Nutanix vs VSAN vs EVO: RAIL

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
I am just trying to get an idea on how good the Nutanix product is and is it really worth the price. I haven't gotten any official pricing from Nutanix yet, but based on some Google searches I found some reviews from last year about their 3000 series costing $144k with four nodes and probably around 10 TB of usable storage. I know you are really paying for their software, but figuring the appliance is around $32k for hardware, that leaves $112k. And figuring about 10 TB of usable storage, you are looking at over $10k per TB of storage which is pretty damn high especially for a VSAN type setup.

Unless the pricing I am seeing is outdated and possibly retail price and not what a SMB would really pay. Is their product really that good to justify the additional cost? I know they talk about the small footprint, and the performance of local storage. But our NetApp over 10Gb iSCSI works well and saving some cab space and electricity is not going to save us much money. Our average cost for NetApp storage ranging from SATA, SAS, to multi-tiered is $1,500 - 4,500 per TB which is significantly cheaper. Again, unless my pricing above from Google searches is way off.

I haven't looked into the EVO RAIL that much, but VSAN has always been a consideration which should cost even less than NetApp per TB.

So how do you really compare all of them? What makes Nutanix so much better and worth the high cost?
 

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,673
I've been waiting to see pricing for the Dell/Nutanix offering, going to talk to Nutanix tomorrow to see if they have any new info or if we have to wait until it's actually released. I was never really comfortable going with their product when it was them going at it alone, but now that they've got a tier 1 vendor behind it, depending on pricing, I think we may be using it for a VDI rollout.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
32,617
Watch out for the data locality performance hit on Nutanix ;) Looked at any of the other alternatives, like Tintri or Nimble?
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
We are currently looking at Nimble too. Waiting to get pricing from them as well.
 

defuseme2k

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
1,074
Nutanix has an interesting solution, but the part I start to choke on is the fact you have to buy THEIR hardware. I don't know if they can continue to innovate at such a pace in software as compared to VSAN and other players that will continuing to pay high prices for the commodity hardware with a pretty bezel is worth it. Too many other neat players, and you should definitely kick the tires with PernixData and a slower back end array in all of this too... their stuff is wicked and ultimately, transparent to the data-at-rest. Not to be their sales guy, but it is nice that the back end array is irrelvant, so if I switch to some other vendor for storage later their solution moves with me very easily. Right now they're kicking ass and taking names.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
What are you looking to do?

For stuff like VDI Nutanix and the likes look amazing, but for "general use" I've recently done a refresh and looked at Nutanix and Simplivity but simply couldn't get beyond the pricing and the fact that they (as with any hyper-converged solution) assume that your environment scales linearly i.e. you need to add compute at the same rate that you do storage, and vice versa.

This means that if you just need that extra 500GB of capacity you need to buy a whole new brick/node/rail, which means you have to license not only their stack but also vSphere and potentially a new Windows DataCenter license.

I ended up going for a HDS HUS block array which isn't anything like as shiny and cool but it won't cost as much to expand and separates the compute (and licensing) from storage - and in our environment I'm way more likely to need more storage before I run out of compute.

Nimble seem expensive IMO as they rely on compression so you buy less storage than you normally would - great if you're 100% sure your data will compress, plus there's still the expansion model which is fully populated shelf only - may not be an issue but $$$ if all you need is a small amount of storage.
 

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,673
For stuff like VDI Nutanix and the likes look amazing, but for "general use" I've recently done a refresh and looked at Nutanix and Simplivity but simply couldn't get beyond the pricing and the fact that they (as with any hyper-converged solution) assume that your environment scales linearly i.e. you need to add compute at the same rate that you do storage, and vice versa.

This means that if you just need that extra 500GB of capacity you need to buy a whole new brick/node/rail, which means you have to license not only their stack but also vSphere and potentially a new Windows DataCenter license.

I talked to Nutanix on Friday about the new Dell offerings, which won't be as dense as their current Supermicro boxes. Since they won't be doing 4 nodes in 2U with Dell, but instead a node per 2U, there will be options to upgrade your storage in your existing nodes instead of having to add another node to increase storage.

