Nutanix: AHV Virtualization Review

Nutanix AHV Virtualization delivers enterprise-grade secure virtualization capabilities, such as core virtual machine (VM) operations, VM high availability, live migration, and virtual network management.

Nutanix natively converges compute and storage into a single appliance that can be deployed in minutes to run an application out of the box and integrated features of the infrastructure stack rather than stand-alone products that require separate deployment and management.

Nutanix AHV Virtualization has a large ecosystem of technology partners and validated software solutions that enhance user solutions and features. AHV is the native Nutanix hypervisor that offers substantial benefits to IT administrators by simplifying the infrastructure life cycle steps, from buying and deploying to managing, scaling, and supporting. In addition, AHV delivers a virtualization solution based on proven open-source Linux virtualization, which is without the cost and complexity of other solutions.

See below to learn all about Nutanix AHV Virtualization and where it stands in the virtualization sector:

Nutanix and virtualization market

The virtualization market value was $62.7 billion in 2020.

The market is expected to reach $120.41 billion by 2026, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% from 2021 to 2026.

Nutanix AHV features

Nutanix AHV Virtualization is a feature-rich virtualization software product designed for enterprises, IT professionals, and developers. The AHV platform can be managed from a single pane of glass with Nutanix Prism that provides integrated capabilities for cluster management and VM management. 

Backup APIs

Nutanix AHV Virtualization publishes a rich API set that supports external backup vendors. The backup APIs use changed region tracking and build an integration to perform full, incremental, and differential backups. Changed region tracking is always on in AHV clusters, and backups can be either crash consistent or application consistent.

Moreover, the backup APIs are an instant-recovery feature that enables supported backup vendors to instantly recover a VM or vDisk, typically on their backup appliance, and allow immediate access to its contents.

Analytics

Administrators can use Prism views to monitor infrastructure stack components, and Nutanix Prism offers in-depth analytics for every element in the infrastructure stack, including hardware, storage, and VMs.

Nutanix also features multiple charts with CPU- and storage-based reports around resource usage and performance and virtual disks with in-depth data points that focus on I/O types, I/O metrics, read the source, cache hits, working set size, and latency. In addition, it offers a VM NICs configuration summary for a VM as well as a list of all snapshots for a VM, with the ability to clone or restore from the snapshot or to delete the snapshot.

VM management

Nutanix AHV Virtualization focuses on creating, updating, deleting, protecting the data, and monitoring VMs and resources. The cluster services and features are all available through the Prism interface, a distributed management layer.

AHV also allows administrators to create VMs and perform many operations on selected VMs, including power cycle, reset, restart, snapshot and clone, migrate, pause, and launch a remote console. AHV provides several useful services including image management, VM templates, OVA import and export, and intelligent VM placement.

Differentiators

Cross-hypervisor and live migration

Nutanix simplifies migrating processes for existing VMs between an ESXi cluster and an AHV cluster with built-in data protection capabilities. It allows users to create one or more protection domains on the source cluster and set the AHV cluster as the target remote cluster.

In addition, live migration allows the system to move VMs from one host to another, which can occur when the user places a host in maintenance mode. The user can use it to migrate VMs to another physical cluster or location or avoid planned interruptions.

Automated high availability

Acropolis Dynamic Scheduling (ADS) is an automatic function enabled on every AHV cluster to avoid hot spots in cluster nodes that offers VM high availability (VMHA), and the Acropolis Leader tracks host health by monitoring connections to the libvirt on all cluster hosts. Users can also configure an AHV cluster for HA with resource reservation to guarantee that the resources required to restart VMs are always available.

Further, Metro Availability creates a global file system namespace across Nutanix clusters and uses synchronous replication.

GPU support and security

Nutanix AHV Virtualization allows installing physical GPU cards in qualified hosts and presenting them to guest VMs using GPU Passthrough or vGPU mode. With GPU Passthrough AHV can pass a GPU through to a VM, and AHV enables the user to live-migrate VMs with vGPU assignments.

The fully integrated Nutanix infrastructure stack eliminates security risks associated with legacy solutions that involve many vendors with a narrow, fragmented view of security and to reduce the security surface area. As a result, users can turn off many of the services AHV makes unnecessary.

Nutanix AHV Virtualization use cases

Nutanix AHV Virtualization is one of the most popular virtualization platforms that are using different types of users and the different sizes of organizations.

“With Nutanix AHV, we have been able to enhance our backup and recovery options, allowing us to quickly recover and replicate across our WAN links. We’re operating in a much more agile environment, and Nutanix is helping us do that. We can quickly try out new experiments and innovative ideas we think our customers will love. It’s also a very flexible platform. No matter what type of workload we want to use, we can quickly deploy it to Nutanix and then get it out in front of our customers and see what they think.” -Ken Shaffer, AVP for enterprise systems, CarMax

“Many of our critical systems and applications are now running on Citrix and Nutanix. That’s the faith we have in the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform.” -Armando Muniz, manager of IT system engineering, JetBlue

“It took us less than a week to become comfortable with AHV. AHV is a simple solution with everything we need displayed in one console, and we love the one-click non-disruptive upgrades. We also don’t miss the nighttime upgrades or the inefficient silos of a separate NAS.” -Dan Feliz, general manager of IT infrastructure, JetBlue

“We trust AHV because it is based on the proven KVM hypervisor technology and has been hardened to meet our stringent security needs. Before Nutanix, centrally managing our open source KVM environment was a challenge. … The out-of-the-box experience is fantastic, and AHV has all of the features we need. It gives us failover capabilities, resource management, and the ability to easily obtain great performance metrics — without all of the expensive licensing for additional software. Nutanix AHV is one of the most solid infrastructure and virtualization technologies I have seen.” -Jake Yang, senior director of global systems, Nasdaq

User reviews of Nutanix AHV Virtualization

The Nutanix AHV Virtualization receives mostly positive reviews and recommendations from several user review sites. Users at PeerSpot rate AHV Virtualization at 4.3 out of 5, and according to Gartner Peer Insights, users rate AHV Virtualization at 4.7 out of 5, with 93% recommending it. Gartner Peer Insights reviews also rate customer experience for other categories, such as:

  • Evaluation and contracting: 4.7 out of 5
  • Integration and deployment: 4.7 out of 5
  • Service and support: 4.8 out of 5
  • Product capabilities: 4.7 out of 5

Conclusions

Nutanix AHV Virtualization offers license-free virtualization and is a lean virtualization solution with designed for no software bloat, no costly shelfware, and no hidden extra costs. It offers ease of management, native security, low operational costs, and enterprises can benefit from high performance, self-healing security configurations, flexible migrations, automated data protection, disaster recovery, and rich analysis.

With so many advanced features presented in an affordable and easy-to-use package, Nutanix AHV Virtualization can be a good virtualization solution.

Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. He earned his B.S. in computer science and engineering from Prime University, Bangladesh. He attained more than 25 diploma courses and 100 certificate courses. His expertise and research interests include artificial intelligence (AI), artificial neural networks, and convolutional neural networks.

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