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 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 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.

Nutanix Acropolis 101: Creating VMs

Now that Nutanix Acropolis is shipping with NOS 4.1.3, I wanted to cover a few basics in a series of blog posts. Most of you won’t be familiar with Acropolis, which is based on KVM. If you’ve used KVM in the past, you will know how difficult it can be. Acropolis removes much of the complexity and headache. So for my first installment, I wanted to do something very basic: Upload an ISO to the Nutanix cluster which I could use to image a VM, then create a VM and install the OS from the ISO.

Please take note that the Acropolis road map is quite detailed with many major enhancements in both terms of features and ease of use. So in a few months this procedure will probably change, particularly around ISO management. But 4.1.3 is shipping today, so here’s what you need to do. This assumes you have a running  Nutanix cluster imaged with Acropolis/KVM.

1. From your Windows machine launch WinSCP. Enter the hostname/IP of your Acropolis cluster, change the port to 2222, then use a username of ‘admin’ and your cluster password. WinSCP should then connect to NDFS.

2. Once WinSCP connects, in the right pane you will see a list of containers. If no containers exist, then you have a brand new cluster and need to go into PRISM and create a storage pool and container. Refreshing WinSCP may not reveal the new container(s), so you may need to reconnect to see them. I went into my first container and created a directory called “ISO”.

3. Next, in the left pane of WinSCP navigate to your ISO(s) and drag them into the right pane. Wait for the upload process to complete.

Note: In NOS 4.5 we will be adding a PRISM ISO upload option, so you won’t need to resort to WinSCP for uploading your ISOs. There’s also some cool feature in the future around ISO libraries that is in the works.

4. Login into PRISM (the Nutanix GUI not the NSA spy tool). From the left pull-down menu select “VM”.

2015-07-14_9-04-48

5.  From the left-side menu, select Create VM:

2015-07-14_9-09-38

6. Next up we need to define some VM parameters, such as memory and CPU. Fill in the form as appropriate for your VM.

2015-07-14_9-14-04

7. Next, click on New Disk. The dialog box below opens up. Assuming you’ve already created a container, just enter the size of the disk in GB. All disks are thin provisioned, so no need to select various format types.

2015-07-14_9-16-09 8. After the disk is created, we now need to add a NIC. If this is the first VM you have created, and haven’t yet defined any networks, we need to define a network to attach the VM to. You can of course have different networks, each associated with a different VLAN.  Click on “New NIC”, then you will see the box below.

2015-07-14_12-37-28

Because we have no networks, click on “Add Network”. Add the relevant VLAN ID and close the dialog box. Note, in NOS 4.5 you will be able to define network names, so you won’t have to rely on remembering long UUIDs.

9. Now, if you followed my article to inject the VirtIO drivers into your Windows ISO, then configure the CD-ROM to mount your ISO image from the NDFS datastore. If you have a virgin Windows ISO image and didn’t inject the drivers, then you can mount a second CD-ROM to the VM. In this second CD-ROM mount your VirtIO ISO image.

10. Power on the VM, and wait for Windows to boot. When you get to the “Where do you want to install Windows?” screen you have two option. First, if you created your custom Windows ISO then your boot disk should be listed and you can proceed as normal. If you are relying on the second CD-ROM, then click on Load Driver and browse to the vioscsi driver for the appropriate operating system. Your boot disk should now appear.

2015-07-31_12-33-55

11. Proceed with the Windows installation as normal. Once Windows is fully installed, login as administrator.

12. Open the Device Manager, and you will see a NIC under Other Devices with a yellow exclamation point. Right click and update driver software. On the VirtIO CD navigate to the NetKVM folder and appropriate OS. You NIC will now be detected.

2015-07-31_12-49-17

13. Congratulations! You now have a fully functional Acropolis Windows VM. Unlike other hypervisors, you don’t need to install any additional drivers..just SCSI and NIC. Keyboard, video and mouse are all native and should work as expected.

VMTurbo in the Cloud is here

The SaaS market is becoming very popular, and software that was once only on-prem is now migrating to the cloud. I’m excited to announce that with VMTurbo 5.2, it is now offered as SaaS deployment through AWS. This means you can now control your on-prem environment with VMTurbo in the cloud. That sounds like a great combination to me. VMTurbo claims deployment is less than 3 minutes in AWS.

And better then deploying it in 3 minutes, is that for a limited time it is completely free. AWS will still charge you for running the VM, but the VMTurbo license is free. You can check out their full blog post about it here.

I also have it on good authority that an Azure SaaS option is in the works, but not quite ready for GA. So if you are an Azure customer and love VMTurbo, just hold on a bit longer and you will also have a solid deployment option.

