Virtualization

Nutanix vs VMware in 2024

Considering a switch from VMware? Explore the differences between Nutanix vs VMware in terms of features, pricing, and overall features.

With the major shakeup happening in the virtualization industry in 2024, most organizations are looking at their options and what platform they want to move forward with. The buyout of VMware by Broadcom, price hikes, and elimination of free ESXi have left many feeling the need to look elsewhere, including the cloud computing market. Many organizations and MSPs are looking at Nutanix as a VMware replacement. In this blog, let’s look at Nutanix vs VMware in 2024 and compare the features and key points between the two as organizations are looking for other solutions for the best infrastructure moving forward.  

1. Cost comparison

In reading several message boards and Reddit threads, the general consensus is that Nutanix seems to come out cheaper for businesses that have compared the pricing with VMware. Also, many of the threads were before the Broadcom buyout of VMware. Now that prices and renewals have skyrocketed for some businesses 5-10x, it would seem Nutanix definitely has the advantage here. Nutanix has a fairly straitforward pricing model and one that will be similar to previous budget models with legacy VMware deployments and services.

I saw a recent article on CRN where many MSPs are having massive calls to shift customers away from VMware and over to Nutanix: Broadcom Is Making Shareholders Rich, Rivals Happy And VMware Partners Bitter (crn.com).

Nutanix hci
Nutanix hci

“We have been having weekly calls with all of our technical and sales people to talk about moving customers to Nutanix,” said the CEO, who did not want to be identified so as not to jeopardize ongoing business with VMware By Broadcom.

“Nutanix has been on several of these sessions educating our sales and technical people to go compete against VMware. We’re going to do the best we can to keep the customers we have and move as many as we can away from VMware. Nutanix in my view is in a perfect position to take advantage of the opportunity.”

In a recent IDC survey and case study, Nutanix was found to have delivered a total cost of ownership (TCO) value savings of 43% and a 5-year ROI of 356% for companies and clients that have built their infrastructure solution on the Nutanix virtualization platform with HCI.

Many are in fear of the long-term cost implications for VMware customers who are operating multiple virtual machines on a single or multiple hosts in a vSphere cluster configuration. Broadcom has drastically raised prices and that could well happen again in the near future.

2. VMware’s Edge disappearing in the Virtualization Market

VMware has long been the standard in virtualization for decades now. When you think about enterprise data center virtualization, you think about VMware typically, and no one else. With products like VMware vSphere, VMware ESXi, and VMware vSAN, the company has dominated. 

Vmware by broadcom
Vmware by broadcom

However, there comes a point where price is a deciding factor. Both VMware and Nutanix have the enterprise polish since they have been around the industry for many years now. With the Broadcom buyout and everyone questioning staying with VMware moving forward, Nutanix is definitely worth a look at as a strong competitor and alternative to the VMware platform.

Nutanix is known for its innovative HCI solution along with Nutanix AHV. It provides an excellent solution when it comes to user-friendliness, seamless integration, and better scalability within enterprise environments.

3. Nutanix storage vs VMware storage

Nutanix’s approach to hyperconverged infrastructure and infrastructure solutions is unique and offers a unified management interface that simplifies complex infrastructure. 

The Nutanix infrastructure uses a software-defined storage approach and built-in hypervisor capabilities. It provides a robust foundation for deploying, managing, and scaling applications. Also, Nutanix’s free Community Edition is a unique offering in the HCI market that is great for home lab and encourages experimentation and adoption by virtualization pros.

Nutanix storage
Nutanix storage

4. Key Features and Capabilities

Both Nutanix and VMware have great options for data protection, disaster recovery, storage, networking, compute, and role based access control. Each of these is important in maintaining data integrity and security in today’s enterprise environments. 

Nutanix offers a suite of software solutions designed for efficiency and flexibility, including Nutanix Prism for simplified management processes and Nutanix AHV as a hypervisor for virtualization. 

Despite the price increase the suite of virtualization products is well known by many. Most know about VMware NSX for networking and VMware vSAN for storage leading the way in innovation and performance.

However, many an organization has features about Broadcom buyout that it will stifle innovation and new releases and capabilities. Time will tell on that front.

Note the following solutions comparison:

  • VMware has vSAN. Nutanix has ADSF HCI that at least by Nutanix, has been observed to deliver capacity advantages
  • VMware has VMware NSX software-defined network solution. Nutanix has their Flow solution for microsegmentation.
  • VMware has Tanzu. Nutanix has Nutanix Kubernetes Engine service.
  • VMware has the VMware Cloud. Nutanix has a Nutanix Cloud to reduce cloud complexity and implement flexibility with multicloud platform implementations
  • VMware has vCenter Server. Nutanix has Prism.
  • VMware (did have) VMware Horizon for VDI. Nutanix has End User Computing solutions for VDI and DaaS.
  • VMware has ESXi. Nutanix has AHV. It is important to note, you can’t just download Nutanix AHV to run on servers decoupled from the HCI solution. This is being talked about though as a possibility in Nutanix technologies and platforms moving forward.