Likewise, if you go with Dell hardware, you won't be able to cluster it with their Supermicro hardware, so you still are locked into a single vendor should another vendor start selling their software as well.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
That's quite interesting, we only looked at Nutanix very briefly and it was six months or so ago way before the Dell partnership.

Must admit I'm a little unsure what the point of Nutanix and the likes is now that EVO/VSAN is getting more traction - I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable dropping $150K or so on a cluster right now but it'll make for interesting viewing as it pans out :)
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
They seem to pitch the idea of simplicity and a smaller footprint that will lead to cost savings. Less rack space and electricity used and higher performance from local disks and SSD caching.

If the price is right, I would consider it, but I still haven't gotten a quote and I have a feeling the price is ridiculous. For us, saving on rack space isn't that big of a deal and I doubt the electricity savings is going to be enough to offset the price. As for performance, I can imagine it is pretty good, but we have no IOP constraints here. Our NetApp is new and has SSD caching as well and is setup on a 10Gb network. The performance is better than any ESXi server I have built with local storage including servers with 4-8 hard drives in RAID 10.

One reason I expect to see high prices is from looking on CDW's website. They sell Nutanix and have the pricing available. For 256 GB of memory for their 3000 Series server, it is $6k. That is insane. We build almost identical servers as Nutanix and that much memory shouldn't be more than $2,500. What bothers me most (still pending an official quote) is how much they tell you "There is nothing special about our hardware. Our secret sauce is in the software." OK, then why I are charging so much for hardware? I mean seriously, it is a SuperMicro chassis with a custom made bezel. Our company gets plenty of custom made hardware with our logo and it is not expensive. Especially not when buying in bulk. On top of which you still have to buy their software which comes in three flavors, and then a support contract.

Well, I guess I could be wrong and they come back with a nice reasonable quote that makes sense....
 

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,673
One reason I expect to see high prices is from looking on CDW's website. They sell Nutanix and have the pricing available. For 256 GB of memory for their 3000 Series server, it is $6k. That is insane. We build almost identical servers as Nutanix and that much memory shouldn't be more than $2,500. What bothers me most (still pending an official quote) is how much they tell you "There is nothing special about our hardware. Our secret sauce is in the software." OK, then why I are charging so much for hardware? I mean seriously, it is a SuperMicro chassis with a custom made bezel. Our company gets plenty of custom made hardware with our logo and it is not expensive. Especially not when buying in bulk. On top of which you still have to buy their software which comes in three flavors, and then a support contract.

Well, I guess I could be wrong and they come back with a nice reasonable quote that makes sense....

The reason the memory cost is so high is because you need 32GB dimms to get to 256GB. Because of the density, they only have 8 slots. This is why I'm waiting to get Dell pricing. They'll be using a R720 variant which should make loading it up with disk and memory much cheaper.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
Actually the price was for 16x16GB which is exactly what we use in our Supermicro servers. We were going to buy the 4 node TwinPro2, but they were not available yet when we needed new servers and we ended up building servers that are almost identical to the NX-7000 series. Which was just coincidental as I did not know about Nutanix at the time.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
Not really surprising. They might run on commodity hardware but I wouldn't think for a moment that you aren't going to have to buy their SKU if you want support etc. just as with any other enterprise storage product.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
It seems like Simplivity is just a single node server, no?

The VSAN question still remains. We are only a VMware shop and all the new servers we had built are ready for VSAN. All we would need to do is buy hard drives. Is there any reason to go with Nutanix or Simplivity over just buying the hard drives we need and setting up VSAN?
 
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
3,270
It seems like Simplivity is just a single node server, no?

The VSAN question still remains. We are only a VMware shop and all the new servers we had built are ready for VSAN. All we would need to do is buy hard drives. Is there any reason to go with Nutanix or Simplivity over just buying the hard drives we need and setting up VSAN?

Simplivity is a cluster of 2U servers (either their own hardware or Cisco UCS C240's). They have a shared VSAN across the nodes just like Nutanix using lots of read and write acceleration via DRAM and SSD.

Their backup and replication is where they really shine. Simple, one click, nearly instant restores even to remote datacenter locations. Backed up VM data is deduped before it even crosses the wire to the other site.

