New Nutanix Community Edition Release (2017.07.20)

Hot off the press is the community edition of Nutanix AOS 5.1.1.1, Community Edition (CE) 2017.07.20. For what’s new in AOS 5.1.1.1, see my post here. You can find all the direct download links at the end of this post in the Next community. As always, you can perform a simple 1-click upgrade via our PRISM GUI.

Nutanix AFS 2.1.1 Released

Hot off the press is Nutanix AFS 2.1.1 (Nutanix File Services). In case you don’t know, AFS is a web-scale “NAS” that runs in a highly available configuration on Nutanix clusters. This has several important new features, plus a number of resolved issues. New features include:

  • AFS Sizing workflow at time of deployment
  • Ability to rename AFS clusters
  • Ability to clone AFS on AHV (used for backups, DR testing, recovery, etc.)
  • Microsoft Management console support for AFS management
  • Ability to manage AFS permissions via the file server administrator role (which can be linked to a AD user or group)

The full release notes can be found here. You can download the new package here.

Nutanix AOS 5.1.1.1 Released

Today I am glad to announce the general availability of Nutanix AOS 5.1.1.1. This is a patch release, but it also has a few new features. Of interest to you will be the security patches (11 total), and a good sized list of resolved issues. You can find the full AOS 5.1.1.1 release notes here and download the package here. Before any upgrade, do thoroughly read the release notes and make sure any prerequisites are met. There’s also a good Installation and Upgrades document here, which is a must-read before you upgrade.

New Features include:

  • Nutanix API v3 tech preview
  • GA of software-only support on Cisco UCS-B series servers
  • Expanded support for vSphere 6.5 (e.g. Dell XC)
  • Full support for ESXi 6.5a and vCenter 6.5

As always, this AOS update can be done via PRISM and our 1-click upgrade process. Zero downtime, and zero vMotions are needed. Customers often do AOS upgrades during the daytime. This release hasn’t yet been enabled for automatic download (it will in the coming weeks), so if you want it before the automated downloads are enabled just grab the gz package from our portal. If you are brand new to Nutanix and never done an AOS upgrade, feel free to call support. It’s dead easy and 100% GUI driven, but help is here if you want it.

If you haven’t yet upgraded to the 5.1 release train, now is a great time to do so.

Nutanix VirtIO 1.1 Drivers Released

If you are a Nutanix customer and using AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor), I have some great news for you. We have released VirtIO 1.1 drivers, and the big deal is that they are now Microsoft WHQL signed. I know the lack of signing was holding back some customers for production workloads. No longer!

VirtIO 1.1And there’s a nice Nutanix install wizard:

Nutanix VirtIOPlease do note, this signed driver package is for 64-bit operating systems only. The supported operating systems are:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8.x
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016

You can directly download the drivers from here. We have them in both .MSI format and ISO, depending on your needs. All of the related documentation can be found here, including the special case of 32-bit operating systems. And don’t forget, if you want to inject the VirtIO drivers into your Windows ISO, check out my blog post here.

Nutanix AOS 5.1 & Companions are now GA

For the second time this year, Nutanix has released a major feature upgrade to AOS and companion software. Now available, is AOS 5.1! Top of the list of new features is vSphere 6.5 support for NX platforms (Nutanix branded gear). vSphere 6.5 support for OEM platforms is coming soon. But that’s not the only new feature. Here’s a rundown of some (not all) of the new features:

  • 1-click controller VM (CVM) memory upgrade
  • XenServer support on NX-1065-G5, NX-3060-G5, NX-3175-G5 (optionally with NVIDIA M60)
  • All-flash clusters now support adding hybrid nodes (e.g. cold storage only nodes). Minimum 2 AF nodes.
  • Automatic “admin” account password sync across all CVMs, Prism Web console, and SSH interfaces.
  • Docker container management through self-service portal.
  • Prism 1-click feature to install Docker host VM
  • Post-process compression is enabled by default on all new containers with Pro and Ultimate licenses
  • 1-click centralized upgrades from Prism Central
  • 1-click Prism central cluster registration and Prism Central Deployment
  • Pulse (telemetry) enabled for Prism Central
  • Auto-resolved alerts
  • User defined alerts
  • Graphics and compute mode for NVIDIA M60 GPU
  • CHAP authentication for Acropolis Block Services
  • Hot-plug CPU and memory on AHV VMs
  • Metro availability and synchronous replication supported across hardware vendors (NX, Dell, Lenovo). Async support continues.
  • VirtIO drivers updated to v1.1
  • Dynamically increase EC-X strip size as cluster is expanded
  • Much improved storage efficiency reporting in Prism (compression, dedupe, EC-X, etc.)
  • Disk rebuild time estimation
  • AFS supports Mac OS v10.10, v10.11, v10.12
  • Acropolis Block Service enhanced OS support (Solaris 11, RHEL 6, 7, 6.8)

Tech Preview Features include:

  • Software only support for UCS B-series blades
  • GPU pass-through for AHV guest VMs
  • Support 3rd-party network function VMs (e.g. load balancer, firewall, etc.) routed through Open vSwitch (OVS).

