SimpliVity versus Nutanix – Which one should you use?

What is Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)? 

Understanding The Differences - Simplivity Vs. Nutanix - Broken Down

SimpliVity and Nutanix are vendors that offer Hyperconverged (HCI) solutions.  HCI consolidates the traditional memory, compute, networking, storage, backup, and disaster recovery into a single node with integrated management tools.  For fault tolerance, at least two copies of the hyperconverged storage reside on separate nodes.  Direct attached storage on each node uses data virtualization to create a "virtual" SAN.  Most HCI systems run on x86 systems.

We view hyperconvergence as a paradigm shift in the way companies build out their IT infrastructure and data centers.  Just like other paradigm shifts, there are too many benefits and very few disadvantages with this technology.   Listed below are some of the major hyperconverged vendors including Simplivity vs. Nutanix, and several others: 

  1. HPE SimpliVity.  Once and forever, global data deduplication.  Backup and restore any VM regardless of size in seconds.  Runs on HPE Hardware.

  2. Nutanix.  Runs the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) or VMWare's vSphere ESXi Hypervisor.
    Nutanix Cluster

  3. Scale Computing.  Uses the HC3 Hypervisor as an alternative to VMware's vSphere ESXi Hypervisor.  Great integration of the Hypervisor and HCI environments.

    Scale Computing

  4. Pivot3.  Automated policy-based management that automates mixed application workloads

  5. VMware VSAN and EVO:Rail.  Data virtualization platform that supports different hardware vendors.  Direct attached storage is used to create a Virtual SAN.  This software defined vSAN allows you to customize your vSAN hardware configuration, while EVO:Rail comes with pre-configured hardware.  Although VMWare vSAN requires a specific hardware configuration, it's the closest HCI purely softwaredefined storage SAN.
More about Simplivity Hyperconverged 


HCI is an enterprise data and infrastructure solution.  We see HCI solutions replacing most traditional SAN installations during an IT refresh cycle.  We use an HCI infrastructure to power our compute, backup, and cloud storage requirements at ADS Cloud.  HCI systems are the foundation for a Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud infrastructure.  Here are some benefits of HCI:

Cost Savings 

The biggest advantage of hyperconvergence is cost savings.  Hyperconvergence eliminates the requirement of a dedicated Storage Area Network (SAN), storage administrator, and reduces management costs across the entire HCI stack.  HCI is not inexpensive, but it eliminates a significant amount of hardware.  Expect to save 20% to 30% on the initial cost of an HCI versus a non-HCI solution.  Your total cost of ownership will go down over the HCI lifetime because the storage management and other HCI management functions are accessed with a single management interface.  Your systems administrator costs should go down, because HCI is easier to manage than a Non-HCI environment.


It's easy to scale compute, memory, and storage by adding additional nodes.  It's important to get the node configuration correct for your company, so you scale up your capacity in increments that are appropriate for your data center.

Simplified Management

Simple and easy to use interface to run workloads at the application level.   Because of the HCI single management interface, you'll save time managing your IT infrastructure. 


Efficiently manage workflows and make it easy to allocate the appropriate amount of resources for a given workload.  Identify potential resource issues proactively and address them before they become constraints.


Because of HCI, you're running fewer pieces of hardware.  You save on hardware, rack space, cooling costs, and power requirements.  Some organizations were able to consolidate from ten racks to three racks using an HCI solution.

Storage and protection 

Many HCI solutions offer duplication of files and simplify disaster recovery and failover.  At least two copies of your data are stored on different nodes to protect your data and provide fault tolerance.  If one node goes down, your servers stay up and running.

Data Locality

Most HCI systems will optimize for data locality.  VMs that run on a given host will have a local copy of their data on the same host.  This reduces the amount of bandwidth consumed on the network.  Having a VMs' files on the same host where the VM is running allows the VM to access storage at local bus speeds, not network speeds.  This improves the overall performance and reduces network congestion.

