Top 6 Ways AHV Makes Datacenters More Cloudlike

  • 27 May 2019
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Top 6 Ways AHV Makes Datacenters More Cloudlike
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This post was authored by Lauren Willard Nutanix

We already know that Nutanix built hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to solve datacenter complexity issues. But you may not be aware that we also have our own virtualization offering, AHV (it’s not an acronym, I checked). AHV was created to further reduce complexity issues around virtualization and HCI. It’s the answer to merging and converging virtualization and is a crucial part of HCI.

You can either bolt on a hypervisor or choose to have it integrated and built into your HCI product to gain additional benefits without the extra cost and time it takes to add it to your infrastructure. Integrating virtualization into HCI infrastructure allows you to be more application focused making your infrastructure more service-based.

What are you paying for?

While you can use other virtualization solutions with our HCI, you may be paying for it unnecessarily. Nutanix includes a license to use AHV on our HCI platform at no additional cost, so virtualization architects, infrastructure owners and C-level executives making buying decisions will get the most out of it’s added benefits. The question to be asked is, what do my applications and ops teams need from virtualization and does AHV provide those things?

HCI is the foundation to modernize the datacenter and make it more cloud-like - modernizing virtualization is part of that process. When using a public cloud (like AWS or Azure) you expect virtualization to be included and nearly invisible from a management perspective; so why shouldn’t it be the same with on-premise solutions? Our belief is that if you’re managing a cloud (whether it’s public, private or hybrid) you should be managing your datacenter in the same way. This allows IT professionals to be more focused on business goals, applications and consumption of services verses infrastructure and hardware management.

Nutanix HCI with AHV allows IT administrators to explore new innovations like end-user computing, public cloud utilization or re-platforming into cloud-native apps or experimenting with containers. Other benefits of AHV include simplified operations, easier disaster recovery and business continuity solutions — beyond cost and time savings. The time that was spent to “keep the lights on” in the datacenter can now be refocused on higher-value work.

Let Me Count the Ways AHV is Cloud-like

  • Built Into the Platform - With AHV being native to the HCI platform, it makes virtualization an invisible feature, as opposed to bolt-on technology (like other HCI vendors offer) that requires lots of management and expertise. Tight integration ensures not only ease of operation but the best possible performance without needing any fine tuning or configuration.
  • Simplified Operations and Management - AHV takes the focus off hardware infrastructure and minimizes the overhead costs and management, making it much more similar to the cloud where you don’t have to manage the infrastructure at all. This allows the datacenter to be more application-centric.
  • API Driven - The goal is to have everything in the datacenter be API-oriented and software-defined. In order for this to happen, it has to be programmable with software. This means surfacing high-quality interfaces for ecosystem partners to integrate with which can drive this functionality through automation and programmability; as opposed to having someone sitting at a console managing it by hand.
  • Self-Service - Application owners can be empowered through self-service to create and manage their own workloads and apps. This takes the burden off the traditional virtualization managers who would normally be bombarded with mundane tasks like creating new virtual machines every time someone needs one. With a self-service model, those tasks can become simple shopping cart operations, where the database or app-owner just needs to push a button to get virtualization. Making virtualization automated pushes the day-to-day tasks directly onto the app owners as opposed to the domain or IT experts managing the datacenters.
  • Networking and Security - Networking and security are critical functions that need to be native to the virtualization stack, not another add-on feature that has to be managed separately from HCI. AHV does not require a great deal of security administration - it’s secured and hardened from the factory based on industry standards and best practices. Additionally, AHV includes robust virtual networking and application security, via Nutanix Flow, making it easier to secure the virtual machines at a granular level as well as extending with functions from ecosystem partners, allowing for best-of-breed software-defined networking functionality.
  • Access to Cloudlike Services - AHV and Nutanix HCI are backed by a comprehensive set of APIs. This allows operators to easily add other cloudlike services such as disaster recovery, self service and automation, object storage, file services, and database management allowing IT experts to manage apps and virtualization from one platform.

The AHV Difference

AHV is the combination of virtualization technology, performance tuned for HCI, and enterprise-grade management, operational intelligence, security, and automation. Unlike other alternatives, AHV is managed from within the same user interface used to manage the rest of the infrastructure stack—complete with 1-click operations and insights. An IDC study (August 2017) shows that the combination of AHV and Nutanix HCI can reduce costs by an additional 20%. By integrating virtualization purpose-built for HCI, infrastructure, and operations management within a single intuitive interface, manageability is greatly improved which translates to virtualization teams finding it easy to learn and transition from other virtualization solutions.

CarMax, a Nutanix customer is the largest retailer of used cars in the U.S. and operates more than 190 stores in 41 states nationwide. Technology is the cornerstone of its business operations, enabling consumers to shop approximately 50,000 cars from any location, on any device. To gain the agility, manageability, and reliability it needed, CarMax migrated its applications and workloads onto Nutanix. “Moving to AHV gave us a one-stop-shop to manage the entire environment using a single management console, Nutanix Prism Central. AHV also enables network virtualization through Nutanix Flow. Flow provides network segmentation capabilities that greatly enhance security,” says David Harold, Senior Manager, CarMax Enterprise Systems.

Keep in Touch

To learn more about Nutanix AHV virtualization, contact us at, follow us on Twitter @nutanix, or send us a request at to set up your own customized briefing and demonstration to see how validated and certified solutions from Nutanix can help you build your virtualized datacenter.

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