Differences between Prism Element, Prism Central and Prism Pro.

  • 26 February 2020
  • 4 replies

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Let’s say you want to know what are the uses and differences between Prism Element, Prism Central and Prism Pro


Nutanix Prism is the centralized management solution for Nutanix environments, however, Prism comes in different flavors depending on the functionality needed.


Prism Element:

It is a service already built into the platform for every Nutanix cluster deployed. It provides the ability to fully configure, manage, and monitor Nutanix clusters running any hypervisors, however, It only manages the cluster it is part of. 


Prism Central:

It is an application that can be deployed in a VM or in a scale/out cluster of VMs (Prism Central Instance) that allows you to manage different clusters across separate physical locations on one screen and offers an organizational view into a distributed environment.

Each Prism Central VM can manage 5,000 to 12,500 VMs, where Prism Central Instance (a three Prism Central VMs cluster) can manage up to 25,000 VMs.


Prism Pro:

It is a feature set that can be unlocked within Prism Central, providing advanced analytics and intelligent insights into managing a Nutanix environment. These features include performance anomaly detection, capacity planning, custom dashboards, reporting, and advanced search capabilities.


To find the complete list of features for each Prism flavor you can consult the following documentation: 


Prism Fundamentals

Prism Central Guide

Prism Pro

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@AntonioG, please I want to confirm if prism central request a license ?

@AntonioG, please I want to confirm if prism central request a license ?

Prism Central it’s free.

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I read that understanding Nutanix is supposed to be easy, per marketing, but I’m having trouble locating a resource that spells out what Nutanix services are actually dependent on Prism Central.   Would you mind detailing this?   Maybe there aren’t any and having Prism Central Pro is just a nice to have solution.  However, I’m not concerned with nice to have, but rather the “must have prism pro to do x” …  I’m not talking about anything already included in Prism Element or Starter, which I believe are the same from what i read except that prism central starter does give a single pane of glass for management of multiple clusters.    Example, if all I’m concerned with is replication, do I actually need Prism Central Pro for this or can I replicate between clusters without it.  The Nutanix licensing feature matrix does show you what you can do with the different tiers, but it doesn’t state whether or not you need Prism Pro to do it.  (Maybe I’m not finding the right resource)..   This is important because we are really looking to understand the licensing sweet spot for our organization that will allow us to do the things we need to do for the least cost.   We have a large VMW architecture and I have already shifted many of our Enterprise plus licensing down to standard because the Enterprise Plus features aren’t something we really need or are leveraging for DEV and test or for non clustered solutions, and the cost savings is huge, making VMW way more cost effective as a solution.   I am trying to do the same thing with the Nutanix stack so that our organization doesn’t over spend.     Is there a matrix or simple resource to outlines this?   Thanks!     


Prism Central is required to run many advanced level features and services, but it is not required for core virtualization or storage functionality. Prism Central is needed for CALM, FLOW, Karbon, Prism Pro, and if you want a single pane to see all your clusters.

You do not need a license to deploy Prism Central. If you’re only using Prism Central as a single pane of glass to view all your Nutanix clusters in one place, then you do not need an additional license for that. However, if you want to use some or all of the more advanced features, like Prism Pro, then you will need a license for that. Prism Pro includes things like capacity analysis, VM right sizing, custom reporting, and X-Play. For example, many of my customers are using capacity analysis and reporting within their Nutanix Environments, which requires a Prism Pro license. There is a datasheet here you can reference: https://www.nutanix.com/content/dam/nutanix/resources/datasheets/ds-prism-pro.pdf

One note on your VMware licensing using Enterprise Plus. Enterprise Plus is required to use DRS. DRS is required for 1-click hypervisor and firmware upgrades to work when using VMware on Nutanix, because Prism makes VMware API calls to vCenter to migrate VMs during an upgrade. I’m biased since I work at Nutanix, but if you’re looking to save on hypervisor costs, then you should look at AHV. There are no licensing tiers for AHV as enterprise grade virtualization should just be included. Every Nutanix AOS license (Starter, Pro, Ultimate) includes AHV.