The Right Question to Ask

As we come down to choosing the better one of the hyper-convergence infrastructures for your IT management strategy – which features that are most important to your company?  The question isn't "Simplivity vs. Nutanix versus Scale vs. Pivot3, " as all provide a powerhouse solution,  and are potent contenders.   The right question to ask is:  "Which hyperconverged infrastructure solution is the best fit for my company, based on my IT infrastructure requirements?"  

Let's discuss the differences and similarities between the two most popular hyperconverged infrastructures out there SimpliVity and Nutanix. If you are considering a move to HCI, which one should you go for? Let's dive in. 


Nutanix is credited with coining the term "hyper-converged infrastructure," and today is the largest vendor. Founded in 2009, Nutanix refers to itself as a cloud computing company – providing software-based, highly scalable, cloud-enabled, federated hyperconverged infrastructure. Nutanix delivers both software and hardware services via an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with HCI appliances. 

Primary services by Nutanix include a hypervisor, security, software-defined networking, security, and an HCI management tool. The Nutanix Acropolis is a turnkey HCI system with Nutanix software, a hypervisor, server virtualization, storage management, and software-based storage, virtual networking, and cross-hypervisor application mobility.  You can run the Nutanix AHV hypervisor on Nutanix, Lenovo, Dell, Cisco, HPE or IBM hardware.  Nutanix also supports hypervisors from VMware(ESXi), Citrix (XenServer/Citrix Hypervisor), and Microsoft (Hyper-V).  Nutanix Acropolis is made up of three core components:

  1. Prism.  The Management Plane that provides unified management across the virtualization environment.  It optimizes the virtualization environment, provides infrastructure management and handles daily operations.
  2. Acropolis.  The foundation of the HCI platform.  Acropolis includes virtualization, storage, network virtualization, and cross hypervisor application mobility.
  3. Calm.  Virtualizes application management and decouples it from the underlying infrastructure.  Easily deploy application workloads in private or public clouds.

Important Features: 

  • Nutanix supports several hypervisors, not just VMware, and also offers its own AHV hypervisor. 
  • Can perform selective deduplication 
  • Enterprise-grade backups 
  • Flash storage and flexible block size 
  • In-built storage software providing user-friendly file recovery options 
  • Powerful compression giving up to a 4x increase in storage size 
  • When working with clones, snapshots, or failed drive rebuilds, the performance impact is almost zero.
  • Built-in cloud proficiency 
  • Non-disruptive, automatic upgrade of Nutanix OS, hypervisor and firmware 



High availability 

Replicates on remote and on-site physical nodes and supports a protection domain.  Virtual Machines (VMs) in a protection domain are backed up locally and replicated to one or more remote sites.

Simplified management 

Straightforward deployment, configuration, and training. Prism offers an intuitive interface to centrally manage several clusters from a single web portal. 


Nutanix doesn't use traditional RAID but uses a "Replication Factor" to store data blocks across multiple servers.  This Replication Factor improves I/O performance.  Deduplication and native optimization improves data storage, with linear performance increases with expanding clusters. 


Nutanix has maintained an excellent support reputation. 




Though Nutanix software licenses are cost-effective, it doesn't compete on low price. It's AHV hypervisor is free to use on its HCI systems.  Nutanix is typically higher priced than similarly configured competitors. 

Nutanix Storage

For a non-Nutanix ESXi node to access Nutanix storage, it must be a member of the same Nutanix cluster. 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise SimpliVity 

nterprise (HPE) acquired SimpliVity Hyperconverged Systems in 2017 due to its strong HCI portfolio. HPE SimpliVity focuses on hyper-convergence, availability, and scalability with competitive pricing.  SimpliVity supports VMWare(ESXi), Microsoft (Hyper-V) hypervisors and is compatible with the Citrix Rady HCI Workspace Appliance Program.  It does not have a native hypervisor.  SimpliVity offers global disk deduplication, high availability, native backup, storage management, and replication.