5. Nutanix hardware has strong compatibility with VMware

In case you didn’t know, Nutanix HCI solutions are on the HCL for VMware. Nutanix VMware solutions are not uncommon to see in existing infrastructure. You will often see the VMware virtualization layer running on top of Nutanix HCI storage. 

With Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure, you have the option of running VMware ESXi as the hypervisor, or Nutanix AHV. This established market presence and strong compatibility will be a major “feather in the cap” for Nutanix as customers are looking at alternatives for their VMware infrastructure.

6. The Importance of Community and Support

It is hard to argue the strength and importance of the VMware community, as I think this is truly what has made VMware the leader it is today. However, what I am seeing from Broadcom, I think, is not as healthy for the community. 

Broadcom has publicly shown support for community-led programs like VMUG and vExpert. However, at the end of the day, it is about profits and the shareholders. The moment these programs are deemed as expendable, I am certain they will quickly be dropped, which is sad.

Vmware user group vmug
Vmware user group vmug

Nutanix also has a strong community of professionals and others in the industry, which I am seeing. I think this will only continue to increase as more SMB and mid-market enterprise environments pivot to Nutanix. The Nutanix NEXT arena showcases their community spirit quite well:

Also, I love that Nutanix has embraced the community with Nutanix Community Edition and made this freely available for download. I am also encouraged they have also made the Nutanix Move utility available for download. All you need is your Nutanix Community Edition login and a Nutanix SSO login tied to that to download the Move utility.

Both companies offer extensive resources for disaster recovery planning, security features enhancement, and leveraging machine learning for IT infrastructure optimization, making the choice between Nutanix and VMware even more nuanced for organizations seeking the right solution for their virtualization needs.

7. Nutanix vs VMware in the home lab

For years now, I have ran VMware vSphere in my home lab and have been very happy with the performance, features, and capabilities. It is also what I have primarily dealt with in the enterprise for running production workloads. 

However, we have all known that with the Broadcom buyout, there would be fallout for home lab environments. One of the first blows came hard and heavy. Broadcom axed the free edition of VMware ESXi. This may not have been a death blow to most in the home lab arena as most that I know who are serious about running VMware in their lab environment are using a VMUG subscription or are a vExpert, which entitles them to licensing.

Vmware vsan
Vmware vsan

However, the message it sent in a symbolic way was perhaps the most disturbing. I have known guys who downloaded and got started with virtualization and played around with the solution by using the free version of VMware ESXi. 

I think this freely available and attainable hypervisor solution is one of the primary reasons that VMware became the de facto standard in virtualization. The hypervisor was easy to get and the community was large and has continued to be a driving factor in onboarding new generations of virtualization professionals. 

Now that VMware ESXi’s free edition is gone, Nutanix Community Edition (NCE), with its freely available download and minimal limitations, definite

Nutanix ce dashboard
Nutanix ce dashboard

ly stands out as an excellent option for those who want to run a virtualization lab at home.

Couple this with the fact that we are probably going to see an explosion of Nutanix virtualization solutions in the enterprise following the Broadcom buyout, learning Nutanix skills is going to be a great point for the resume.

If you don’t have extra hardware for installing Community Edition, Nutanix has a way for you to Test drive their solutions.

What’s next moving ahead?

There is much uncertainty ahead as businesses consider migration in their datacenters and which vendor they want to use for their virtualization architecture and technology deployment initiatives. Virtualization is a commodity anymore and running your application in a virtual machine should be simple and easy, no matter which vendor you choose. However, it comes down to the differences in support, innovations, agility, and benefits of the solution overall.

Wrapping up

Nutanix vs VMware in 2024 is an extremely interesting topic, especially as organizations continue to look at their options moving forward. While VMware is well known and provides arguably the leading solution in terms of features, familiarity, capabilities, and in other areas, the major changes Broadcom has implemented and the price increases have turned many off of VMware. Nutanix, with its well-known enterprise familiarity is one of the leading contenders for a VMware alternative, outside of open-source alternatives like XCP-ng, Proxmox, and others. Ultimately, the choice comes down to many factors, including cost efficiency, advanced features, and the ability to meet the complex infrastructure needs of businesses today, including it operations, HCI architecture, running traditional VMs, edge computing, and other considerations, on top of licensing costs.

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Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee is the Senior Writer, Engineer and owner at Virtualizationhowto.com and has over two decades of experience in Information Technology. Having worked for numerous Fortune 500 companies as well as in various industries, Brandon has extensive experience in various IT segments and is a strong advocate for open source technologies. Brandon holds many industry certifications, loves the outdoors and spending time with family.

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2 Comments

    1. Mike,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes great point on that limitation. I think they are going to pivot quickly to satisfy the needs of customers they know will be moving from VMware. Some of this core functionality will need to be considered from their standpoint. Hopefully, we will see something soon.

      Brandon

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