Nutanix on Scaling Horizon Mirage

Nutanix was the first vendor to release a VMware Horizon Reference Architecture (RA) laying out the suite on one Nutanix Block, including Horizon Data and providing load test data in the RA. There was one piece that was left out, Horizon Mirage. Horizon Mirage today was built for physical PC’s but some people in the community have already talked about how to make it work with Horizon View, including VMware employees. Mirage can be used to help manage Branch Office Desktops(BOD) utilizing VDI and Nutanix has a co-authored solution for BOD with VMware but this post is focusing on Mirage with Physical PC’s

VMware Horizon Suite Reference Architecture

VMware Horizon Suite Reference Architecture

Mirage is a great technology to help with user migration off XP to Windows 7 and really helps in places where VDI doesn’t fit a the use case for an organization. Nutanix can help add value to Mirage installs by our built in compression and the ability to turn our HotCache into plain jane PCI-e Server flash to reap the benefits of additional performance and space saving. Nutanix can also makes a great fit because Mirage architecture benefits from a of scale out approach for large deployments creating a Mirage cluster. Nutanix is the home for scale out when running virtual workloads.

Mirage Local Cache, is a storage of popular data blocks used by the Mirage Server to perform data deduplication over the WAN. When large files are transferred, their blocks are put into the cache and the next time similar files need to be transferred, the Mirage Server uses the cache to get the blocks instead of transferring them over the network. It is good practice to keep the cache on fast storage (Nutanix Hot Cache). It’s recommend by VMware to set the local cache to 100 GB.

The Mirage local cache doesn’t need to be highly available, so on the Nutanix Cluster we can turn on our replication factor to 1 to save space and give additional performance without any impact. If you’re running multiple Mirage Servers the local cache is not synchronized so there will be no additional network traffic. You can warm up your cache if your deploying multiple mirage servers by simply copying the folder to the other hosts.

Create a new container and mount the new NFS volume it to all your ESXi hosts via our UI.
Change the replication factor to 1 via the Nutanix Command Line.
ncli ctr edit id= rf=1

ncli ctr edit id= enable-oplog-ha=false

Add a secondary vmdk for a new drive to have the local cache to live on for the Mirage Server.
Change the path to the appropriate drive letter you added to your Mirage Server.

Remember to change the Drive Letter!

Remember to change the Drive Letter!


Exclude the Mirage Server folders when using anti-vrius, including the local cache directory (for example, C:\ProgramData\Wanova Mirage\LocalCache) and process from scanning (Wanova.Server.Service.exe).

Create a 2nd new container “MirageStorage” and mount the new NFS volume to all your ESXi hosts via our UI. You also want to skip sequential writes from the performance tier for the MirageStorage container. Nutanix is able to sense the write pattern and adjust the workload according. We can skip the high performance tier because we are already using it as our local cache on the Mirage Server.
Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 9.49.54 PM

Turn on inline compression for the NFS volume that you will be using to deploy out the CIFS\SMB share.

nci ctr edit name="MirageStorage" enable-compression=true

Data is compressed as it is written (synchronously) to optimize capacity and to maintain high performance for sequential I/O operations. The Mirage options are heavy sequential so this will give huge dividends.

What you can expect to see for compression savings

What you can expect to see for compression savings

Our effective storage is already impressive with one block, when our storage heavy arrives it will really bolster heavy capacity requirements.


  1. […] my previous post I had talked about how to setup caching on Nutanix. Here we are creating two 1 TB drives to our […]

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