Biggest caveat is that a 2 node or smaller cluster must have an external vCenter server. Once you hit 3 nodes it can run as a VM in the Simplivity cluster.

Going with Simplivity or Nutanix would mean having compression and dedup available for your VMs, backups, and so forth beyond what VSAN provides. VSAN isn't free, either, and buying the right controllers, SSDs, and hard drives is also crucial.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
Nice thing with Simplivity is they use a FPGA accelerator card for the dedupe so it's inline not post and apparently handles it at line speed.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
Simplivity is a cluster of 2U servers (either their own hardware or Cisco UCS C240's). They have a shared VSAN across the nodes just like Nutanix using lots of read and write acceleration via DRAM and SSD.

Their backup and replication is where they really shine. Simple, one click, nearly instant restores even to remote datacenter locations. Backed up VM data is deduped before it even crosses the wire to the other site.

Biggest caveat is that a 2 node or smaller cluster must have an external vCenter server. Once you hit 3 nodes it can run as a VM in the Simplivity cluster.

Going with Simplivity or Nutanix would mean having compression and dedup available for your VMs, backups, and so forth beyond what VSAN provides. VSAN isn't free, either, and buying the right controllers, SSDs, and hard drives is also crucial.

Good points. The replication was something I was definitely interested in for Nutanix. I will probably check out Simplivity just to see what their pricing is.

As for VSAN, I made sure our servers were built with supported controllers and 10Gb networking. So it would really just be purchasing SSD's and hard drives. As for price, if my calculations are right, it is a little over $500 a month for around 10 TB on our VSPP. Not bad considering how much NetApp costs and the usable storage for Nutanix is even more expensive.

We also already have Veeam and will most likely be adding Zerto. Besides the lack of dedupe and some features, I don't really know how good VSAN is. Nutanix seems to be the pioneer of the technology and I have no doubt that they have a great product, but being able to compete with other SMB's and also make a profit is equally important.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
I checked out Simplivity, but don't really like the setup. They have some nice features, but their nodes are mostly storage. A single node doesn't really have enough compute power especially considering the amount of storage. Like say their 3000 series. 12 to 24 CPU cores and 20 to 40TB of usable storage capacity. Plus I am not so sure I like their data protection. It makes more sense to have a minimum of 3 nodes and the data spread across all of them. I would probably go with Nimble instead of Simplivity being that I would still mostly be using our ESXi hosts.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
I dont follow - you need 3 nodes minimum with Nutanix?

Yes, it is the same as VSAN. All your data is spread across three nodes. So if one node fails, you don't lose any data. With five nodes, you can have two redundant servers.

With Simplivity, if you have one node and it fails, everything goes down. With two nodes, it sounds like you can simply just mirror the data. On top of which with a single node also running ESXi, and you may have many other ESXi servers connected to the Simplivity node, if you need to take ESXi down running on the Simplivity node, or even a PSOD, then storage goes down too.
 

Modus

Weaksauce
Joined
May 8, 2010
Messages
84
list price for me on the kit they recommended was about $182k. That was list price but even with some discounts its still more costly than my "classic" SAN setup with fiber channel.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
32,617
list price for me on the kit they recommended was about $182k. That was list price but even with some discounts its still more costly than my "classic" SAN setup with fiber channel.

Give Tintrí a look too.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
list price for me on the kit they recommended was about $182k. That was list price but even with some discounts its still more costly than my "classic" SAN setup with fiber channel.

Geez. It has been two weeks and I still haven't gotten a quote.
 

