Difference Between Cisco HCI and Nutanix

Hyper-converged Infrastructure is a software stipulated system. It brings together all the functions that are carried out in a traditional data center. These functions include storage, computing, networking, and management. Cisco HCI and Nutanix are two HCI solution providers that are very popular among the masses.

Cisco HCI vs Nutanix

The main difference between Cisco HCI and Nutanix is that Cisco HCI comes in a series called HyperFlex which only works with Cisco Hardware. Due to this, it lacks flexibility. On the other hand, HCI launched by the company Nutanix is more flexible as it allows its users to work with various hardware options.


Cisco HCI is a software-defined platform launched by the American multinational technology corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc. It combines data services software as well as software-defined storage with Cisco’s unified computing system. Together, they integrate networking, computing and storage resources which allows the product to yield excellent reliability and efficiency.

Nutanix HCI is a software-defined platform that integrates servers, networking, storage, and virtualization resources. It has a vast variety of capabilities, two of which include end-to-end systems management and operation management. The platform supports several different hardware which accounts for enterprise-grade scalability and availability. Moreover, the cost of the product is much cheaper than Cisco HCI.

Comparison Table Between Cisco HCI and Nutanix

Parameters of ComparisonCisco HCINutanix
LaunchThe first Cisco HCI system was launched in 2015.The first Nutanix HCI system was launched in 2009.
CostCisco HCI is more expensive than Nutanix.Nutanix HCI is affordable and not as expensive as the former.
FlexibilityCisco HCI lacks flexibility as it only works with Cisco hardware.Nutanix HCI is flexible as it can work with several hardware options.
HypervisorCisco HCI supports Microsoft Hyper V and VMware vCenter.Nutanix HCI supports VMware ESXI, Microsoft Hyper V and KVM.
Erasure CodingCisco HCI has no erasure coding and only supports N+1 and N+2.Nutanix HCI supports erasure coding across various nodes.

What is Cisco HCI?

Cisco HCI is a hyper-convergence infrastructure system that was launched by the company in 2015. It offers a variety of features to its users including independent scaling, continuous data optimization, dynamic data distribution as well as integrated management and data services. The system is quite popular among the masses with over 50,000 users worldwide.

The system is able to work on UCS components that already exist as well as new storage components. The servers work according to the product line of UCS launched by Cisco as well. The networking of the HCI platform works in compliance with the Cisco UCS Fabric interconnects. This makes the product sort of restricted as it only works with other Cisco hardware. Cisco HCI may not be as flexible as other HCI platforms available in the market.

Cisco HCI is only available with the VMware hypervisor vCenter as well as Microsoft Hyper V. Using this, the platform also manages its storage. Currently, the product is available in three different models – 1U, 2U and a combination of rack servers with blade servers. 1U is a model made for a small footprint whereas the other two are made for maximum capacity. The newest model also facilitates high computing.  However, customers often feel that the price of Cisco HCI is too high as compared to others.

What is Nutanix?

Nutanix is a cloud computing company that sells cloud services, software as well as software-defined storage. It was founded in 2009 and launched its first hyper-convergence infrastructure platform in the same year. Its product brings together storage, computing and virtualization for its users. This single network facilitates distribution, balance, and efficiency in accomplishing tasks.

The system includes an inbuilt hypervisor called the KVM. However, it works with other hypervisors as well including VMware EXSI and Microsoft Hyper V. It also has software-defined storage and networking. The platform allows multiple nodes to be clustered together to form pools. These pools share computing and storage resources that allow a user to work on the platform conveniently.

Some of the benefits of using this system include simple connectivity, easy scale-up, one-click upgrade software and firmware, minimum rack space and cooling, as well as localization. It also facilitates minimum or no hop between components to increase transmission speed. By dint of these, Nutanix HCI has managed to make it to the list of top technology market leaders.

Nutanix has also developed several SaaS solutions that make using the platform way easier than before. The entire infrastructure can be made transparent, and all the workloads can be analysed as well. All this comes at an affordable price that is not very heavy on the pockets.

Main Differences Between Cisco HCI and Nutanix

  1. Cisco HCI was launched in 2015 whereas Nutanix was launched in 2009.
  2. Cisco HCI is expensive whereas Nutanix is affordable and not as costly as the former. 
  3. Cisco HCI lacks flexibility due to restricted hardware options whereas Nutanix offers flexibility with several hardware options to work on.
  4. Cisco HCI supports Microsoft Hyper V and VMware vCenter whereas Nutanix supports VMware ESXI, Microsoft Hyper V and KVM.
  5. Cisco HCI has no erasure coding whereas Nutanix supports erasure coding across various nodes.


Cisco HCI and Nutanix are two leading HCI solution providers with thousands of users across the globe. A major difference between the two hyper-convergence infrastructure products that the companies offer is that Cisco HCI is not flexible due to limited hardware options while Nutanix is flexible with several hardware options.

Moreover, Cisco has no erasure coding as it only supports N+1 and N+2 whereas Nutanix supports erasure coding across various nodes. Cisco HCI is relatively newer than Nutanix. It is also more expensive than the latter. Regardless, both the products must be compared for their abilities and benefits before making a purchase. This is the only way to know which product works best and according to the needs of the user.


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=C0CEDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT32&dq=cisco+hci+and+nutanix&ots=tpGhuPsZ96&sig=qgFTx1lk9z929ho0yPvTAoAjeq4
  2. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-030-11404-6.pdf

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