HPE comparisons to Nutanix: my response

bby2                   Picture of a customer’s datacenter with 600+ Nutanix nodes


While Nutanix just reported a very impressive year-over-year sales growth of 84%, its $449M in annual revenues are still less than 1% of HPE’s number. So I take it as a point of pride that HPE spends so much effort tweeting and blogging about Nutanix. CEO Meg Whitman even referenced Nutanix when she announced the company’s second try at hyperconvergence earlier this year. HPE provides a 186 slide deck, Competing against Nutanix, to its reps and channel partners.

“Later this month, we will announce a new market-changing hyperconverged offering…all at 20 percent lower cost than Nutanix.”

  – Meg Whitman, CEO HPE  – March, 2016

For an organization of HPE’s size to lavish all of this attention on the vastly smaller Nutanix is quite remarkable. Besides its $50B in annual sales, HPE has 240,000 employees and 145,000 distributors, resellers and alliance partners around the world. Yet it clearly sees Nutanix as not only a threat, but as the industry standard against which it measures itself.

There are some interesting parallels last decade in the way Blockbuster regarded Netflix. While initially insisting that Netflix represented only a “niche business,” Blockbuster eventually came out with its own lower-priced services targeting the upstart, but it never really comprehended the laser beam focus and user simplicity that Netflix brought to revolutionizing the home entertainment industry.

“I’m frankly confused by this fascination everyone has with Netflix…Netflix doesn’t really have or do anything that we can’t or don’t already do ourselves.”

Blockbuster CEO, Jim Keyes – 2008

HPE similarly doesn’t truly grasp how Nutanix has evolved the concept of hyperconvergence to today’s Enterprise Cloud. HPE’s ads, when not specifically targeting Nutanix, emphasize circa 2011 hyperconvergence advantages over “legacy” such as: “no need for specialists,” “lower cost for disaster recovery,” “linear scalability”, and so on.


HPE vs. Nutanix

As a channel partner, I didn’t think twice about comparing different manufacturers – as my posts from several years ago comparing HP Blade System Matrix with Cisco UCS show. Now that I work for a manufacturer, I am far more cautious about direct comparisons with other vendors as whatever I write is bound to smack of bias if not worse.

But given HPE’s continuously repeated #HPEDare2Compare claims that HC 380 is lower-priced than Nutanix, I feel justified in responding. As far as the cost comparison itself goes, I am not going to bother diving into a Total Cost of Ownership analysis – in part because HPE is completely non-forthcoming with any pricing information. More importantly, costs are only relevant if the products are at least somewhat equivalent – a premise I hope to quickly dispel.


Nutanix hyperconvergence combines consumer-grade design with web-scale engineering to make infrastructure invisible. The Nutanix enterprise cloud platform delivers the agility and economics of the public cloud – without sacrificing the security and control of on-premises infrastructure. Nutanix’s mission is to help IT teams focus on the applications and services that power the business.

HPE, on the other hand, built its hyperconverged offering upon an acquisition of LeftHand Networks. While HPE converges compute and storage, nothing in the system is VM-centric, and HPE maintains some of the underlying issues with traditional storage arrays. Hyperconvergence is an item in HPE’s long line card of products.


HPE Hyperconverged vs. HPE Legacy

Ironically, almost all of HPE’s business today is what it calls “legacy”.  If its hyperconverged offering truly is robust and resilient enough to replace legacy infrastructure (as HPE claims in its ads), then the company is absolutely being disingenuous by still selling old 3-tier architecture (3PAR or HC700) to its customers.

I suspect, however, that HPE will readily admit that its hyperconverged solutions are in no way robust enough to replace enterprise 3PAR environments. Nutanix, on the other hand, can not only replace them – but can provide improved performance, far more scalability, superior resiliency and much simpler management – and all at a significantly lower cost than the legacy solution.

TCO Analysis Offer

If you’d like a customized TCO analysis comparing HC380/CI250 vs. Nutanix vs. DL380+3PAR, please let your Nutanix rep know or contact me directly (kap@nutanix.com). My team will provide you with a very transparent analysis using your actual products and environmental costs in order for you to make the best decision for your organization.

See Also

Nutanix Pivots from Hyperconvergence to Platform. 08/30/2016. Prickett Morgan. TheNextPlatform.

HPE Hyper Converged 380 Business Value Analysis. May 2016. Porter Consulting. PDF.

HPE Converged Infrastructure Business Value Calculator. 2016. Alinean.

The Single Biggest Benefit of Nutanix Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (It’s Not What You Think). 12/10/2015. Steve Kaplan. Nutanix.com

7 Reasons Why AHV is The Next Generation Hypervisor. 12/01/2015. Steve Kaplan. Nutanix.com.

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4 Responses to HPE comparisons to Nutanix: my response

  1. AlbinoOnyx says:

    Might want to take the blinders off, at least a little.

    “No Storage only nodes” on the HPE side even though you obviously know this is based on LeftHand, now StoreVirtual.
    Storage Only nodes is where this platform started and it takes all of 15 minutes to add traditional StoreVirtual “Storage Only Nodes” to any iSCSI capable VMware Cluster (as an example, Windows and other platforms as well)

    You might have made some other good points, but I stopped reading when it became obvious this was going to be another Marketing Comparison where every feature you have is Green and every feature the other guy has is yellow/red.

    PS: How does your data locality work with those Storage Only Nodes? Oh thats right, it doesn’t. That data is all remote just like everyone else.

    • Fernando says:

      Re: Storage Only Nodes: He means the ability to add to the SAME cluster nodes that ONLY provide storage. I may be wrong, but it seems you’re referring to the possibility of building a separate StoreVirtual “storage only” cluster and present iSCSI LUN’s to the Hypervisor. If that is the case, it’s not even remotely similar in any way to Nutanix’s storage only nodes.

      Re: Data Locality and Storage Only Nodes. You’re still thinking like this was a legacy storage system, where you have LUNs or volumes and you manually place data there. This doesn’t work like that. Nutanix has something called ILM and Auto-tiering. Cold data will over time be placed on the storage only nodes, and when requested, the ILM and auto-tiering will place it once again in the local disks to where the VM’s are running. So yeah, even with storage only nodes you still get data locality *when it matters*.

  2. vikrant says:

    Thanks ,Great article. The way you explain each and everything is really great .You show the difference between in HPE and Nutanix .It is really helpful. Now I completely understand the difference between in HPE and Nutanix .Thanks for sharing

    I will definitely share the TCO analysis with you .

  3. Dan Libonati says:

    Steve… I really can’t leave my entire response in this comment section, so I have placed my response / comments on my blog at http://danlibonati.blogspot.com/2016/11/why-cant-they-get-it-straight.html
    Please take a look. I believe you will find it enlighten.
    best regards,

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