TechEd 2014: Building a web-scale Private Cloud

Session: DCIM-B395 Building a Web-Scale Private cloud (without losing your cool) by Steve Poitras, Nutanix (@StevenPoitras). This was a good session showing how the combination of the Windows Azure pack, Hyper-V, and Nutanix enable large scale-out private clouds. You can check out the full video and slide deck of the session here on Channel 9. Steve had a lot of diagrams and good tables that you should check out, which aren’t captured in my session notes.

Why are we here today?

  • Web-scale cloud is here
  • IT needs to be much more agile
  • Users want services on demand and IT needs to keep up with it
  • We want to spend time doing other things, like value add services instead of supporting legacy services

Objectives

  • Define web-scale
  • Focus is architecting a web-scale solution using Hyper-V on the Nutanix platform

Why web scale?

  • Inherent complexity in legacy infrastructure
  • Lack of availability
  • Unpredictable scaling
  • What’s in with web scale: Smart software, commodity hardware, local attached storage, highly distributed software, scale one x86 server at a time, heavily automated and resilient
  • What’s out: Customized hardware (ASICs), islands of resources, unused overprovisioned systems, frequent north-south traffic, lots of manual intervention

Web-scale made possible with Nutanix

  • Nutanix was founded in 2009
  • Shipping fourth generation operating system (NOS 4.0)
  • Hundreds of customers in a variety of vertical markets
  • Built for massive scale (3 to thousands of nodes)
  • Uses high performance commodity hardware
  • The secret sauce is the software (controller VM) which services all I/Os and enables web-scale functionality
  • Supports Hyper-V 2012 R2, ESXi and KVM

Nutanix under the Covers

  • Hypervisor sees the Nutanix distributed file system (NDFS) as one or more SMB 3.0 file shares
  • Supports features like snapshots, dedupe, web-scale out, and disaster recovery
  • Locally shared storage is comprised of both flash and spinning disks
  • Variety of models (compute heavy, storage heavy, etc.)
  • Mix and match models within the same cluster

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The diagram below shows a multi-tenant example using Nutanix and the Windows Azure pack. The solution is modular, scales, is Microsoft Fast Track certified, and Nutanix published a full Reference Architecture guide which will be downloadable in the near future.

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Steve then goes on to describe various VM classifications (light, medium, heavy) and shows how many VMs can fit on various Nutanix models. He then describes one of the service pods, and that it looks like. Steve then goes into more depth on pool design and multi-availability zone deployments and shows how the solution can scale out with Nutanix is the foundational building block. Again, for the full slide deck and details check out the MSDN Channel 9 video here. The session provides a good overview how the Azure pack + Nutanix = highly web-scale like infrastructure for your private cloud.

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