Nutanix AHV Adopters Tell Their Migration Tales

Nutanix users who have switched from VMware to AHV cite price and Broadcom concerns.

Dave Raffo, MSP News Editor

May 22, 2024

4 Min Read
Nutanix AHV tales from customers

NUTANIX NEXT — Although Nutanix executives often say they realize getting customers to move off VMware and onto Nutanix AHV will take time, its Next conference is filled with customers who have already switched. (Channel Futures is in Barcelona this week for the annual event.)

Next keynotes and breakout sessions often include people who have migrated from VMware’s virtualization platform to Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and AHV hypervisor. AHV is built-into the Nutanix Cloud Platform. Not all of them attributed the move to Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, either.

Gregg Lowe, CIO of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, said his team is in the final stages of migrating more than 5,100 virtual machines from VMware to Nutanix AHV.

Lowe said he planned the migration before Broadcom acquired VMware. Boyd was running Nutanix HCI with VMware hypervisors, and Lowe said he wanted to avoid redundancy and save money.

Boyd Gaming's Gregg Lowe

“We signed a three-year license with VMware. And within six months into that, we started to realize we were double paying for the virtualization component,” he said.  “It didn't make sense. So we did a bake-off between the two companies and said, ‘May the best company win.’”

He said the bake-off determined AHV was better for Boyd’s needs in providing IT for a collection of casinos and hotels. Although VMware’s virtualization generally is considered more mature and has much greater adoption than Nutanix, Lowe said Nutanix gives Boyd “everything we need. And it becomes easier because it's all one platform.”

Related:CEO Hock Tan Addresses Broadcom-VMware Questions ‘Head On’

Rady Children’s Hospital Goes Heavy on Nutanix AHV

Scott Voigts, CTO of Rady Children’s Hospital in Southern California, said he runs Nutanix Cloud Platform on Super Micro servers across 255 nodes. He migrated off a traditional three-tier architecture consisting of Dell compute, NetApp storage and Cisco networking.

He said his server virtualization is about 80% AHV, 15% VMware and the rest on other hypervisors. Voigts said some workloads are certified to run on VMware for regulatory requirements, but the hospital is not adding any VMware.

“We still have VMware, but our VMware environment hasn’t grown for years; it’s been stagnant as we’ve migrated away from that and toward Nutanix,” he said.

Rady Children's Hospital's Scott Voigts

Voigts said the Broadcom acquisition worries him because of pricing concerns, and because it has kept products from previous acquisitions separated. Broadcom acquired Symantec, CA and Brocade over several years before picking up VMware.

Voigts said when talking to industry peers, “There's a lot of uncertainty around what's going on with the Broadcom acquisition. We've seen people getting significant cost increases. I think the other part that drives the uncertainty is Broadcom segregating its different solutions to different groups within the company. So it doesn't seem like there's this cohesive group; you've got to talk to four different people [for different products].”

Related:Nutanix Takes Aim at VMware, Gen AI at Next Conference

Michael Parks, EVP of foundational hosting platform for Wells Fargo, said his team saw a 1,000% improvement in read/write IOPS after moving from a legacy system and HCI “from a very large competitor of Nutanix.” He said he used Nutanix immutable snapshots to recover a 40 TB database in 8 minutes while testing Nutanix, where his previous system failed to recover the data in 60 hours.

On stage with Nutanix CEO Rajiv Ramaswami during the Tuesday keynote, Parks told the CEO, “A very large competitor of yours presents a little bit of risk for us in our business for a couple of reasons. One of those is commercial in nature. But more importantly, when I look at our portfolio, I need to always have levers. In this day and age, you never know what’s happening from a cyber threat perspective that could impact your firm. You never quite understand what’s going to happen geopolitically that could impact you, as supply chains get impacted. We’ve got to have options in our business.”

Paul Booth, head of hybrid cloud services, for the U.K.’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), said he likes that AHV is built on KVM open-source technology.

“That gives us a level of comfort, first that it can plug into our existing platform really well. Second, it means we’re not locked in,” he said. “Now, that doesn't mean we're with Nutanix the next 20 years, but it's the forward-thinking that we must have. That open-source, open-platform thinking is critical.”

Booth said DWP has built a relationship of trust with Nutanix.

“Some vendors take the used-car salesman approach to things. They just come to us and try to sell us stuff,” he said. “What Nutanix has done exceptionally well is built a relationship with DWP, understood our challenges and problems, and then gave us solutions.”

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About the Author(s)

Dave Raffo

MSP News Editor, Channel Futures

Dave Raffo has written about IT for more than two decades, focusing mainly on data storage, data center infrastructure and public cloud. He was a news editor and editorial director at TechTarget’s storage group for 13 years, news editor for storage-centric Byte and Switch, and a research analyst for Evaluator Group. In addition to covering news and writing in-depth features and columns, Dave has moderated panels at tech conferences. While at TechTarget, Raffo Dave won several American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) awards for writing and editing, including for column writing.

Raffo covers the managed services industry for Channel Futures. His reporting beat includes the MSPs, key vendors and tech suppliers with managed services programs, platform providers, distributors and all key players in this sector of the market. Dave also works closely on the Channel Futures MSP 501 and our live events.

Raffo has also worked for United Press International, EdTech magazine, Windows Magazine and Data Center Intelligence Group (DCIG) in reporting, editing and research analyst roles.

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