Commvault IntelliSnap and Nutanix Video

    A quick how to video and it even shows how you could restore to Amazon if needed.


    Docker, Docker, Docker!


    Well it really has been too long since I looked at Docker. I posted on great course and podcast that I did then haven’t really done much sense other than read about it in the news.

    I found myself looking at this post because of the length of time away to get started again -> Docker on CentOS. The reason for me using CentOS is because Nutanix CVM which has three STIGS is based off CentOS. I have grand hopes we can use this same image to provide containers sometime in the future. Currently its just wishful thinking but it sounds like a great idea.

    I think its important as an infrastructure person to pay attention to the developers of the world. Developers really do dictate hardware demands in one form or another. My plan is write about Docker for infrastructure folks. My eyes are going crossed from lack of sleep so until next time check out the new Best Practice Guide for Docker from Nutanix.


    Commvault Intellisnap Hypervisor Native Backup and Restore For Nutanix

    As of today Nutanix and Commvault Intellisnap support both ESXi and Hyper-V. IntelliSnap backup enables you to create a point-in-time snapshot of the data used for backups. An effective way to back up live data is to quiesce it temporarily, take a snapshot, and then resume live operations. This avoids the pain of hypervisor based snapshot getting in the way of your backup. Why is this big deal? Extra IO would have to used collapsing the hypervisor based snapshot while the full backup would take place. The hypervisor snapshot still happens but it brief.

    How does it work?


    1) CommServer Requests the Proxy Agent to backup a VM.
    2) VSA Proxy Agent requests the host to create the snapshot of the VM. (The Media agent is also installed with the VSA but your don’t need to size for it.)
    3) Host uses VMware Tools to take an App-consistent snapshot of the selected VMs
    4) Proxy Agent requests the Nutanix to take the storage snapshot of the associated containers. (IntelliSnap). VMware’s VM Snapshot is removed and consolidated.
    5) Proxy Agents mounts the container snapshot, performs the indexing. Metadata relationship between commvault snapshot and Nutanix snapshot/PD is maintained.
    6) Commvault backup policies determines to backup the VMs from the snapshot to media, and/or retain the snapshot without backing up.
    Intellisnap is VADP snapshot aware.

    Notes for Step 2 – you need to install the Media Agent component where the proxy agent (VSA) is. That doesn’t need to be the same media agent that’s storing the data, but it’s the package that needs to be installed to facilitate the snapshot functionality for the agent. This is because the media agent contains the code and add-ons that facilitate the snapshot management.

    Notes for Step 5 – its optional to do the indexing, but you don’t lose the ability to do a granular restore of files within the guest. You can choose to index the data from the hardware snapshot, OR you can perform the indexing “live” when you need to perform a restore. The tradeoff for the latter is waiting a few minutes to mount the VM and open the disk to browse the contents rather than looking at it from a pre-built index. The recommendation (and default) is the latter option, especially with Nutanix since NFS makes this a much quicker process, and you save some time during the backup by not having to do the indexing of the files within the virtual machine. One great benefit of both indexing options is that there is no need for any agents – not even temporary ones, which means less headaches administering VM credentials etc.

    Thanks to Damian Andre from Commvault and Jerome Joseph from Nutanix in helping me understand some of the nuances.

    Check back here because this story will get even better in a couple of weeks, wink wink.


    Hadoop For Free: Skip Flash

    I see more and more people looking at getting started with Hadoop but it can be risky if you don’t have the skills and time in your organization. To top that off you have to buy new equipment that will mostly likely only be used 20% of the time.

    It takes more resources and time when deploying Hadoop for the first time.

    It takes more resources and time when deploying Hadoop for the first time.

    Nutanix has always supported mixed workloads but Hadoop can be blunt force trauma on storage for a variety reasons:

    1) Hadoop was never built for shared storage, it was architect around data locality which is core architectural design feature of Nutanix.

    2) Large ingest and working sets can destroy the storage cache for your remaining workloads. With Nutanix you can bypass the Flash tier for sequential traffic. If the workloads was sized properly the HDDs are usually relative inactive as they are meant to be cold storage. Using the idle disk for Hadoop will give infrastructure and hadoop teams the ability to test the waters before carrying on.

    In the case of customers running NX-8150, they might never need to buy extra nodes for compute. With 20 HDDs at your disposable the raw disk gives great performance with out flash. If your performance is fine running just from HDD you can save additional cost by adding storage only nodes. The storage only nodes don’t require additional licensing from Cloudera or Hortonworks.

    While the HDD are idle, the, hadoop admins will play.

    While the HDD are idle, the, hadoop admins will play.

    DSFIO Test
    Performance on Cloudera with 4 nodes of NX-8150 using no flash

    Green = Writes Blue = Reads

    Green = Writes
    Blue = Reads

    In the above case CPU was only at 50% so you could run additional workloads even while Hadoop was running. If your goal is just Test/Dev you can also turn HDSF replication factor to 1 since Nutanix provides enterprise class redundancy already. When you add in erasure encoding the effective capacity will be less than 2X compared to 3X with traditional hadoop.


    Please hit me up on twitter @dlink7 if you have any questions.



    Nutanix VirtIO for Windows

    Nutanix has released VirtIO for Windows. I am still seeing people finding versions off the web which is fine but it could lead to other support issues. The Nutanix version is a qualified distribution of Windows drivers for AHV’s paravirtual devices. The automatic installer makes it pretty easy for anyone to get started. Both an ISO and MSI are available.

