Migrating 800 VMs to Nutanix Was No Problem, Business as Usual

Migrating 800 VMs to Nutanix Was No Problem, Business as Usual


An organization that faced a significant licensing increase moved 800 virtual machines (VMs) to Nutanix HCI clusters. The in-house team completed the deployment and migration without business impact in 4 months.

Migrating from vSphere to Nutanix AHV

One of the most significant objections against migrating from one hypervisor platform to another is the amount of change and the risk of business disruption. I spoke with one of my past clients who has chosen to take this risk and migrate from vSphere clusters to Nutanix AHV clusters. The risk was acceptable because an unaffordable increase in their VMware license cost was imminent when their enterprise license expired. This client is medium-scale, with an estate of 800 VMs and a DR cluster at a remote site. They were also a mature VMware customer with data protection, DR, and operational automation linked into the vSphere platform. The migration replaced a SAN and blade enclosure with Nutanix HCI storage and servers running the Nutanix AHV hypervisor.

The migration project ran for approximately 4 months, from the first hardware delivery to the end of VM migration. The timeline was restricted more by managing data center deployment and application downtime than the technical migration process. The in-house team performed most of the migration, with support from one external consultant and a local Nutanix partner. The business impact was minor, primarily the requirement to power off and back on every VM for migration. The team used a single Nutanix Move appliance to manage the replication of VM data from the existing VMware platform while the VMs remained running. The Move appliance managed migrating batches of VMs: shutdown, final replication, conversion, and power-on. Five weeks after the end of migration, it is business as usual and a healthy VM estate.

Driving Success

A few factors drove the success of this migration, some in the organization and some in the Nutanix products. The in-house team is small and highly skilled, team turnover has been low, and many staff have more than 10 years of service at the client. The licensing deadline gave IT management the focus of ensuring resources were available to complete the project on time. The Nutanix Move appliance was a definite factor, simplifying storage replication and managing the graceful movement of groups of VMs. The final factor is that there is a good match between the Nutanix solution and the size of this client. Migrating tens of thousands of VMs might not have been so painless.

There has been much discussion about Broadcom’s changes to VMware licensing. Broadcom focuses on larger organizations, which will still see value at the new pricing. Many smaller organizations will reevaluate the risks associated with migrating to another platform. This client’s migration to Nutanix and AHV has been business as usual. I’ll ask them how the operational side has worked out in a few months once they have been through some moves, adds and changes.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Alastair has made a twenty-year career out of helping people understand complex IT infrastructure and how to build solutions that fulfil business needs. Much of his career has included teaching official training courses for vendors, including HPE, VMware, and AWS. Alastair has written hundreds of analyst articles and papers exploring products and topics around on-premises infrastructure and virtualization and getting the most out of public cloud and hybrid infrastructure. Alastair has also been involved in community-driven, practitioner-led education through the vBrownBag podcast and the vBrownBag TechTalks.

At The Futurum Group, Paul Nashawaty, Practice Leader and Lead Principal Analyst, specializes in application modernization across build, release and operations. With a wealth of expertise in digital transformation initiatives spanning front-end and back-end systems, he also possesses comprehensive knowledge of the underlying infrastructure ecosystem crucial for supporting modernization endeavors. With over 25 years of experience, Paul has a proven track record in implementing effective go-to-market strategies, including the identification of new market channels, the growth and cultivation of partner ecosystems, and the successful execution of strategic plans resulting in positive business outcomes for his clients.


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