BCS swaps out VMware for Nutanix AHV

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has consolidated its on-premise server environment, migrating from VMware to the Nutanix AHV hypervisor.

BCS previously ran a server room with six servers and enterprise storage, to support a full software stack required for three-tier applications. The migration to a Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure has meant it now runs a single cluster.

The application, hosted on VMware, includes a web development environment, SQL server database, telephony services, Linux servers and a test environment. The BCS also hosts a number of its web services on-premise, as well as its legacy customer relationship management (CRM) system.

During the migration, BCS plans to move more than 60 virtual machines (VMs) from VMware to the Nutanix AHV hypervisor and complete the virtualisation of its remaining physical servers. This will deliver scalability and savings in terms of hypervisor licensing.

Dugal Williams, a network engineer at BCS, took advantage of Nutanix’s professional training programme to prepare for the migration. Preparation involved a week of online training. Williams will be taking the Nutanix Certification Programme exam at the end of October.

According to Nutanix, the training is designed to provide IT staff with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully implement, manage, optimise and scale Nutanix multi-product software. It has recently been expanded with an “Associate” certification (NCA), which Nutanix said provides a foundational programme for building a career in multicloud technology. 

The course covers the key differences between AHV and VMware and how to manage and implement server virtualisation using Nutanix tools. “You learn about the whole environment, from the operating system to the hypervisor,” said Williams.

The Nutanix tools simplify the process of migrating away from VMware. “The good thing about Nutanix is it has a move/extract tool that supports the VMware hypervisor. The migration tool takes a VMware virtual machine and moves it to the Nutanix AHV environment,” said Williams.

BCS is also using the Nutanix Prism dashboard, which enables his team to manage the health of the AHV environment.

BCS’s Dugal said the Nutanix Prism dashboard is user-friendly and provides a knowledge base to help IT administrators identify errors.

The migration to Nutanix is part of a planned relocation of the industry association’s Swindon headquarters. BCS is also using Nutanix Xi Leap to provide secure backup and disaster recovery (DR) via the Nutanix cloud, which eliminates the need to equip and manage a second DR installation.

The Nutanix software is being deployed on HPE Proliant DX Gen10 appliances. According to BCS, this will enable it to move forward with its digital transformation plans and, at the same time, replace end-of-life servers and storage networks with a single Nutanix cluster, saving valuable rack space while also reducing power and cooling costs. 

“We originally planned to look into DR options once the move to the new offices and infrastructure migration were over,” said Williams. “However, when we found we could do it so quickly and simply with Xi Leap, and without having to buy or run additional hardware, it quickly became a no-brainer and something we could also use to help with the migration itself.”

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