    You can download the drivers from the support portal.



    STAY-FIT: Getting Ready For What Is Next in Prism

    Nutanix Engineering has been working at a blistering speed to further the ease of use of the XCP platform. Nutanix was accepted to present at the BayLearn Symposium this last October to highlight it’s new machine learning algorithm being used in search and capacity trending. I sat in a engineering meeting getting an overview but lets be honest, a lot of it was over my head. Like most things at Nutanix it’s great that the end user doesn’t need to know the inner working to use the product; however, we are always willing to share, case in point the Nutanix Bible.

    From a high level – “STAY-FIT: Seasonal Time Series Analysis and Forecasting using Tournament Selection” is an algorithm to forecast “yearly”, “quarterly”, “monthly” and “other” time series. We also used STAY-FIT to forecast our customer data. STAY-FIT predictions outperformed the best existing algorithm (THETA) with testing demoed at the Baylearn conference.

    STAY-FIT is:
    • Self learning from data and capable of optimally choosing the right set of models for forecasting;
    • Scalable to handle web-scale applications;
    • Capable of online real-time predictions.

    STAY-FIT is the core algorithm for predictive analysis that’ll be shipped as part of Capacity Analytics on Prism Central in the next release. You can check out the below demo that was presented live at our first user conference. More Nutanix goodness to come.

    A copy of the STAY-FIT paper can be found on: http://www.baylearn.org/schedule


    Horizon Toolbox 2

    To be honest I never knew this tool existed before today. Remote assistance has always been a hassle when doing troubleshooting shooting so I look forward to giving this a spin.

    New features in 2.0

    Console Access
    – List all VMs for desktop pools, and you can filter VMs by VM name or DNS name.
    – Clicking the VM name, the vSphere console for that VM will pop out.
    Power-on policy
    – Lists all desktop pools and their power policies.
    – Power Policy can power on all VMs in a desktop pool with some schedule, like 8:00 AM on all work days.
    – You can setup power policy for each desktop pool.
    Client IP address auditing
    List detailed information for all broker sessions, including user name, Client IP addresses, login time and log out time.

    Installation file
    – GUI installation process

    Auditing performance
    – Compared with toolbox 1.5, auditing performance has been enhanced due to improved SQL query.

    Remote assistance
    – Update the workflow so it’s more stable with Windows Remote Assistance. In addition, installation on helpdesk is no longer needed
    – Compatibility improvement for different Horizon View version
    – The end user side installer makes sure Windows Remote Assistance model is correctly configured.

    Toolbox Download

    Nutanix View 6 Reference Architecture


    Manage 100 Clusters Around the World with Prism Central

    Nutanix provides an option to monitor and manage multiple clusters through a single web console. The multicluster view, known as Prism Central, is a centralized management tool that runs as a separate VM. Prism Central provides the following features:

    * Single sign on for all registered clusters
    * Summary dashboards across all clusters with health, activity, performance, and utilization information
    * Multicluster analytics capabilities
    * One click access to the web console for a cluster
    * Easy ability to switch between clusters

    With the default memory configuration of 8GB, Prism Central can support a maximum of 50 clusters. By increasing memory capacity to 16GB and expanding its virtual disk to 320GB (60GB + data partition of 260GB), Prism Central can support a maximum of 100 clusters. The actual numbers may be higher but this is what has been tested in house. You need to resize the partition so it best to log a ticket into support at they can quickly help you out.



    Leading Canadian Service Provider Agilis Networks Runs Nutanix XCP

    agilisIt’s great to hear success stories in the service provider space other than AWS. Agilis Networks needed a new more resilient storage solution that was powerful and responsive enough to support all of their external b2b platforms. Making money for them was also not spending countless hours fixing problems, the promise of hyper-converged with web-scale properties made Nutanix the right choice.

    In the Agilis Networks business model, customers can buy cycles all the way up to the VMs, according to Frescura. “We provide data center hosting, power, air conditioning, server cycles, and VMs to our customers,” he explained. “But unlike a much larger service, we don’t serve hundreds or thousands of customers. We aren’t a commodity provider, we only serve clients with very rigorous up time requirements. We o er a very high level of reliability and redundancy,so our solution is the perfect fit for customers that need a robust service.

    Using Nutanix Prism
    Agilis Networks is now using the Nutanix Prism interface to manage the environment. “We keep an eye on the messages and alerts, and our storage admin checks in about once a day just to make sure everything is good,” Frescura said. “There haven’t been any problems since we deployed the systems, but it’s always reassuring to see the statistics. It really is a set it and forget it platform.”

    Working with Nutanix Channel Partner of the year for 2014 and 2015, Zycom Technologies, Nutanix was selected as the best solution to meet their needs. As well as obtaining high availability for all of their applications, they have reduced their datacenter footprint by 3x and seen significant savings in power costs.

    Check out an on-demand webinar in your area of interest:



    Your Infrastructure Platform Of Choice – Podcast & Video with Swiss Lottery

    Reasons to Make Acropolis your infrastructure platform of choice – Nutanix Community Podcast Episode 31 This week we chat with Sudarshan Srinivasan about Nutanix Acropolis and Prism. This podcast will form the base as we go deeper into the technical areas that make up Acropolis, App Mobility Fabric, distributed storage fabric and the Acropolis hypervisor.

    Below is a video on Why Swiss Lottery selected the Acropolis Hypeviosr for their infrastructure