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Introduction to hyperconverged infrastructure

The benefits of Nutanix hyperconvergence

Author:
Category: Mobile Networks


07.02.2022

Nutanix, from scratch

For an IT company, Nutanix is a relatively young organization. It was founded in 2009 by Google, Facebook, and VMware employees. It is currently the fastest-growing IT company. This is largely due to the fact that it offers a comprehensive hyperconvergence solution. The other thing that speaks in Nutanix’s favor is that it has been virtually at the top of Gartner’s or Forrester’s list when it comes to any kind of visionary or leadership ranking.

The company bet on hyperconvergence from the very beginning and was a pioneer when this solution was introduced. Continuous development and improvement of tools made Nutanix the leader in the hyperconvergence field today. Whenever we hear the name Nutanix, most people in the IT industry think of hyperconvergence.

Long, long time ago before Nutanix

This is how you could say, having this tool already in hand. However, many companies still underestimate hyperconvergence and keep operating according to old habits.

Their systems are silo-structured, meaning that groups of machines, now virtual, support specific tasks, specific silos within the company. However, when it comes to the cloud, for instance, these silos do not quite integrate with each other anymore.

In practice, it appears that system administrators have to spend most of their time making sure these systems can talk to each other, as well as preventing failures, which involves switching between different interfaces.

Different systems administrators use every day

Take this example:

An average company of 100-200 people, several virtual machines and storage, defined backup policies, DRS, cloud – generally everything that today’s companies have.

And the basic question – how many interfaces have we got to operate?

How many points to worry about?

Roughly speaking, an administrator will have around 10 interfaces to use to keep the system running.

In a nutshell, it all takes a very long time. It is extremely convenient to be able to manage all elements of the system from one place.

From experience, we know that many companies are not yet convinced, they doubt whether a hyperconverged solution will really make their work easier.

However, the underlying data is unambiguous. The following table from the IDC report clearly shows that it takes much less time just to install and manage infrastructure, manage security policies, etc. The unit used in the table is FTE (Full Time Equivalent).

Nutanix savings on staff and operations

What exactly is hyperconvergence?

In very simple and general terms, Nutanix is a solution that combines all resources into one big resource, i.e. storage, servers, virtualization, cloud. Everything is shared, everything works in tandem and we can monitor everything.

The whole concept of hyperconvergence is software-based, however many confuse hyperconvergence with virtualization.

Hyperconvergence is the layer that lies on top of virtualization. For Nutanix, it doesn’t matter whether the virtualization is from VMware, Microsoft, or another virtualization tool. Hyperconvergence from Nutanix allows managing all these solutions together, irrespective of where they come from.

Nutanix hyperconvergence layer

How does this look in practice?

Nutanix’s entire hyperconverged system is based on a so-called cluster.

It is made up of a minimum of three servers, with a small exception for remote locations. These servers perform all functions, share resources with each other, take care of data duplication, security and also support cloud-related technologies.

The benefits of Nutanix hyperconvergence

There are many. Perhaps, we should start with the ease of use of this system. It takes just one click to migrate or update. We can very easily migrate the virtual machines we have to the free Nutanix agent.

The agent is yet another advantage itself.

Nutanix has concluded that it is about time to stop paying for the mere fact of having virtualised machines.

That’s why it offers its own free virtualization agent, AHV. The advantage is that it does not limit the number of virtual machines. This depends on the needs of the organization.

When it comes to costs and cutting them down, Nutanix has another interesting feature. It allows analyzing the cost performance of the various cloud solutions at hand. Nutanix is able to decide for itself where it pays to keep less critical backups if you decide to keep such backups in the cloud.

In terms of hardware, it is worth saying that Nutanix can be bought as a boxed product, as a physical server, but it can also be installed on any server from any manufacturer. Of course, it has requirements for processor quality or memory type. However, the benefit is that you are not bound to one vendor, one equipment supplier. For Nutanix, there is no problem having the same cluster running on servers from different manufacturers.

Hypervisors in Nutanix convergence – to mix or not to mix?

A question that our customers repeatedly ask:

Can we mix Hypervisors in such a way, that where we can afford it, we move to AHV, and where we have systems that require a Hypervisor underneath e.g. VMware, we leave it as is? Can we build an environment partly based on AHV and partly on VMware?”

Answer:

“Yes, absolutely.”

This is one of the most common Nutanix deployment models. Customers have their own solutions and have concerns about immediate migration to AHV. We know from experience that it takes them a few months to realize that AHV is simply more convenient, and they gradually migrate all machines to the Nutanix agent.

Hyperconvergence performance

If we deploy the elements of our network in a hyper-converged environment, we eliminate the issue related to the amount of so-called networking – very generally speaking.

