HPE SimpliVity or Nutanix – which one?
HPE SimpliVity or Nutanix

HPE SimpliVity or Nutanix – which one?

HPE SimpliVity or Nutanix

What will I choose? This is just a brief review of HPE SimpliVity and comparing it to Nutanix. With that in mind, we can add that HPE tried to break into the HCI market but with less success than Nutanix. But we see that the Nutanix sales teams are aggressive and make me think of the mafia EMC storage a few years ago 🙂

Let’s have a closer look at their three products in their HCI space. Actually, it is only one product now as their older stuff is end of life (as of Sept 2019).

  • HPE SimpliVity 380 – Flagship product
  • Hyper-Converged 250 System for VMware vSphere (end of life)
  • Hyper-Converged 250 System for Microsoft (end of life)

Effective 28 February 2018, the HPE Hyper Converged 250 System for VMware vSphere and the HPE Hyper Converged 380 products have entered the End of Life (EOL) period.

A little about the Hyper-Converged 250 System

While software-based Nutanix among other HCI solutions has been in the news, HP came into this crammed market with its low-cost HCI appliance, the HPE Hyper Converged 250. A good thing is that it was half the price of Nutanix but still lacking in things like SDN, backups, dependency on a hypervisor etc… The company then released HPE Hyper Converged 380, which is 20% cheaper than Nutanix and is geared toward small and medium businesses. The lack of HCI in the 250 or 380 forced HPE to buy SimpliVity and expand their solutions.

I am not going into the detail of the 250 system as it is hardware with dependent standalone software. I do not want to badmouth the 250’s as they were kind of cheap, easy to implement and manage, run on stable hardware and for a specific purpose. They were basically too dependent on 3rd party software. But enough of this as it is an end of life, anyway.

A little on SimpliVity

Ok, so HP had to do something and bought SimpliVity which is a good product. HPE SimpliVity 380 is their only optimized software platform that provides a single, shared resource pool across the entire IT stack with all the above features and additional connectivity to cloud services. It is also a platform that has 40:1 average data efficiency (this is what the salespeople claim and thanks to omnistack) that combines all IT and data-related features in a virtualization environment.

It is compact, full HCI, and low maintenance good performing solution. Backups replication and deduce is designed and works well.

Related image
HPE Simplivity 380 by HCIFIT.COM

An individual HPE SimpliVity node includes:

  • A compact hardware platform—A 2U industry-standard virtualized x86 platform containing compute, memory, performance-optimized SSDs and capacity-optimized HDDs protected in hardware RAID configurations, and 10GbE network interfaces.
  • A hypervisor such as VMware vSphere®/VMware® ESXi™.
  • HPE OmniStack Virtual Controller software running on the hypervisor.
  • An HPE OmniStack Accelerator Card—A special-purpose PCIe card with an FPGA, flash, and DRAM, protected with supercapacitors; the accelerator card offloads CPU-intensive functions such as data compression, deduplication, and optimization from the x86 processors

SimpliVity runs software called omnistack which does most of their magic for them and adds a lot of their software features that make SimpliVity a good product.

In a nutshell


While writing this article, I think of a lot of similarities between these two products, which is not mentioned in detail.

Nutanix most of the times try to push Hybrid instead of All-Flash and SimpliVity will go with all flash easier. If you look at underlying storage between vSAN and Nutanix, then caching is better on vSAN and there is less use on SSD’s using vSAN as it serve most from cache. So SimpliVity will win here just because of the VMware backing.

Nutanix Focuses on enterprise and added ROBO, edge, and hybrid cloud support recently. HPE SimpliVity defines itself by hyper-converged simplicity, availability, and scalability at a lower cost.

I have not dealt with all the claimed features in this article, but there are a lot of similarities between the two.

If you look at scale, then HPE Simplivity can only scale up to 16 nodes, which can be a problem. According to Nutanix, there is no limit to nodes in their clusters. If this is true, then Nutanix can scale a lot more. In scaling and storage consumption, I will choose Nutanix over Simplivity. If you need other servers than HPE, then Nutanix has a variety.

If you want easy integration and backups, then SimpliVity is easier and maybe more integrated. Nutanix recently started “Mine” and will support data backup and recovery software from Veeam, HYCU, Commvault, Veritas, and Unitrends, these still look like 3rd party backups on Nutanix. Both will work better than the other one in different scenarios. Simplivity is cheaper than Nutanix at the moment (Sept 2019). Customers wanting the VMware or Hyper-V hypervisors should choose SimpliVity whilst those wanting a free hypervisor should head in the Nutanix AHV direction. HPE’s hypervisor partners, Microsoft and VMware, both offer full-stack solutions of competing for server platforms and this makes it difficult for SimpliVity. This is only my opinion.

26 Sept 2019 – Cobus Smit

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