On a side note, VMTurbo is also a strong partner with Nutanix. And in fact, a version of VMTurbo that has deep Nutanix support is in early adopter (EA) phase. GA of the Nutanix-aware version is due out in August 2015. So if you are a Nutanix customer and use AWS, shortly you can control your Nutanix clusters from the cloud! Read all about it here.

 

The New High Bar: Nutanix NPX Certification

NPX logoToday Nutanix is proud to announce their Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX) certification. You can read the official press release here. The goal of this certification is to become the most rigorous technical computing qualification in the IT industry. That’s saying a lot, given other live performance based certifications that people are going through today, such as Cisco CCAr and VMware VCDX. They are very rigorous and anyone getting through those live defense processes should be VERY proud of their accomplishments.

Offered at *no charge* this live-defense based certification aims to set the bar even higher, by testing a wider variety of knowledge. For example, you must have “X”-level knowledge of at least two hypervisors of your choice (vSphere, Hyper-V or KVM), “X”-level knowledge of the Nutanix platform, familiar with web-scale concepts, plus the world-class architect and soft consulting skills required for successful global enterprise deployments.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the creation of the NPX program, along with more than a dozen other Nutanix consulting architects, solutions/performance engineers, SEs, and other staff. The bar we set for the minimally qualified candidate is high, comprehensive, and will be a challenge ready for conquering by the brightest minds in the IT industry.

The NPX process consists of two parts: Developing a Nutanix-based enterprise-ready design consisting of a number of documents (see the handbook for more details but this includes a CV, references, emerging technology essay, current state review, migration plan, architecture guide, etc.), submitting that design for review, and then if minimal scoring is met, being invited to defend in front of a live panel. The actual defense will consist of three parts: solution design presentation (90 minutes), hands-on troubleshooting exercise (40 minutes), and quizzing of a 3-tier-to-web-scale migration and second hypervisor solution stack (60 minutes).

During this defense the following skills will be assessed:

Consultation skills

  • Discovery of business requirements
  • Identification of risks and risk elimination or remediation
  • Identification of assumptions and constraints and removal or accommodation in the solution design
  • Incorporation of Web-scale technologies and operational models
  • Evaluation of organizational/operational readiness
  • Migration and transition planning

Conceptual/Logical Design Elements

  • Scalability
  • Resiliency
  • Performance
  • Manageability and Control Plane Architecture
  • Data Protection and Recoverability
  • Compliance and Security
  • Virtual Machine Logical Design
  • Virtual Networking Design
  • Third-party Solution Integration

Physical Design Elements

  • Resource Sizing
  • Storage Infrastructure
  • Platform Selection
  • Networking Infrastructure
  • Virtual Machine Physical Design
  • Management Component Design
  • Datacenter Infrastructure (Environmental and Power)

I was very impressed with the PhD from Alpine Testing that guided us through the rubric creation process, and feel that the result is very fair, relevant, yet obtainable by the right candidate. While there are a set of recommended third-party certifications that the NPX suggests you have passed, there is not a hard requirement to have passed any other third-party certification exam. You must have passed the Nutanix NPP, though.

Click on the graphic below to expand it, and take a look at the recommended primary and secondary certifications. For example, if you wanted to defend on vSphere and Hyper-V, then you should have the skills of a MCSE-Private cloud and VCDX (DCV, DT or Cloud). Again, this is a self-assessment and there is not a hard requirement to have passed these certifications to apply for NPX. But be assured the screening process will weed out those falling short, so don’t think you can fudge it and get NPX certified. Be brutally honest in your self-assessment. 2015-03-13_8-35-27 The screening process for the NPX applications will be comprehensive, and only those meeting a minimum score will be asked to defend. If you don’t meet the documentation bar, or fail the live defense, there are program guidelines for resubmission rules that you can read further about in the NPX documentation. Bottom line, is if you are a Nutanix customer, partner, or work for Nutanix and want to achieve a world class architecture-level certification then download the handbook and read up on exactly what is involved to see if you qualify. If you don’t yet qualify, then get cracking on the requirements, such as “X”-level knowledge of dual hypervisors of your choice.

Personally, I would recommend you actually take and pass the recommended third-party certifications. For example, I found going through the VCDX program to be invaluable on many levels. But Nutanix realizes for various reasons sometimes people can’t sit for those exams (or find little value in multiple choice tests), and we didn’t want that to be a barrier but that in no way lowers the bar since our screening process is very rigorous. Our minimally qualified candidate standard is very high so don’t just throw a 50 page design together and think it can pass.