We have far fewer switches, we have faster access to data elements, and this is because we skip a few nodes where the data travels from point A to point B.

This can be very easily measured and checked. Nutanix offers plenty of clever solutions. One of these is a feature called data locality. Its job is to ensure that data does not move around the network unnecessarily. It tries to keep them where they are used most often.

In practice, it works like this: if the active VM is on server A, the data is hosted near that location.

Mentioning performance, we must also mention upgrades. In Nutanix, each additional server in the cluster makes the system performance increase linearly and this is something that mostly comes out during testing. This is one of the critical advantages when it comes to performance.

Nutanix supports companies scaling their infrastructure

Another point on the performance issue is that we have one interface for everything, and we also have predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. This is important as the company grows.

Our customers often ask us for help, due to a sudden shortage of computing power, space or other resources. In the case of Nutanix, no such situation can surprise us, because we use forecasting and alerting, which work well in advance.

It has a kind of intelligent interface that, based on how things behaved in the past, predicts when at what time, and what resource we will need extra.

This allows maintaining continuity of processes in the organization, but importantly, it also allows anticipating the expenses we will have to incur in the future.

When referring to maintaining the continuity of a factory, it must be mentioned that, in Nutanix, we can migrate, install, update, add more nodes without interrupting the continuity of the production or any process within the organization. This is a very important issue and the hyperconvergence solution should be implemented in production facilities, precisely to ensure continuous operation.

Quality of Nutanix service, confirmed by Net Promoter Score

Virtually every vendor states in their written materials that their service is the best. However, is that really the case?

A practical expression of quality and customer satisfaction is the NPS (Net Promoter Score) value, developed by Bain & Company, Inc. The NPS method

is based on an evaluation of satisfaction with a service or product on a simple scale from minus 100 (customers very dissatisfied) to 100 (very satisfied).

Nutanix currently has an NPS score of 92 on this scale. This is a very high level of customer support and satisfaction. By comparison, the biggest competitor, VMware, scored 45 and Dell: 33.

Nutanix NPS

Such a score is due, among other things, to the fact that Nutanix has a different policy for closing service tickets. What is important for us – the service is also available in Polish.

How much does Nutanix’s hyperconvergence cost?

The answer to this question might be a circulating joke about a VMware sales rep, who comes to a customer and, if he sees a mug with the Nutanix logo on his desk, he automatically drops the price of his deal by USD 1 million.

The difference in price, license cost, especially for VMware customers, is dramatic. In fact, the license cost can be calculated very easily, but we have the tools for that, and we can very easily show how quickly the investment in Nutanix will pay off.

Also worth mentioning is the scalability of corporate procurement.

Adding just one node allows us to talk, negotiate with vendors and plan resources in the company in a more convenient way. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, which we have already mentioned, take care of the costs and the very fact that the system knows where it is cheaper in the case of, for example, cloud solutions. This results in tangible savings.

When it comes to costs, we must also take into account those that result from interruptions in production. By applying a hyperconvergence solution, we can prevent failures. This is a fact, which is also confirmed by the data in the IDC report.

Unplanned downtime Nutanix

Typically, Nutanix investments pay for themselves very quickly, within 9 months. However, after about five years, we have a return on investment of almost 500 percent.

How much Nutanix costs

How to test Nutanix?

There are several ways to do this.

  1. Test-drive on the platform. Everything will run in the cloud, without the need to install anything. Just you and Nutanix for 30 days.
  2. Community Edition – free, but without manufacturer support. It allows independent checking, testing of the solution on your own server.
  3. A dedicated Live Demo test environment is provided for sophisticated engineers.
  4. Starting with PoC. We will help you configure your solution and advise you on the purchase/replacement of equipment.

While the first two ways allow Nutanix to be tested on a smaller scale and in a low-complexity architecture, the last two are a treat for savvy engineers, who want to explore the possibilities of hyperconvergence in more depth. If you are interested in a Live Demo or PoC, please contact the sales department.

Author

Grandmetric

Grandmetric is an IT Next Generation Systems integration company helping clients with their IT transformation, infrastructure automation, LAN, WiFi, SD-WAN & SDN delivery. Fast growing Grandmetric team is becoming also a referal point in Cloud migrations and DC Stack management with their Storage, OS and virtualization experience. Grandmetric provides technical insights along with technical trainings in areas of expertise. Latest projects cover also IoT subjects R&D in the area of IoT backend development, big data analysis and monitoring. Based on above experience in production systems maintenance, new division – Grandmetric Managed Services (GMS) maintaining IT infrastructure of corporates & globally present customers is available for demanding IT environments.

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