Reply to post: Re: How is NetApp HCI Superior to Nutanix / VxRail ?

NetApp puts everything it's got into a hyperconverged box

JohnMartin

Re: How is NetApp HCI Superior to Nutanix / VxRail ?

If you want a technical description then I'll have to do one of my LONG posts .. and the comment section isn't long enough, so this is the short version .. the three main things that differentiates HCI solutions are the software defined storage layer the hypervisor and the management interface. I'm going to leave the hypervisor question aside for the moment because the vast majority of the market is VMware .. thats not to say that Hyper-V, or various flavours of KVM, or a hypervisorless containerised approach aren't good in their own way, but even if you don't like VMware, most people I speak to agree that ESX (especially when combined with vSphere and the rest of the VMware ecosystem) is the best hypervisor .. though clearly that's not differentiating. Some would argue that Nutanix's management interface is one of its best features, others would say that if you're already committed to VMware, then learning an additional interface just makes the learning curve steeper and that you're better off not having to context switch outside of the vSphere interface .. vSAN approaches do this as does NetApp HCI, so again, not overly diferentiating, and personally I think there's room for both approaches. That leaves us with the SDS layer ..which is both the fundamental enabler of HCI and also it's Achilles heel. Most Gen-1 HCI failures and meltdowns are caused by the limitations in the software defined storage layer .. thats not to say that at the right scale with the right workload vSAN and Nutanix don't perform adequately, but every HCI benchmark I've ever seen had really lacklustre performance results, and that limits the use cases and the scale of HCI deployments. There isn't the space to fairly describe the limitations of the SDS layers in VxRAIL and Nutanix and if you're a big fan of either, you won't appreciate my calling your baby ugly, and they both have strengths in particular use-cases, as someone said earlier, there are always tradeoffs. The SDS layer in NetApp HCI comes from the latest version of ElementOS .. to get a detailed understanding of its architecture, check this old tech field day presentation from 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeaGCeJfNBg ..also worth noting that SRM support which is often a cited concern with HCI has also been around with Solidfire was delivered about the same time and it doesn't require the absolute latest versions of vsphere to work. Since then there have been a number of enhancements including a brilliantly implemented support for vVOL (though you can still use old fashioned datastore if you want, something I don't think VxRAIL will let you do) .. for more information on that check out this series of 5 videos starting here https://youtu.be/4CH3thsRxR8. The other relevant and large difference is support for Snapmirror which allows integrated low impact, backup to cloud and integration with the rest of the NetApp DataFabric portfolio. Going into detail around the superiority of the replication technologies vs either Nutanix or VxRAIL(with or without RecoverPoint) won't fit on this comment thread, but if you're really interested I'll pull up some threads videos and post them.

The superiority doesn't just come from checkboxes on feature sheets, the devil as you should know is in the details, theres a big difference between a product feature, and a product feature you actually use, and that's why its usually better to ask an expert.

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