Other performance based “X” level certification enterprise documentation packages can take months to prepare and run in excess of 200 pages and the NPX certification will be no different. This certification is NOT about showing off your technical prowess, and throwing every possible solution into your design. You shouldn’t include every Nutanix platform in your design, nor should you throw the entire ecosystem of hypervisor products into it either. It’s all about meeting business requirements in an efficient, simple, and easy to manage methodology using a web-scale approach.

To get started on your NPX certification just go to the registration page here. By registering you can download the free NPX Design Review Preparation Guide and the NPX Program Application. You can also contact Mark Brunstad, the NPX Program manager, at npx@Nutanix.com.

If you are aspiring to be an NPX, be sure to check out Rene Van Den Bedem’s NPX Link-o-Rama.

Good luck!

Nutanix Releases NOS 4.1.1

I am very pleased to announce the latest release of the Nutanix Operating System, NOS 4.1.1, is generally available today. Download your copy today! This release offers rich enterprise capabilities to meet the needs of the most demanding applications and critical infrastructure requirements in the datacenter.

Here’s a summary of what’s new in this release.

  • Metro Availability: Nutanix Metro Availability provides continuous data availability for business-critical applications during planned maintenance or unplanned disasters that affect entire sites. Nutanix is the only hyper-converged infrastructure vendor to deliver continuous data protection across multiple datacenters. You can read more about Metro Availability here and here.
  • Cloud Connect: Nutanix Cloud Connect seamlessly integrates public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), with Nutanix-powered private cloud environments. It allows Nutanix customers to combine private and public cloud technology into their long-term infrastructure strategy without requiring third-party software or hard to maintain plug-ins. Read more about Cloud Connect here and here.
  • Encryption Support: Nutanix now provides strong data protection by encrypting user and application data to a level of FIPS 140-2 Level 2 compliance. Data at rest encryption is delivered through self-encrypting drives (SED) that are factory-installed in the Nutanix hyper-converged appliance. Find out more here.
  • Simplified Hypervisor Upgrade: Nutanix radically simplifies the process of upgrading the hypervisor in a Nutanix cluster with this new feature. This release will support upgrade of VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V, with KVM support coming soon. You can read about it here.
  • Security/STIG Enhancements: Nutanix has developed its own comprehensive security technical implementation guides (STIGs) to speed up the accreditation process for DIACAP/DIARMF, which is typically slow and manual. A process that typically takes nine to twelve months can now be accomplished in minutes. Over 500 embedded configuration changes were made to the system for compliance purposes. Major kudos to the security and development teams. Learn more here.
  • Prism Central Scalability: You can now manage up to 100 Nutanix clusters and 10,000 VMs. Prism Central now also supports Hyper-V.
  • Microsoft SCOM Pack: While not part of NOS, coinciding with the 4.1.1 release Nutanix has a Microsoft SCOM pack that monitors both Nutanix hardware and software. Great for Microsoft-centric shops.
  • XenDesktop Plug-In:  Again, while separate from NOS, Nutanix is unique in the industry by releasing a XenDesktop plug-in which enables you to configure per-VM SLAs. This is all configured with a few simple clicks from the XenDesktop Studio.

As part of the ongoing security hardening of NOS, 4.1.1 also addresses several attack vectors for NTP. Nutanix recommends upgrading to 4.1.1 to address these security issues. Certificate management in PRISM has also had a few improvements as well. For a deep dive on additional security information, check out this blog post by Nutanix’s Eric Hammersley. After seeing all the focus around securing our product automating the STIG process, you will agree with me that this is really industry leading.

For a “point” release of NOS, they’ve packed in A LOT of new features plus broader ecosystem support highlighted by the SCOM and XenDesktop add-ons. If you think these features are great, just wait to see what’s in our next point release.

Nutanix and Veeam HyperV Best Practices

Earlier this year I had the distinct pleasure of working with Luca Dell’oca (@Dellock6) from Veeam on a Nutanix + Veeam Backup and Replication + VMware vSphere whitepaper. You can check out that post and whitepaper here. Now, just a few months later, we’ve collaborated on a Nutanix + Veeam + Hyper-V 2012 R2 backup whitepaper. The new whitepaper is available here.

The goal of these two joint whitepapers are to enable our mutual customers deploy Veeam Backup and Replication 7 on Nutanix, when used with the two leading virtualization platforms. Both whitepapers are approximately 20 pages, and go into a lot of great detail. We tested both solutions in the lab, to ensure what we are recommending works in the real world. This is not high level marketing fluff, folks. No fluff zone. We detail the best practices for using Nutanix SMB 3.0 shares with Hyper-V 2012 R2 and Veeam Backup and Replication 7.0.

