Mar
    31

    Docker and Virtualization – Both are needed

    Today we released the Nutanix Next Community Podcast on Docker. Our guest was Nigel Poulton who I was lucky enough to first meet at a Tech Field Day event back in 2012. Nigel has a couple of courses available on Docker at Pluralsight and has great insight knowing Docker and spending a ton of time working with infrastructure.

    You can check out the full podcast on iTunes or here:
    docker

    A question that gets raised will Docker cut into a significant portion of the virtualization game? Will Hyper-V and VMware lose potential revenue to people running docker? It’s a hard question to answer and I think we tried to address it in the podcast in a round about way. Unless your a Joyent and doing something very custom like with their SmartOS it’s doubtful to me. Developers don’t tend to manage infrastructure and DevOps is only a buzz word for a lot Enterprises. Enterprises tend to be slow moving so a common management platform is important and that tends to be the virtualization layer. If the delvoplers didn’t already move out and consume public cloud resources, virtualiaztion will still be needed. There were lots of reason why people moved away from bare metal installs and lots of those same reasons still apply. Yes Docker can provide isolation but host management, security and protecting the workloads are still very important. You still need to backup and manage your images and any persistent data that may be stored. Does it make sense to make for a Enterprise Plus license from VMware to run Docker? Probably not but maybe there is the right use case. I am still need to get my head around Docker Swarm \ lattice and how it will all tie together. Like AWS, I see Xen and KVM based hypervisors flourishing here. Get the features that you lose out on from going bare-metal and but lower the cost. This is were I can see people still running Docker on a virtualized host because of the familiarity with the management layer.

    From a Nutanix perspective whichever hypervisor you want to run, ESXi, Hyper-V or KVM you get:

    • Per VM Management, per disk level metrics
    • Hardware Management thru one-click upgrades
    • Auto-scale your infrastructure thru the Prism UI or API’s
    • Snapshots/backup – think protecting your private repository
    • Network/Security Management

    Docker Resources
    Want to Learn Docker – Look no Furthur!
    Docker on Windows – Some Insight
    Nigel Poulton Blog
    Pluralsight Video – Docker Deep Dive
    First Look: Native Docker Clustering

    Have a comment, please add it!

    Mar
    16

    VMware Horizon DaaS 6.1 – 100 Full Clone Desktops deployed on Nutanix [4:36]

    100 Full clone desktops in 4:36 minutes using VAAI on Nutanix. Low impact and high data reduction for full clone desktops.

    Mar
    12

    VMware App Volumes on Nutanix Best Practices with #UberAgent

    Well I am happy to say there really isn’t a lot of knowledge needed to wrap up the best practices for running App Volumes on Nutanix.

    In general create 1 container for all of your App Stacks and turn on inline dedupe(Performance Tier). Could you put the App Stacks on the same volume as your desktops? Sure but then you can’t inline dedupe with no performance penalty. By turning inline dedupe on any time you go to create or update your App Stacks your applications will get fingerprinted. When the App Stack gets attached to your desktop it will be a read heavy workload. Any reads that have fingerprints associated with them will go into the content cache which is deduped on read. Your applications have a great chance to be served out of RAM instead of SSD or HDD! The RAM happens to be sitting right beside the CPU so you’ll save some CPU cycles to boot from the Nutanix Controller Virtual Machine(CVM). With the use of Nutanix Shadow Clones all of the caching can be done locally regardless of were the AppStack vmdk is being hosted.

    Because you don’t have to keep inline dedupe turned on you can turn on inline compression for desktops. VAAI and inline compression will save a ton space if your plan on doing full clone desktops. The space saved will allow you not to buy storage heavy nodes and save on power and cooling too. VAAI can save around 20X of space and inline compression can save over 2X plus performance improvements if you’re moving big files around on the desktops.

    Inline Compression Savings

    Inline Compression Savings

    I was running Uber Agent and Splunk to grab some results when I was working on Horizon DaaS thanks to Helge Klein . There is a ton of information that the Uber Agent can grab for you.

    Here are the log on times for 300 users in a 48 minute window generated with LoginVSI and inline compression turned on.

    UberAgent - Logon Times

    UberAgent – Logon Times

    I found attaching an App Stack to a desktop added just under 2s to the logon time compared to applications that were nativity installed. Pretty small penalty if you consider the consequence of updating your apps with View Composer or traditional methods.

    One graph that I thought was super interesting that was generated UberAgent was the Total Start IO. The total number of IOs generated from the applications starting up.

    UberAgent - showing how IOs are used starting applications

    UberAgent – showing how IOs are used starting applications

    Imagine if you could get all of those IOs severed from a dedupe RAM cache? :-)

    The below graph is taken from the Prism UI. It shows in blue the hit rate in the content cache which is over 97% and the green line shows the hits.