Companion Software Updates

  • Prism Central 5.1
  • Acropolis File Services (AFS) 2.1
  • Acropolis Container Services (ACS) 1.0
  • Foundation 3.7.2

Helpful Links

As of 5/1/2017, AOS 5.1 has not been enabled for automatic download and 1-click upgrades. As always, if you don’t want to wait for the automatic download switch to be flipped (in the near future), you can grab the AOS binary from the support portal and use our 1-click upgrade process. As always, thoroughly read the full release notes on the support portal before attempting an upgrade.

Nutanix AHV (Hypervisor) Update Released

Fresh off the press, is an updated version of the Nutanix hypervisor, AHV. Today we released AHV-20160925.43. Features include broader support for the AOS 5.0.x family, and a tech preview feature of hot plugging memory and CPU on VMs. A number of bug fixes were also incorporated. Noteworthy, is a network stack issue that has been fixed. This issue could be experienced by any customer, so upgrading is encouraged.

If you are using AHV, you are encouraged to check out the release notes here. AHV is 1-click upgrade enabled, so you can easily update your cluster in an automated fashion with no VM downtime.

 

Critical Zerto 5.0 update for Nutanix customers

If you are a Nutanix customer, and using Zerto, Zerto has release a very critical patch. Unpatched, the bug could result in data integrity issues. This has been seen in the field, particularly with Microsoft SQL. So it’s very imperative that you review the Zerto release notes and upgrade to Zerto 5.0 U2 ASAP.

The issue manifests itself during CVM failover operations and result in lost writes.  These failover operations are normally transparent to the guest, and in no way interrupt the normal I/O data path. The Nutanix business critical apps team was able to reproduce the issue in house at will, and confirmed Zerto 5.0 U2 has resolved the issue. Zerto is a great partner, and they were extremely helpful in resolving this issue. The issue is not exclusive to SQL, but is more readily apparent since DBAs do routine integrity checks which will fail if the bug has been triggered.

I do not know if versions prior to 5.0 U2 (such as the 4.x version) will receive the patch. Check with your Zerto account team. If the patch won’t be back ported, then you need to plan on upgrading to 5.0 U2 ASAP. We have many joint customers, that absolutely love the Zerto features coupled with Nutanix simplicity.

My boss, Michael Webster, also has a write up about this issue which you can find here.

Nutanix AOS 5.0.1 enabled for 1-click upgrades

Earlier this year Nutanix released AOS 5.0, which contained dozens and dozens of new features and enhancements. As Nutanix customers know, we have 1-click upgrades for AOS. Prism will automatically notify you when there is an updated AOS version available. While customers can immediately download new releases from the portal and use 1-click upgrades, Nutanix delays the automatic notification on major releases until the first maintenance release comes out. This allows customers that want the absolute latest code to download it manually, but gives more conservative customers time for the release to mature before it’s automatically downloaded by Prism.

As of this week, AOS 5.0.1 will now automatically appear in Prism as a 1-click upgrade option. So if you have been holding off on AOS 5.0 until the first maintenance release, you need not wait any longer. Check Prism for software updates and you should see AOS 5.0.1 available.

Released: Nutanix AOS 4.7.5 and other tools

Nutanix has released an updated version of the AOS 4.7 family, which is now bumped up to AOS 4.7.5  If you have already upgraded to AOS 5.0.x, which came out earlier this year, you can ignore this post. Those of you with Nutanix support portal access can download the 4.7.5 release notes here. Since this is a minor release, it’s mostly bug fixes and minor new features. One new feature that is noteworthy, is a new 1-click SATA-DOM firmware upgrade feature for Nutanix NX and Dell XC platforms with hypervisors other than Hyper-V. Nutanix takes security extremely seriously, and as such, this update addresses a variety of CVEs. So even if the new features or other bug fixes don’t seem all that interesting, personally I would recommend the upgrade due to the security patches.

In addition to AOS 4.7.5, minor revs to related products are out as well:

  • Prism Central 4.7.5 can be downloaded here. The Prism Central release notes are available here and the Upgrade Guide is available here.
  • Nutanix Cluster Check (NCC) is now at version 3.0.0.2. It can be downloaded here and the release notes can be found here.
  • Foundation 3.7, which is the Nutanix Cluster deployment tool, is now out. Download Foundation 3.7 here and read the release notes here.
  • AHV version 20160601.50 which can be downloaded here and the upgrade instructions can be found here.