evilmedic

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 17, 2005
Messages
197
We run quite a few nutanix boxes in our shop. Here are some thoughts on it.
- The efficiency of the cluster increases as node count increases. A 4 node 3k cluster probably gives you 5.6 TB of safely usable storage. ( excluding savings from dedup/compression). A 8 node would be a lot more efficient.
- Nutanix is 100% software defined and have rapid release cycles of their NOS. In the past year we have been thru 3.x , 3.5x and now 4.x. Lots of new features have been introduced.
- Nutanix isn't tied to VMware, hyper-v based VDI is viable on it with 4.0 and you can avoid the VMware tax.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
Wow, finally got some pricing from Nutanix. Prior to discount, the pricing for hardware was exactly what I found on the internet. How does one justify in taking a Supermicro server and marking it up 4.5 times? They even said, "there is nothing special about our hardware." OK, then why are you selling it at such a high premium? I could see paying a premium for their software and support, but not a server I can literally get directly from Supermicro.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
That's always been the gig with Nutanix and Hyperconverged though - you're not paying for magic hardware the value (if you see it to be worth it) is in the software.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
That is fine, but put the price tag on the software then. Don't mark up the non-special hardware to ridiculous prices.
 

Olga-SAN

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
302
vmware vsan gives you one throat to choke which is always a great thing

It seems like Simplivity is just a single node server, no?

The VSAN question still remains. We are only a VMware shop and all the new servers we had built are ready for VSAN. All we would need to do is buy hard drives. Is there any reason to go with Nutanix or Simplivity over just buying the hard drives we need and setting up VSAN?
 

Olga-SAN

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 14, 2011
Messages
302
maxta pricing kills ((

vmware vsan can be actually cheaper ))

also maxta is another storage running inside a virtual machine so not competitor to vsan

Maybe look at Maxta - haven't used it but looks "interesting".
 

snottz

n00b
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
21
1x Tintri T620 with 5 years of service ~75000,-$ including taxes
For less money I can build myself a SAN/NAS with the same capacitiy but with full SAS SSD equipped, e.g. http://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/CiB.cfm => Take enterprise SSDs instead of the HDDs, e.g. SanDisk Optimus Eco 2TB.
Why should I buy a black box NAS/SAN (HDD with some SSD) with some black box optimization software when I can get a full SSD box without the need of black box software...

Someone unboxed a Tintri T540 and as you can see on the pictures, the hardware was from Supermicro: http://www.vhipster.com/2014/03/26/tintri-lab-setup-part-1/
 
Last edited:

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
You aren't paying for the hardware on any current array. It's all commodity. Many startups, as you see, use SuperMicro. Why not? No reason to manufacturer their own. You're paying for the software and integration. You can't build anything that touches something like a Tintri from a usability perspective. It's not all about how many disks you can shove in a shelf.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
You aren't paying for the hardware on any current array. It's all commodity. Many startups, as you see, use SuperMicro. Why not? No reason to manufacturer their own. You're paying for the software and integration. You can't build anything that touches something like a Tintri from a usability perspective. It's not all about how many disks you can shove in a shelf.

I understand that, but when they provide pricing for hardware and software it is hard to justify the cost of the hardware when you know approximately how much it costs to build. If they feel their software is worth that much, then why not charge $100k for the software? I know it is just moving the numbers around, but now I am also curious if it is less expensive to buy the Dell XC with Nutanix or if that also has a premium price tag.

I think the other issue may be discounting. Some of the big storage vendors discount 50-60% for small businesses. I don't know if that is the norm for all businesses including large enterprises. If I was a large enterprise paying nearly list price on EMC and then looking at Nutanix, then it may make more sense. But then again I have no idea how the price model works. I just know that it doesn't make sense with what we currently pay for enterprise storage and for what our needs are.
 

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
12,673
I understand that, but when they provide pricing for hardware and software it is hard to justify the cost of the hardware when you know approximately how much it costs to build. If they feel their software is worth that much, then why not charge $100k for the software? I know it is just moving the numbers around, but now I am also curious if it is less expensive to buy the Dell XC with Nutanix or if that also has a premium price tag.

They can't just sell you the software if they're selling you a complete solution. Even if they are using commodity hardware, they still need to validate their software on that hardware. It's like asking why you can't just buy OSX to run on whatever hardware you want and then expecting Apple to support it all.

From what I've been told, the Dell Nutanix boxes will be price comparable to their own in house offerings. That said, I'm still waiting on a quote, supposedly pricing came out last week but nothing so far from my VAR.
 

hutchingsp

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 24, 2006
Messages
150
I must admit I don't really get the point - you're buying a solution just as when you buy an array from HDS/Netapp/Pure/EMC or whoever you don't generally query how the cost is split between the hardware and the OS.