    App Stacks being delivered with RAM

    App Stacks being delivered with RAM

    The below picture shows the physical savings with inline dedupe turned on from a performance perspective. You can also manually fingerprint your golden image since it won’t be changing much and also enjoy the benefits of inline dedupe without the overhead.

    Inline dedupe saving  from the applications and fingerprinting the golden image.

    Inline dedupe saving from the applications and fingerprinting the golden image.

    The next graph is just the total number of IOPS. Why? Because everyone loves IOPS! Just over 4,500 IOPS. I turned off video during the test so more time could be spent launching applications.

    totalIO

    To recap, 1 container for all of your applications and turn on inline deupe => done.

    Mar
    10

    The Nutanix Next Community Podcast – 14, 30min shows

    Here is a listing of the latest guests that have been on the podcast so far. Next week we have Douglas Brown from dabcc.com. Load them on your phone for the drive home.

    The full list is at https://soundcloud.com/nutanixnext

    Mar
    09

    Nutanix News – New NuSchool Video’s, Yahoo Japan and getting your DC fit.

    Over the last week a new video on Protection domains was added online.

    NuSchool – Protection Domains

    The Nutanix Bible was also updated to highlight data path redundancy:

    Yahoo Japan Corporation announced it’s deployment using the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform for desktop virtualization. The article talks about why Nutanix was selected and the VDI Assurance program that Nutanix offers. < Read more here >

    Marketing is starting a new campaign to get your data center fit. Looks to be some sweet swag but I would also like to point out the new TCO work that has been done as well. Check both out, old boring topics made fun.

    tco

    Mar
    02

    Nutanix Cloud Connect – EBS & S3

    Using a cloud destination like AWS to provide on-demand backup is quick and easy to provide protection for your important workloads. Nutanix customers can maintain and manage their infrastructure though Prism like they have always done before. Nutanix hides the complexity by using Prism to have all Async Remote site appear the same way one once the site is setup. Additional physical gear can be avoided and existing datacenter floor space can be saved for running workloads. The inclusion of Cloud Connect can help ensure recovery from large outages as AWS provides added value of having worldwide availability zones.

    aws-backup

    Data that is sent across the WAN can be compressed and the granularity of what is sent is at the byte level. If 32K of data is changed Nutanix will send 32K of data. If only 4K of data is changed then we will only send 4K of data.

    One physical Nutanix cluster can replicate too many remote AWS clusters(no limits); however, today one remote AWS instance can only replicate to one physical cluster.

    The NOS instance uses both Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage) and Amazon S3( Simple Storage Service) for data. EBS is used to store the metadata for the cluster and is stored on SSD. For added resiliency the EBS metadata is snapshotted every time a replication occurs to prevent against corruption that might be caused by AWS. Only 1 snapshot is kept at a time. When the next replication occurs the old snapshot will get deleted after a successful replication.

    The replicated user data from the local site is stored in S3 buckets. The NOS instance will get attached a thin provisioned 100 TB thin provisioned disk called the Cloud Disk. Janus helps to identify the disk either local, S3 or Azure based for support of future releases.

    Nutanix provides the automation to maintain your AWS sites with a script that is stored on the AWS Controller Virtual Machine to delete all EBS and S3 storage. This prevents an accidental data deletion on the remote cluster if someone accidental deletes the AWS remote site in the Prism UI.

    All information based on NOS 4.1.1

    More Information on Cloud Connect: 

    Janus – Nutanix Cloud Management Service

    Feb
    28

    Nutanix Cloud Management Service – Janus

    Providing backup services into Amazon is made simple by the deployment of the Nutanix Controller Virtual Machine (CVM) into Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Deployment is handled by using the Prism UI and supplying the customers Amazon Web Services (AWS) access key and secret key to give a fully automated solution. Under the covers the automation is provided by a new cluster service in NOS 4.1 named Janus. Janus is the Nutanix Cloud Management Service, it will provide the framework for transport between private and public clouds.

    janus


    The Janus services are exposed via cerebro which allows customer to use the same Prism interface to manage their environments.

    The Janus service is responsible for:
    • Managing AWS credentials
    • Listing AWS regions
    • Listing Nutanix Amazon Machine Image (AMI)
    • Deploying & configuring a Nutanix CVM on EC2 ( no limits, deploy one to every region if you want)
    • List Nutanix Instances
    • Start and stop Nutanix instances

    More details to follow in an upcoming Tech Note.

    Feb
    17

    Prism Central offers first class security for your customers with VMware Horizon Air

    Prism Central is a powerful management tool that allows administrators to centrally manage and control Nutanix clusters around the world from a single pane of glass. It removes the operational complexity from managing multiple clusters in a single location, or when geographically distributed across different datacenters. Combined with VMware Horizon Air both the service provider and customer\tenants get flexibility without sacrificing security.