Veeam is a very popular backup solution, which now has in excess of 101,000 global customers. They are also a sponsor of my blog. The web-scale Nutanix solution and support of the Hyper-V 2012 R2 VSS platform compliment the Veeam Backup and Replication product, to provide a robust backup and restore solution. This allows you to meet your RPO and RTO requirements, in a fully supported and efficient manner. I’ve always been impressed with how easy Veeam is to configure, compared to some of the competition in the market. One of Nutanix’s hallmarks is also uncompromising simplicity, so both products can be quickly and easily deployed.

For those of you familiar with our joint solution for VMware, in there we deployed a small Veeam backup proxy VM on each node which locally backed up the VMs on that node. Hyper-V is a bit different, and actually more streamlined. Veeam installs a tiny backup agent on each Hyper-V parent partition, which handles the backup proxy functions. This means you don’t need to deploy a new VM on each node, saving some physical resources. The model is essentially linear scale-out of your backup infrastructure, distributing the load across your Nutanix nodes. Great complimentary technology in action.

Nutanix CVM

Since Nutanix fully supports multi-hypervisor deployments, it’s great to see the ability to leverage Microsoft VSS snapshots as part of the backup process. Veeam can take application consistent backups of enterprise applications like SQL, Exchange and Active Directory by leveraging Nutanix-based SMB 3.0 VSS snapshots. You are not relegated to just crash consistent backups, which may not meet your organization’s requirements. Support is provided in Nutanix NOS 3.5.4, and later, including 4.0.

VSS

One of the great aspects of our joint whitepaper is the variety of deployment models that we cover. This ranges from an all Nutanix solution, to hybrid using an existing physical Veeam backup server, or a dedicated backup appliance. Every customer is different, and this choice lets you pick which one best fits your environment.

2014-07-09_10-28-14The full gamut of Veeam restore are available to Nutanix customers, including the ability to do fast restores and directly test your backups. No restore modifications are needed if you are using the Nutanix platform.

Best Practice Checklist

As part of the whitepaper we provide a detailed best practices checklist, so you can quickly see what the join solution recommends and make sure you are following them. I won’t cover all 16+ here, but here are some highlights:

  • Use Hyper-V 2012 R2
  • Use a 64-bit operating system for the Veeam server(s)
  • Use Veeam Backup and Replication 7.0 patch 4 (or later)
  • Avoid active full backups and use reversed incrementals or forward incremental with synthetic full
  • Deploy a Veeam proxy agent on each Hyper-V parent partition
  • Configure backup jobs to use VSS for application consistency
  • Use Nutanix NOS 3.5.4 or 4.0 (or later)

Summary

A lot of collaboration went into whitepaper, and went well beyond just Luca and myself writing the paper and getting it out of the door. We also tested the solution in the lab, to verify the settings and software versions worked as advertised. The VMware version of the paper was very well received, and so I hope this Hyper-V version is equally helpful to customers. You can download the full 23 page whitepaper here.

Citrix Validated Solution for Nutanix on Hyper-V

Hot off the Citrix presses is a very thorough solution design document, called Citrix XenDesktop 7.1 on Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 on Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform. Whew, that’s a quite a mouthful. What is it? It’s a document, nearly 100 pages long, detailing how to deploy both Citrix VDI (XenDesktop) and RDS (XenApp) for 1,000 users on the Nutanix platform.

It provides prescriptive guidance for these components including the design, configuration and deployment settings that customers can mirror and quickly adopt for their environment. This reduces risk, decreases deployment time, and increases confidence in the solution as a whole.

Components of the solution included Windows Server 2008 R2 for hosted shared desktops, Windows 7 x64 for hosted virtual desktops, all running on the Nutanix NX-3060 platform. Login VDI was used to simulate the 1,000 user workload for both scenarios. What I really like about the document is how thorough Citrix was in documenting every aspect of the test environment. And by every aspect, I really do mean every aspect.

For example, they list the complete list of required hardware, VM HW specs, load balancing details, user profile types, software versions down to all Windows baseline applications, licensing details, GPOs, NIC teaming setup, Hyper-V storage configuration, VMM configuration, shared folder paths, and a lot more. Everything you need to exactly replicate the configuration is in the document, and that’s no small feat.

I’m not easily impressed, and this document blew me away. The figure below is an example of 1,000 hosted shared desktops, and how they are distributed across several Nutanix nodes. 2014-07-09_13-37-11

And here’s another  diagram from the document showing the various Citrix components and how they relate to each other. 2014-07-09_13-36-40A

If this interests you at all, then I would highly suggest the you checkout all the available resources. This includes a webinar with Nutanix’s Lukas Lundell, a two-page solution brief here, and the complete 90+ page CVS document here. Happy reading!