I get that software defined means you can split the tin from the software (and that's the whole point) but until the likes of Nutanix want to play in that space I think you just have to forget it's SuperMicro and if you like the solution you swallow the pill.
 

NetJunkie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 16, 2001
Messages
9,682
Dell/Nutanix won't be any cheaper. The idea there is if you're a Dell shop and like their support and your relationship with them you can just go that way. Same with Cisco/Simplivity now. Like UCS? Now you can get Simplivity from them on C-Series without throwing another hardware support vendor in the mix.

You'll see some difference in price with EVO:Rail but I don't think it'll be much. Everyone will pay VMware the same for the software stack. The difference will come from the margin and features in the hardware stack...plus any other add-on features that the manufacturer throws in.
 

lopoetve

Fully [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
32,617
1x Tintri T620 with 5 years of service ~75000,-$ including taxes
For less money I can build myself a SAN/NAS with the same capacitiy but with full SAS SSD equipped, e.g. http://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/CiB.cfm => Take enterprise SSDs instead of the HDDs, e.g. SanDisk Optimus Eco 2TB.
Why should I buy a black box NAS/SAN (HDD with some SSD) with some black box optimization software when I can get a full SSD box without the need of black box software...

Someone unboxed a Tintri T540 and as you can see on the pictures, the hardware was from Supermicro: http://www.vhipster.com/2014/03/26/tintri-lab-setup-part-1/

The hardware isn't from supermicro anymore - it's a custom chassis by ACS.

You're also paying for the software - if you think a Tintri is just ZFS or WAFL or EXT4 with NFS on the front end, you're missing the entire point of the array and what it does, as well as missing what it means to have real support for a product in an enterprise environment. No real company buys white-box arrays simply because you ~need~ support - guaranteed hardware support, software support, cross-vendor cooperation, etc.
 

Vader

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 22, 2002
Messages
5,029
Same with Cisco/Simplivity now. Like UCS? Now you can get Simplivity from them on C-Series without throwing another hardware support vendor in the mix.

The way I understand this is that you can only purchase from a Cisco AND SimpliVity Partner where SimpliVity will handle support.

With the Dell/Nutanix relationship, it's reverse, you can buy directly from a Dell Partner and Dell will handle support. There isn't a requirement to be a Nutanix Partner, all enablement will come via Dell through Nutanix.

At least, this is how I understand it, a bit different in the support model.
 

KapsZ28

2[H]4U
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
2,114
I must admit I don't really get the point - you're buying a solution just as when you buy an array from HDS/Netapp/Pure/EMC or whoever you don't generally query how the cost is split between the hardware and the OS.

I get that software defined means you can split the tin from the software (and that's the whole point) but until the likes of Nutanix want to play in that space I think you just have to forget it's SuperMicro and if you like the solution you swallow the pill.

There is definitely a difference between software and hardware especially when you are calculating your net profit. Just like most vendors, the more storage you get, the lower the cost is. We mostly look at the cost per terabyte and adjust depending on the type of storage, (Tier 1, Tier 2, etc.) With say NetApp you have to buy the controllers which is essentially the software piece, although they do sell many separate licenses. After that, you are just purchasing shelves of storage. Nimble is a little easier to figure out since you buy a specific model controller and all their software is included in the price. As you add expansion disk shelves the cost per terabyte decreases. And on top of which their 4 and 5 year support is the same price as their first 3 year support unlike NetApp that increases the price for years 4 and 5.

With Nutanix I would look to buy the 4 node chassis. There I am also buying the compute which we normally buy separately and I already know what it costs upfront and to maintain. I am also getting the storage with Nutanix which is where I start looking at the cost of the actual storage I am getting verse the storage I need and how much we charge customers for that storage. Then on top of which they also charge for different software editions. In the end it is very expensive even though it is an all inclusive solution rather than buying compute, storage, and software separately.

If I had a need for something with all those features and performance and had customers willing to pay an additional premium, I would have no problem using their product. Right now for us it seems VSAN is the most cost effective, but then again we still have plenty of NetApp storage at the moment.
 
Top