    https://www.nimboxx.com/blog/top-lesson-from-nutanix-vs.-vmware-hyperconverged-bickering

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feeling lonely AndyS_NB?

    Seriously though -- this is a silly debate. We are a reseller and like to sell ELAs and licenses for VMware, Microsoft and others ourselves. It makes us more money -- plain and simple. I hate how OEMs position packaged software superior to what we sell. It is the exact same thing. This is why I never let my HP rep near a prospect until they have a prelim quote from us.

    Not sure how their corporate departments allow this level of public discourse. It is very irresponsible towards us in the channel and smells like the EMC-Netapp tiff in the late 2000s.

  5. FlBe

    The truth is (always) out there ...

    ... and with that said, I agree with smash. From my personal perspective Nutanix is a vendor that is selling "easy" button approach on its best. It's hard to find manuals or Release Notes if you are not already a Nutanix customer. These documents that often show the truth about what is possible and what is not. So build your own opinion about what is possible with Nutanix (scaling, mixing different nodes as you want, supporting different hypervisor solutions i.e.) and take a look at the Release Notes of NOS 4.0.1 postet on a French website: http://www.virtu-desk.fr/medias/files/nutanix-release-notes-nos-v4-0-1.pdf

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: The truth is (always) out there ...

      What are you even talking about? Do you even know the feild at all? Please look up The Nutanix Bible. Amongst many, many other things. Nutanix not only makes available every stitch of information about their products, they are praised by their competitors for having some of the most complete documentation in the industry!

      1. FlBe

        Re: The truth is (always) out there ...

        I know the Nutanix Bible. It shows a lot about the technology and what can be done i.e.mixed clusters of different nodes and how to deal with that, but not much what can not be done. Do a search for terms like "restrictions" (how it is used in the Release Notes), it will lead to no findings. Even if you look for "mix" it will only show that term in parts of the Nutanix Bible where there is a description how to mix nodes that can be mixed (3050 and 60X0 - please don't comment that this is not the only possibility to mix, I know that). No word that this is not possible for all combinations. So if vendors praise Nutanix for that documentation, fine. I don't do that.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: The truth is (always) out there ...

          Restrictions (as per the release notes) change with each release. That's why it's in tehre. As for what can and can't be mixed, there is a difference between what is officially supported and what is possible. I know Nutanix is looking to increase the officially suported node admixtures, but that many of these are not fully tested enough.

          Also: ask Nutanix. They will actually try to provide you the information and won't hide it. And if you ask Steve and he finds there is more up to date info than is in the Bible, he'll add it.

          VMware doesn't post information about the issues with Intel 10GbE cards and various different versions of ESXI 5.0/5.5. Nor does Intel. When you ask them, they point fingers at one another, and the KBs on the topic are useless. I could find at least 50 other examples of such issues in my own lab. Yet you don't seem to mind that.

          There were a whole bunch of issues with restrictions on implementation of vSphere 6's appliance, yet that's not openly stated. We had to have the community go face first into the GA and find those issues. Half of the ones I know about aren't yet in KBs and none are in the primary documentation.

          VMware doesn't advertise, for example, that Flash Read Cache doesn't dynamically resize flash amounts after you move a VM, or that if you try to move a VM onto a system with all the flash committed it won't move. (And that this will affect HA!) And don't get me started on DRS.

          You don't see a bunch of advertisement on the VSAN site about VSAN's lack of basic technologies like compression and deduplication. So is all that okay, while Nutanix leaving out some untested scenarios from official documentation until they are sure of the gotchas makes them bad?

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