Nutanix Acropolis AHV Core Architecture Explained

Nutanix Acropolis Stack

What is Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor AHV core architecture ? this is most common question asked on gooogle to known the Nutanix architecture to understand the Nuanix functionality and technology flow.

Nutanix is the leader in Hyper converged HCI and enterprise cloud technology, the factor is nutanix has its own virtual core software stack called Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor ( AHV ) to run the any virtulized software with compatibility, reliability and stability.

Nuanix Acroplois Hypervisor AHV core architecture is based on KVM kernel based hypervisor and developed to deploy and run any kind of application and workload type on withoud any major limitations.

Read more : Nutanix Cluster size Limitation

Nutanix Acropolis AHV Components

Nutanix Acropolis AHV hypervisor architecture is made by main three components that’s made the Nutanix AHV hypervisor more reliable and stable to run any application workload on it.

Read more : Nutanix cluster Components & Services

  • KVM-kmod
  • Libvirtd
  • Qemu-KVM
Nutanix Acropolis AHV Components
Nutanix Acropolis AHV Components


KVM-Kmod ( KVM Kernel Module ) this kernel module provides support for virtual machines using hardware support(Intel VT-x & VT-i or AMD SVM).
It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko.


Libvirtd is the daemon service of libvirt utility to manipulate VMs for convenience and communication between Acropolis and KVM and QEMU occurs through libvirtd.

Libvirt is simply a virtualization management library / collection of software that provides a convenient way to manage virtual machines and other virtualization functionality, such as storage and network interface management. These software pieces include a long term stable C API, a daemon (libvirtd), and a command line utility (virsh). A primary goal of libvirt is to provide a single way to manage multiple different virtualization providers/hypervisors.


QEMU and KVM both are able to act as hypervisor built into the Linux kernel. but QEMU doesn’t able to simulate a complete hardware environment like CPU because QEMU is a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer. It can run OSes and programs made for one machine.

QEMU is a little slower when it comes to system which don’t have hardware virtualization, to achieve that KVM helps QEMU to access hardware virtualization features on different architectures. It also adds the acceleration feature to the QEMU process. So, in short, when they are together, QEMU is the hypervisor/emulator and KVM is the accelerating agent.

KVM is a special operating mode of QEMU that uses CPU extensions (HVM) for virtualization via a kernel module. KVM, one can run multiple virtual machines like Windows, Linux or any other operating system.

So, A machine emulator and virtualizer that runs in user space for every VM (domain). AHV uses it for hardware-assisted virtualization and VMs run as HVMs.

Nutanix AHV Maximums and Scalability

The following configuration maximums and scalability limits apply:

  • Maximum cluster size: N/A (same as Nutanix cluster size).
  • Maximum vCPUs per VM: Number of physical cores per host.
  • Maximum memory per VM: 2 TB.
  • Maximum VMs per host: N/A (limited by memory).
  • Maximum VMs per cluster: N/A (limited by memory).

Read more : Nutanix Prism Core Architecture Explained

I understand that it is very important to understand the Nutanix AHV core architecture to know the technology deeply and how Nutanix HCI technology works behind in architecture.

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