Archives for December 2013


Nutanix: Scale Out Doesn’t Mean Addtional Licensing

man-pantsIt’s that time of year where you can feel like you’re being squeezed from every direction. Hypervisor costs don’t have to be apart of the equation however. Being on lots of sales calls, a common misconception is that if you want to add more storage to Nutanix to also have to pay for more hypervisor licensing. This is not true.

The Nutanix virtual storage controllers don’t relay on any hypervisor management features for the features to work. No vCenter, no SCVMM, and WebVirtMgr(KVM) is needed to run the Nuntanix Operating System(NOS). NOS upgrades are handled without interaction from the hypervisor. The Nutanix AutoPath features allows for seamless upgrades in a non-disruptive fashion.

With vSphere the hypervisor can be upgraded in a rolling fashion using the virtual storage controllers as the focus point. The virtual storage controllers maintain a list of the hypervisors forming the cluster so you can easily run esxcli commands to update the hosts.

Hyper-V can be ran with the core edition and running Linux VM’s don’t require licensing.

KVM no licences to worry about to my knowledge.(I am not strong in this area so Linux folks please chime in)

The 6020 from Nutanix offers 20% more storage than the 6050(for running server workloads), 30% less compute capacity and can be ordered with only 32 GB of RAM. Nutanix has background processes to move the cold data to the new nodes. Flash on the 6020 can be used by remote nodes if their local flash is full, the 6020 can help participate in replication to reduce hot spots in data protection. Spare compute can be used by vSphere vDR or Veeam Backup/DR products for recovery.

If your up on your orchestration you can also add automatically add the Nutanix nodes to your hypervsisopr management platform of choice based using the Nutanix REST-API.

Any other questions about Nutanix and\or maintaining an environment please leave a comment.


EUC TIP 89: Embarrassingly Parallel Processing for Microsoft RDS

Hyper-V 2012 defaults to deploying VM’s one at time, slow and steady. If you think about it, that can be a lot if you have a 64 host cluster you are deploying desktops too. Nutanix runs a virtual storage controller on each node/server so we handle a little bit of blunt force trauma without wiping out the rest of the workloads. You can refer to my mixed workload post to get the specifics.
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Hyper-V and VDI on Nutanix: Part 2 – VM Deployment

Part 1 was about setting up the connection broker and applying the roles needed for a basic deployment. Part 2 will focus on deploying desktops from a golden image.

New update – July 15, 2016 – You will need to get into each host an run “Set-StorageSetting -NewDiskPolicy OnlineAll” It’s best to log a call into support as there are some caveats around disk replacement when the setting is used.

First thing we need to do is allow our Nutanix storage to be seen by the Remote Connection Broker(RCB). From the Nutanix UI we need to add IP whitelist. Our Connection Broker is using the IP of
Screen Shot 2013-12-15 at 3.33.40 PM

A part of the Nutanix Hyper-V install we prompt the user for a single entry (nutanix-) in their AD-DNS. This allows the SMB 3.0 to be share available for services like the Remote Connection Broker and backup.

Like VMware View you need a location to place your virtual desktops in Active Directory. Go to task and edit the deployment settings.
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You can pick a location from the drop down or manually enter one. If you create a new location Microsoft has given you a powershell script to generate the proper security permissions.
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Ran the script on one of the Domain Controllers and all systems go!
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Instead of calling the grouping of desktops pool, Microsoft calls them collections. Go to tasks and start your deploying.
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Pooled = persistent , If your wanting to deploying applications with SCCM I would suggest using our inline dedupe so you can manage your applications the same why for both virtual and physical desktops.
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Pick your Template, Windows 7Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.12.23 PM Select The OU for the DesktopsScreen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.13.50 PM Pick Your Golden Image
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Specify Users to access the poolScreen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.22.05 PM Specify Allocation of Desktops Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.25.04 PM Select the Nutanix SMB shareScreen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.27.37 PM
Let the desktops rain!!!!!
desktops deploy

Hyper-V and VDI on Nutanix: Part 1

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If you’re a regular visitor to the blog you know that I have lived in the lands of VMware VDM, View, Horizon and probably whatever the next name is. I wanted to deploy Remote Desktop Services on Hyper-V since requests from the field has started to come since we announced support for Hyper-V.

You still get the same quick time to value as you did from vSphere deployments on Nutanix, not a lot of changes it that department. Nutanix engineers did add some deployments scripts that automate adding the cluster to the domain and to SCCVM if present.
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Veeam – Ultimate New Year’s Resolution 2014

This year Veeam raffles great prizes. Register now to get one of the following goodies:

Tablet of your choice: Android, iPad or Surface;
Class of your choice: Microsoft Training or VMware Education Services course;
Event of your choice: TechEd or VMworld in your geography (pass, no travel);
Home lab with HP and Netgear products: one mega server, ReadyNAS Pro, SSDs and amazing WiFi router;
Software kit: MSDN subscription, Veeam NFR licenses and VMware vSphere.

Make sure to register before Dec. 24.

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Making Horizon View HTML Access Webalicious

Just a few pointers to making Horizon View 5.3 a breeze using HTML Access.

HTML Access 5.3 – HTML Access supports the following features but I would recommend uninstalling the view agent and the Remote Experience Agent if you’re upgrading from 5.2 and then install both fresh. Seems removing the Remote Experience Agent can take some of the view agent files with it.

