Upending the Status Quo: A Move from VMware to Nutanix Shaped the Success at Boulder Dam Credit Union


Although companies have become increasingly customer-centric, some sales teams are still laser-focused on making the next sale—often at the expense of a customer relationship. It can be frustrating to deal with vendors with that mindset because they’re mindful of their bottom line but not your needs.

The problem compounds when you’re fighting for funding from executives and managers who are penny-wise but technology-foolish. It’s a recipe for disaster.

I work at the Boulder Dam Credit Union (BDCU), where we don’t have to worry about the latter. Our incredibly supportive executive team is involved in our operations and cares about getting our technology right. They’re highly receptive to ideas about changing and improving our processes and operations. I’m in one of two IT roles supporting our 50 employees. Over the past three years, I’ve overseen components like our servers, security system, and cameras.

Although companies have become increasingly customer-centric, some sales teams are still laser-focused on making the next sale—often at the expense of a customer relationship.

I was previously in the gaming industry and can honestly say that working for a credit union is much better than working for a casino. My previous employer didn’t want to spend a cent more than necessary on IT infrastructure, so we had a large IT department tasked with keeping outdated, archaic systems alive. It was a struggle to get my hands on equipment that improved our operations rather than maintained the status quo. Fortunately, BDCU believes in funding and supporting the best infrastructure to keep everything running smoothly not just for us, but for the members.

A Previous Rocky Deployment

In 2022, however, we saw that things weren’t running as smoothly as we wanted. We had two VMware hosts that were a pain to manage and troubleshoot. If I wanted to spin up a new virtual machine on one host, I couldn’t balance it on the second if I was short on storage or compute resources. When I needed to update or patch the system, I had to take everything offline and do it after hours. There wasn’t an easy rollback plan if I encountered an issue.

We also had problems with tech support and documentation. When something went wrong, it sometimes took a week to resolve it. We’d be halfway through a deployment, run into a complication that wasn’t documented, and reach out to a customer care team. The project would sit on hold until we got a response a day or two later. As disruptive as it sounds, this was the typical scenario when dealing with anything more complicated than creating a virtual machine.

I wanted a platform that offered a smooth experience and better visibility into our infrastructure for easier troubleshooting. I had deployed two Nutanix clusters at a previous employer and thought it would be a credible solution for BDCU. 

Making the Case for Nutanix

We were due for a VMware infrastructure upgrade—hardware and software—and I was asked to look at the latest and greatest from VMware. But I also pitched Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) because it was light years ahead of everything else.

It was easy to make the case for Nutanix. It’s a cutting-edge solution backed by an incredible team, who came in and met with our decision-makers. Still, my supervisor told me to seek out a comparable solution from VMware as due diligence. Nutanix set us up with two different environments to test their systems. But we couldn’t trial the new VMware, so I reviewed their white papers and documentation instead. My research confirmed what I already knew: Nutanix was the right choice. It offered more than just replacing what we had; it moved our infrastructure evolution forward.

We started with a single Nutanix cluster and opted for an onsite deployment. Even though I’d gone through a deployment before, clusters don’t need replacing for years, so it had been a while since I’d experienced it firsthand. The team could have handled everything remotely, but I wanted a technician here to help refamiliarize me with the process.

It was the most informative deployment I’ve ever been part of. The technician answered all my questions and showed me stuff I didn’t ask about. “Sure, we can do this,” he’d reply, “But did you know about this?” He didn’t act like a Nutanix employee. He was Nutanix. He lived and breathed the technology—and enjoyed it. Everyone I’ve encountered there shares that attitude, which is refreshing.

Up and Running in Half the Time We Expected

It took about five months to go from our initial meeting to our Nutanix migration. Part of this process was due to getting board approval, but we also delayed the deployment until we had completed the first phase of a building renovation. We scheduled three days to migrate from our old servers to Nutanix, but the process took a day and a half.

The technician installed Nutanix Move, a cross-hypervisor mobility solution to migrate VMs. He trained me on the tool, showing me how to create a new VM and making sure I was completely comfortable with it before the deployment was complete. We had one hiccup during the migration and resolved it within 30 minutes with a call to the Nutanix support team. The transition was seamless.

We now have 25 VMs and 25 VDIs running on our Nutanix cluster and are using Nutanix AHV and Nutanix Frame to manage our new infrastructure. Nutanix AHV is an enterprise-ready hypervisor that simplifies the creation of VMs and lowers our costs because we don’t have to pay a license fee per VM or hire a third party to manage our virtual infrastructure as we did with VMware. BDCU employees can log into their VDI from any computer on our premises. If our colleagues change stations or desks, we no longer have to physically move their VDI environment. We’re also rolling out Nutanix Files for faster unstructured storage.

A New and Improved BDCU

We’re still in the early days of our deployment, but things are already much smoother. When we adopted Nutanix, I simultaneously upgraded some of the network infrastructure. We went from a one gigabit backplane for accessing the data to 10 gig, so the end users are experiencing faster file shares, and there’s less downtime when opening a file. The fewer bottlenecks you have, the faster everything runs.

Through Nutanix Prism, I now have a singular control that simplifies and streamlines common hypervisor workflows, VM setup, and infrastructure management. Everything is right in front of me. I can see how many hosts we have in our clusters, CPU and memory usage, and data resilience. I can monitor all 25 VMs simultaneously instead of checking them individually. I get an email notification if an issue arises, and the system automatically generates a ticket.

Unlike VMware, Nutanix just works. Spinning up or troubleshooting a VM is easy. If a node fails, there’s no downtime because the data is mirrored and a backup node picks up the workload. Nutanix documentation is superb, too. It is comprehensive, well-indexed, and easily searchable. All of this means I’m more readily available to assist other people with their issues rather than being stuck on the phone dealing with another vendor or sifting through poor documentation trying to figure something out on my own.

Technology is crucial to building and growing a business, but building relationships is equally important.

Then again, I’m never on my own. The Nutanix team is friendly and always willing to help. No one’s ever made me feel like I should know the answers just because I work in IT. Our Nutanix sales rep, Prem Neelay, and engineer, Brian Holmes, are two of the nicest, smartest people I’ve ever worked with—no sign of pushy salespeople anywhere.

Technology is crucial to building and growing a business, but building relationships is equally important. I’ve long been impressed by Nutanix solutions, but their partnership is the true value-add. Their people are always there to help without trying to sell me products and services I don’t need. Nutanix makes sure I’m good and everything is running well. I couldn’t be happier.