Veeam Best Practices for VMware on Nutanix

Note: This article has been significantly updated on 4/18/14 with new information, in a great collaborative effort with Luca Dell’Oca (@dellock6) from Veeam. The official whitepaper can be downloaded here.

The goal of the joint whitepaper between Veeam and Nutanix is to help customers deploy Veeam Backup & Replication v7 on Nutanix, when used with VMware vSphere 5.x. This post will highlight some of the major points and how customers can head off some potential issues. The whitepaper covers all the applicable technologies such as VMware’s VADP, CBT, and Microsoft VSS. It also includes and easy to follow checklist of all the recommendations.

Veeam is modern data protection for virtual environments, and are also a great sponsor of my blog. The web-scale Nutanix solution and its data locality technology are complimented by the distributed and scale-out architecture of Veeam Backup & Replication v7. The combined Veeam and Nutanix solutions leverage the strengths of both products to provide network efficient backups to enable meeting recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO) requirements.

The architecture is flexible enough to enable the use of either 100% virtualized Veeam components or a combination of virtual and physical components, depending on customer requirements and available hardware. You could also use existing dedicated backup appliances. In short, our joint solution is flexible enough to meet your requirements and efficiently use your physical assets. For example, if you have requirements for tape-out, then you will need at least one physical server in the mix to connect your library to since tape Fibre Channel/SAS pass-thru is not available in ESXi 5.x.

VeeamOptions

When virtualizing  solution the last thing you want is your backup data stored in the same location as the data you are trying to protect. So the first best practice for a 100% virtualized solution is to use a secondary Nutanix cluster. The cluster would be comprised of at least three Nutanix nodes. This is where the virtualized Veeam Backup & Replication server (along with the data repository), would reside. Should you have a problem with the production Nutanix cluster, your secondary cluster is unaffected. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up and your retention policies, you may or may not want the same Nutanix hardware models as your production cluster. For example, you may want to consider the 6000 series hardware which are ‘storage heavy’ for your secondary cluster. The following figure depicts a virtualized Veeam backup solution.

NutanixVeeam

In case you aren’t familiar with Nutanix, on each node (server) there is a controller VM which services all I/Os for the VMs running on that host. Performance scales out as you add nodes, since you are adding more controllers. You are not bottlenecked like with legacy SANs which typically only have two controllers. You can see this in the diagram above, where there are three controller VMs, one per node. Two of the controllers (CVMs) are in the production cluster and one in the secondary cluster. A Nutanix cluster requires a minimum of three nodes, so for two clusters a total of six nodes is required.

Since the first version of this post, Veeam and Nutanix have done more testing and gathered feedback from the field. As a result, the second best practice is now recommending to use “Network mode” backups and not Hot-add (also known as Virtual Appliance mode). Why? For medium to large scale deployments this results in a higher backup reliability.  When used with the Nutanix 10Gb NICs, it still has great performance. The primary goal of this joint paper is to provide a solid solution that customers can use, and this highlights our collaborative efforts.

Network mode connects to each ESXi host through the VMkernel management interface. So the third best practice is to make sure your ESXi management interfaces are using the 10Gb NICs and not the 1Gb NICs. The following screenshot shows one of the many possible NIC configurations. Here I’m showing the 10Gb NICs as active adapters, with our 1Gb NICs in standby. This is not a required configuration, but just an example. If you have ESXi enterprise plus, this could be a great time to look at Load Based teaming, if you aren’t already using it.

NICS

The fourth best practice is for the Veeam repository server, where I recommend adding dedicated VMDK(s) that use the PVSCSI controller. The PVSCSI controller is more CPU efficient under high IOPS load as my colleague Michael Webster blogged about here. I’d also recommend using vSphere 5.5, where a single VMDK can exceed 2TB. That enables larger backup repositories, which you may need in medium to large environments.

Finally, backing up your data has little value if you can’t restore it. When using Veeam Backup and Replication with Nutanix, I’m please to say that the full spectrum of restore options are at your fingertips with no special procedures required. For example, you can use Veeam’s vPower NFS technology, instant VM recovery, file-level restores, and U-AIR. Nutanix also fully supports all the application consistency options that Veeam offers their customers. So you can fully backup your Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, Active Directory, and other applications in a logically consistent manner.

The forthcoming whitepaper has a lot more detail, and other recommendations regarding backup types, operating systems, and version of Nutanix OS that we recommend. Once the full best practices guide is published I’ll add a link to this post. This has been a great collaborative effort with Luca Dell’Oca from Veeam, and you can grab your copy here.

© 2017 - Sitemap