NOTE: A view connections can only handle 350 HTML Access connections per connection server. Keep this in mind if tend to make this you’re main entry point into your environment.

Sound is enabled by deafault

    Can be disabled through group policy

Copy and paste between the remote desktop and the client device

    If you want bi-directional copy and paste you need to configure Group policy object. Copy the HTML Access ADM Template file, Blast-enUS.adm, from the install_directory\VMware\VMware Blast\Tools\Group Policy and add it your View Desktop GPO or create a new one.

Toggle to high resolution mode on devices that support high density resolutions:

    If you manually set the screen resolution in the virtual desktop to a resolution that is too high, so that you see a black screen in HTML Access and the desktop disconnects, you’ll have to connect with the View Client to fix the problem.

Windows Server 2008 R2 desktops are available via HTML Access

Windows 8 (32- and 64-bit) and Windows 8.1 (32- and 64-bit) desktops are available via HTML Access as a Tech Preview. You can try out HTML Access with a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 desktop, but no support is provided.

Make sure to add the following firewall rules to your external gear. The installation of HTML Access should automatically enable the firewall rules in windows.

All View servers – inbound traffic to TCP port 8443.
All View desktops: inbound traffic (from View servers) to TCP port 22443


Data Locality – SQL & VDI On The Same Nutanix Cluster

Data Locality is the ability to keep compute and storage close together. The amount of data for the big guys that is being ingested into their storage environments is increasing at a ridiculous rate. Facebook has over 350 millions photos day being uploaded into clusters across the world. Once the photos are loaded, they need to be indexed and multiple copies are created for different areas of the site. The daily storage requirements alone a day are well north of 100 TB a day. Data locality gives Facebook the ability to plop data down where it makes the most sense and then when needed, process that huge amount of data without having to move the whole data set across the wire. Efficiency equals profits.

“Ok Dwayne, I am not Facebook and don’t even have 100 TB total. Why do I care? Josh Odgers has a great blog post on data locality and why is important for vSphere DRS clusters. I wanted to highlight the ability to run mixed workloads on the same cluster. Nutanix with its ability to deliver data locality can prevent the noisy neighbour problem from happening.

Storage IO Control is great feature but requires Enterprise Plus licensing

Storage IO Control is great feature but requires Enterprise Plus licensing – image adapted from yellow-bricks

In the first grouping of ESXi servers on the left is using disk shares to control performance. The problem with disk shares is that they only work at the host level. Virtual machines on another hosts have no concept of what it’s neighbour is doing. Since each host is using traditional shared storage, it’s first come, first served on the datastore in question. There really isn’t a great way to deliver QofS for the workload in this situation.

In the grouping of ESXi servers that are using Storage IO control have the ability to use disk shares at the cluster cluster. The total number of disk shares will be now used across the cluster for the particular datastore that has Storage IO control enabled. Since VM C has 500 shares out of possible 2500 shares (VM A + VM B + VM C) it gets 20% of the overall performance if there was contention. By default Storage IO control will be activated if datastore is experiencing over 30 ms of latency.

In the last grouping of servers on the right are nodes apart of a Nutanix cluster. Each node adds a predetermined about of performance. For example lets say each node delivers 20,000 IOPS. VM A would get 15,000 IOPS, VM B gets 5,000 IOPS and VM C gets 20,000 IOPS. The flash resources that make the cluster are available to all nodes but delivering performance locally will always happen first. This isolation prevents the noisy neighbour and can give you the ability to use certain nodes for Test/Dev with buying like for like gear and impacting production.

If you look at the features with Enterprise Plus Nutanix can provide them without the extra licensing. Storage DRS is not needed usually because you only have one volume to manage with Nutanix and we provide the benefits of Flash Cache inherently. Another added plus is the benefits Nutanix provides carry over to other hypervisors that may not have these advanced features available.

That being said I do think Storage IO control and Storage DRS have great benefit in cloud environments. In cloud environments where you might be utilizing many different vendors to provide storage with no tiering capabilities. Plus storage DRS does provides smart placement of VM’s in regards to storage performance in a mixed storage environments.

While running a larger scale VDI deploy north of 5,000 users plus a large scale SQL in the same cluster wouldn’t make a lot of sense from a failure domain perspective it can be done. I think there is still great value in companies that want to spin up VDI maybe as way to give remote access or for a small project without having to worry about bringing down their SQL environment.

And if your against the mixed workloads at the very least you can ensure consistent performance of your workloads. Take a look at the below graph. The data was collected using View Planner running on our 2000 model(first model provided by Nutanix). In the land of VDI, user experience and consistency go hand in hand.
300 to 3000 desktops

When using traditional storage that has two controllers combined with flash, Storage IO control still can’t help the inevitable which is a bottleneck. Maybe a handful of virtual machines had the shares set high enough to make an impact across the cluster but most will grind to a halt. Scale out and data locality for happy users.


Other Nutanix Related Articles

New Adventure to Redefine Radically Simple Architecture for Business Critical Apps with Nutanix

Nutanix Converged Infrastructure Now Available Through Ingram Micro

Nutanix – What do you mean: “You are not a storage company”…?