Nutanix is all in one solution building block for virtualization. It allows you to virtualize your workloads without requiring a SAN. This approach allows for many benefits, such as buy what you need, when you need it and a reduction in complexity around architecture and operations. I see Nutanix as perfect fit for VDI and Cloud workloads. Where there is uncertainty in the workload and large scale is needed, Nutanix can make a great fit.
Below is how their storage works inside of their 2U building blocks that contain 4 separate nodes. The Name of operating system Nutanix runs on is called HOT(Heat Optimized Tiering). The controller VM is the magic sauce of the operation. All the I\O flows through the controller VM. As data is written to the Fusion-IO card and then is serialized. When the data is cold , it will be laid out to disk in a nice clean format.
The SATA SSD is for ESXi, the Controller VM and VM Swap, nothing else gets to live here.
Nutanix was built around iSCSI but now have the ability to run NFS as well. Nutanix calls their implementation of NFS, NDFS. It’s a really crazy bit of abstraction. Each VM is basically getting its own iSCSI LUN. Of course you don’t see any of that under the covers stuff. With their release of NDFS they have re-written the standard NFS code to turn allow for better performance. NFS was built to house thousands and thousands of files, today with virtualization it’s almost the opposite. With VMware we have large files, known as VMDK’s that containerize all the smaller files. Nutantix has tuned their implementation of NFS to work with few files large files instead of the old paradigm. NDFS can localize NFS client-server communication giving it the shortest path on the IO highway at all times.
Nutanix supports VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration )and VCAI (View Composer Array Integration) and provide thier own command line interface called nCLI.
Some other articles on Nutanix
Check out all the inter-workings in this Video from Tech Fied day