The OmniStack data management software by Hewlett Packard Enterprise provides an outstanding, highly efficient data protection system. The OmniCube hyper-converged infrastructure combines server compute, storage, network, and virtualization in a highly scalable building block with integrated global management via a vCenter Plugin.  The OmniCube's Data Virtualization Platform offers exceptional data efficiency.  A hardware accelerator card installed in each node deduplicates, optimizes and compresses data.  Before any data are written to SimpliVity storage, the hardware card searches to see that pattern already exists anywhere in the SimpliVity Storage Federation.  Usually, the pattern already exists and creates a pointer to that block rather than writing the same data pattern in a different location.  SimpliVity Guarantees 10:1 storage savings, but be aware backups stored on SimpliVity storage are used in this calculation.  Expect to get approximately 1.5:1 compression when you migrate your VMs from traditional SAN storage.  When taking into account backups stored on SimpliVity, the deduplication ratio can range from 20:1 to 80:1.  The global deduplication significantly enhances the data reduction capabilities of SimpliVity.

HPE SimpliVity has integrated protection – backup policies on the VM level determine the virtual machine copies, retention time, and storage destination. You create and assign a backup policy to a datastore.  Any VM that resides on the datastore inherits the same backup policy. SimpliVity claims you don't need any additional backups.  However, we feel that this is wrong.  In our opinion it's extremely important to get backups stored on secondary storage and ultimately off line and off site.  We use a 3rd party backup (Veeam) for all of our SimpliVity installations.   We recommend that you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.  3 copies of your data, on 2 different media with 1 copy offline and off-site.  Regardless of the HCI solution following the 3-2-1 backup rule should always be a part of any company's backup and recovery strategy. 

HPE SimpliVity hyper-converged has the 2600 and 380 models, which are available in different configurations.  SimpliVity RapidDR accelerates and automates off-site disaster recovery and integrates with Hewlett Packard Enterprise tools like Composable Fabric. 

Important features: 

  • Global once and forever disk deduplication.
  • Works with an HPE OmniStack PCIe accelerator card 
  • Supports a two-node cluster configuration.  The minimum number of Nutanix nodes is three. 
  • Guaranteed 10:1 storage gains.
  • Clone a VM in 15 seconds. 
  • Backup and restore a VM in 15 seconds regardless of its size.
  • As little as 15-minute replication intervals to your DR site.  Depending on the speed of your replication line, replication can complete in under six minutes.
  • Innate, end-to-end data protection that cuts bandwidth and adds virtual machine recovery points 
  • Integrated backup solution 
  • Inexpensive all flash-storage solution 
  • Access more virtual machines with less hardware 
  • Single point of support contact 



Data protection 

Backup and restore any VM regardless of size in under 15 seconds.  Replicate to a DR Site in under six minutes.

Management Ease

HCI management tasks are streamlined using centralized management. 


Linear capacity and performance enhancements with on-site and remote addition of nodes. 

Global Once and Forever Disk Deduplication

The OmniStack Accelerator significantly reduces Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS), by eliminating duplicate writes of identical disk patterns across the entire SimpliVity Storage Federation. 

HP tools integrated 

HPE tools like OneSphere and OneView integrate with SimpliVity. 


SimpliVity vs. Nutanix - Nodes: Storage is available to Non-SimpliVity Nodes

Non-SimpliVity Servers can access SimpliVity storage and take advantage of backup, deduplication, and replication.  Non-SimpliVity servers "see" the SimpliVity storage as a virtual Network File System (NFS) volume.  Non-SimpliVity Nodes do NOT have to be a member of the SimpliVity cluster to access SimpliVity storage.




HPE Hardware Only

You must use HPE hardware.  You must purchase a SimpliVity node in a specific configuration from HPE.  You cannot order a generic HPE DL380 server and turn it into a SimpliVity Node.

No native HCI hypervisor 

No native HCI hypervisor like Nutanix offers. Hewlett Packard Enterprise's partners Microsoft, VMware and Citrix. 

 Which solution is better for you?  It depends on the computing requirements of your company.  Ask: "What are you trying to do with your HCI infrastructure?" and the correct solution for you will be obvious. 

Get in touch with us at ADS Consulting Group, and we'll help narrow your decision through a specific checklist in a quick interview. Call us at (310) 541-8584 for a quick, no-strings chat!


Get updated on the latest Information Technology news, Cybersecurity, Information Technology Trends, and recent real-world troubleshooting experiences.