    The platform-agnostic HTML5-based interface provides a bird’s-eye view of IT resources across multiple clusters, enabling administrators to select and manage individual clusters as required. Single sign-on streamlines large-scale management by eliminating the need to log into each cluster individually. Prism Central also gives administrators an aggregate view of all resources in the environment to quickly and efficiently monitor all VMs and storage resources and identify potential issues in individual clusters. It can be deployed in any one of the Nutanix clusters in the global environment.

    Prism Central enables service providers to offer physical, isolated environments for all of their tenants without the worry of increased management costs. Tenants can be given read-only access to their clusters and additional time managing reservations can be avoided as the failure domain is isolated to the tenant. Tenants needing the newest features can move quickly to new releases without impacting the rest of the environment. Today over 100 clusters can be managed with Prism Central.

    Prism Centeral

    This is the only hyper-converged platform that allows this type of management without imposing restrictions on the vSphere cluster design. Some customers may want their own vCenter(s), some may want to split compute clusters for different departments and some may never even want to see vCenter.

    Feb
    16

    Nutanix News – Omega NorthFace Award, Cumulus Networks & Security Updates

    NorthFace
    For the second year in a row, Nutanix has won the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award from The Omega Management Group in recognition of our outstanding customer service and support throughout 2014. The NorthFace ScoreBoard Award recognizes organizations that not only offer exemplary customer service, but also centers their raison d’etre around a deep commitment to exceeding customer expectations. When the Nutanix Sales rep says one throat to choke they really mean it! <read more here>

    Webinar: Deploying True Hyper Convergence with Open Networking(Clumulus)
    Yes, it’s a webinar and I know that just gets your motoring going but you should really think about attending this one. Damien Philip, the person presenting on behalf of Nutanix has been with the company almost from the start. Systems Engineer now, he was in support for over 2 years. Prior to his role at Nutanix, he was a Lead Cisco UCS Solutions Architect responsible for implementing the VMworld 2009 Data Center and for configuring the MDS SAN switching fabric for the show which became the highlight of VMworld 2009 as it was built in under 2 months from planning to finish. Should be a great session.

    The charter of the nSERT (Nutanix Security Engineering and Research Team)organization is to invoke the most agile and comprehensive security best practices into Nutanix development culture for the benefit of our customers. The nSERT was able patch GHOST (glibc heap buffer overflow vulnerability) which CAN be exploited by unauthenticated user. The list of affected systems was pretty large, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 & 7, CentOS 6 & 7, Ubuntu 12.04. It someone tells you it’s OK to ignore this just run away really fast because they’re about to had you a USB key with free anti-virus software.

    Feb
    13

    End User Computing Podcast Kick-Off!

    Announcing the End User Computing Podcast!

    The End User Computing Podcast (www.eucpodcast.com) is a community driven podcast for IT Professionals. The content covered on the EUC Podcast is primarily geared toward community support and enablement for application, desktop, and server virtualization technologies. Comments and community interactions are strongly encouraged to keep the authors honest and non-biased toward the vendors and technologies being covered. While the EUC Podcast is an independent community driven podcast, SME’s vendor preferences and strengths may be presumed based on active projects and topic areas covered. As unaffiliated technologists, EUC Podcast encourages the authors to discuss a wide variety of vendors and products based on current or upcoming engagements. Like most things in my life I won’t be first! I have to miss the first one due to Family Day in Canada and I am not going to wage that war with the Mrs. :-) As you can see below the cast if pretty amazing.

    The first episode of the EUC Podcast will be streamed live on Monday February 16th at 20:30 GMT (12:30PM Pacific, 3:30PM Eastern). To watch and participate in the podcast live, go to www.eucpodcast.com. It will be recorded live via Google Hangout and delivered in audio Podcast format with EUC experts from around the world including:
    DANE YOUNG (@youngtech) | STEVE GREENBERG (@stevegreenberg) | CLÁUDIO RODRIGUES (@crod) | ANDREW WOOD (@gilwood_cs) | CHRIS ROGERS (@citrixjedi) | DWAYNE LESSNER (@dlink7) | BARRY COOMBS (@virtualisedreal) | THOMAS POPPELGAARD (@_poppelgaard) | MIKE NELSON (@nelmedia) | ALEXANDER ERVIK JOHNSEN (@ervik)

    More about the EUC Podcast…

    This episode will be available via iTunes and other RSS/Podcast applications on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc. To subscribe, go to http://eucpodcast.itvce.com/subscribe/

    To participate in the live stream, go to www.eucpodcast.com during the live stream. We will be interacting via Twitter hashtag #EUCPodcast with an embedded Crowd Chat: https://www.crowdchat.net/EUCPodcast

    Click here to add this event to your calendar (Download .ICS file).

    As part of the podcast, we will be doing introductions, talking about news and announcements, and introducing a segment called Ask the EUC Experts! where audience and community members have an opportunity to submit questions or podcast topics via the web form.

    If you have any comments, questions, or want to learn more, feel free to use the comments section below to leave us your feedback!

    Thanks and we look forward to seeing you on Monday the 16th at 20:30 GMT!