Nutanix customers really enjoy the 1-click upgrade for many components, so when we release a new batch like this, it takes minimal time to update the environment. And no VM downtime is required, which makes scheduling maintenance windows easier.

Nutanix AOS 4.7 Immediately Available

What’s New in AOS 4.7? Some of these enhancements were announced at .Next last week. Here’s a full list of what’s new in AOS 4.7. It is available for immediate download on the Nutanix support portal.

Acropolis Block Services

Acropolis Block Services (ABS) provides highly available and high performance block storage as iSCSI LUNs to clients. Clients can be non-Nutanix servers external to the cluster or guest VMs internal or external to the cluster, with the cluster block storage configured as one or more volume groups. This block storage acts as the iSCSI target for client Windows or Linux operating systems running on a bare metal server or as guest VMs using iSCSI initiators from within the client operating systems.

Cluster Resiliency (Degraded Node Detection)

Nutanix Engineering has introduced capabilities in AOS to identify partially available nodes and prevent them from affecting cluster availability. It can detect if a node is experiencing  network latency issues, disk or memory errors, or other issue that would affect cluster performance. AOS marks the node as degraded, places it in maintenance mode, and raises an alert to indicate its status. The node will be prevented from participating in cluster operations and cluster operations will continue. The node can rejoin the cluster once the issue is fixed. This feature is disabled by default and customers are advised to contact Nutanix Support to enable and use it. Reference internal Knowledge Base Article 3361.

Docker Container Support

The Nutanix volume plug-in for Docker enables Docker deployments to be integrated with external storage systems, in this case the Nutanix distributed file system (NDFS), and enable data volumes to persist beyond the lifetime of a single container machine host.

1-click HBA Disk Controller Firmware

The LSI host bus adapter/controller (HBA) 1-click firmware upgrade feature is available for Acropolis hypervisor (AHV) and ESXi hypervisor host environments running on NXxxxx G4 (Haswell) or NX-xxxx-G5 (Broadwell) platforms only.

In-Place Hypervisor Conversion

Previously tech preview, this 1-click feature available through the Prism web console allows you to convert your cluster from using ESXi hosts to using AHV hosts. Guest VMs are converted to the hypervisor target format, and cluster network configurations are stored and then restored as part of the conversion process. Note: This feature converts your existing ESXi cluster to an AHV cluster. You cannot start the conversion process on the AHV cluster.

Intel Broadwell Architecture

Support for platforms using the Intel Broadwell CPU and architecture.

Internationalization (i18n)

Non-ASCII user defined values (for example, entity names, descriptions, and so on) are supported in UTF-8. For the list of supported and unsupported entities and to change language settings to Simplified Chinese, see the Prism Web Console Guide.

Newly-supported platforms

Support for Nutanix Xpress platforms such as the SX-1065-G5. See the Xpress Series Compatibility Matrix in Release Notes | NX-series Hardware on page 22. Support for Lenovo Converged HX Series

Prism Central

Enhanced Prism Central Explore tab usability with custom page sizing, custom Focus views, and easier select options.

Security

Nutanix Security Engineering and Research Team (nSERT) has identified existing vulnerabilities associated with certain security concerns and this release addresses these vulnerabilities. See Resolved Issues | AOS 4.7 on page 6 of Release Notes for details.

Simplified SSD breakfix procedures for Hyper-V

Support for single SSD replacement procedures for Hyper-V clusters.

Support for the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS)

Support for the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), which bundles Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack for easier hybrid cloud configuration. Nutanix offers the CPS Standard version preinstalled on nodes from the factory.

TRIM Support for Acropolis File Services

For Acropolis File Services, the Prism Web Console previously could not show accurate storage consumption as it did not show deleted data. Now, Acropolis File Services introduces TRIM and thin provisioning with 4.7 for better storage. TRIM is enabled by default and communicates free block information to the Prism Web Console from TRIM. AOS then performs storage distribution for better storage consumption.

Whitelist Prism Central and Prism Element to bypass proxy servers

Prism Central and AOS 4.6.2 introduce new nCLI options ncli http-proxy add-to-whitelist / ncli http-proxy delete-from-whitelist. Use the ncli http-proxy add-to-whitelist command to bypass a proxy server used by a Prism Central-managed cluster and allow network traffic between Prism Central and the cluster. Previously, if you attempted to register a cluster that implemented a proxy server, the registration failed. The Prism Central Guide describes how to configure this use case with these new commands.

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