Archives for August 2015


Nutanix Acropolis and XenDesktop – Operations Made Easy – NPX / VMturbo

VDI is hopefully ran/maintained by your desktop team, not your highest paid guys on the operations team. One of the main reasons of why the Acropolis hypervisor was created was to control the experience as the desktops are managed and as the environment scales. Two of the most sought out after questions in designing a VDI solution is how many desktops per LUN/NFS/Container and how many desktops per management resource(vCenter/SCVMM). On the number of desktops per container for NFS on vCenter for Nutanix the VPXA agent would have problems around 2,000 desktops per container. This is still a far cry from typical 150 for block storage and 250 desktops for traditional NFS based storage but something you needed to account for. With the Acropolis hypervisor there is no need to keep track of the number of desktops running in a container so it makes that design consideration pretty easy.

Nothing was worse of me on Saturday afternoon updating my VDI environment waiting for the desktops to update in a serial nature. This is the main reason why both vCenter and SCVMM are architectured to only support ~2,000 desktops for VDI, any more than you’ll be waiting around as you update your desktops. Since Prism (Nutanix Management) is based on scale out principles (Map Reduce/Apache Cassandra) we can parallelize the service requests across the whole cluster. Anything added benefit is that Prism is highly available so you don’t have to worry about a single point of failure in your environment.

Avoid the bottleneck of virtualization management with Acropolis.

Avoid the bottleneck of virtualization management with Acropolis.

The Acropolis hypervisor doesn’t have memory over-commitment today but between Large Pages from Windows 7 on and highly dynamic environments were machines are consistently rebooting/re-created memory over-commitment is not as strong as it once was in the Windows XP days. The Acropolis hypervisor can place machines on boot were the majority of their data resides and based on available resources. To further the integration of data placement and compute resources check out what VMturbo is doing for QofS on Nutanix.

In simplifying the day 2 support for VDI, user experience will go up with consistent performance and availability. Acropolis is freed from the burden of past virtualization management choices and continue to provide one-click everything to run day to day operations to ease. Looking forward to seeing the Citrix and Nutanix relationship to grow even more over the coming months.


FSLogix For User Profiles and Application Support For Any Hypervisor

A couple weeks ago I had a great conversation with Cassondra McAllister who is an SE at FSLogix. She has a lot of field time around user profiles as she was at RTO before they were bought by VMware. Cassondra has been working a FSLogix from the early stages and I was lucky to get a demo from here a couple of weeks ago.

fslogixFSLogix uses image masking to create a single unified base image that hides everything a logged in user shouldn’t see, providing predictable and real-time access to applications and profiles for VDI/XenApp. Companies can combine all applications, plus browser and app plugins, onto a single gold image, or greatly reduce their current number of images. Combine this with quick clones across Acropolis, hyper-v & vSphere and the fact that FSLogix works in the user space can have a pretty simple solution for VDI and XenApp/RDS solutions on Nutanix. This is all possible because FSLogix works at login on time to add the appropriate VHD to the desktop while maintaining fast logons.

User profiles with FSLogix have shown shorter logon and logoff times, with an improvement of +50% compared to roaming profiles and use less traffic and processing load on file server(s), since files are only accessed if needed. Combine this with Nutanix’s up and coming file services and you’ll have a strong and easy combination for VDI.

The core of the FSLogix Apps software agent is the driver (frxdrv.sys). This component is a file system mini-filter driver. It is primarily responsible for intercepting requests from other software on the system, to access objects such as files or registry keys, and changing them. When an application is being hidden, the changes might involve simply making the object appear to not exist.

The second major component in the FSLogix Apps software agent is the service (frxsvc.exe). This component is a Windows service running as system. It is responsible for communicating various data about
the system state to the driver, e.g., informing the driver when new users login to the machine.

The other components of the software agent are various user interfaces and supporting files. There is a GUI rule editor that assists administrators in creating rule sets, hiding applications installed on a system, making rule assignments to control how rules are applied, testing rules, etc. There is also a command-line interface that can be used for scripting many of the functions that the software can perform. A Windows Event Viewer integration module is also provided to assist administrators in the management and audit of the software.

GUI Rule Editor

People should really check FSlogiX out for cost effective solution that has low overhead from both required infrastructure and overhead on the desktop.


Introduction to DevOps with Udacity

Me and Karl

Me and Karl

This course was an awesome side project. I was lucky to help with an Intro to DevOps side by side with Karl Krueger. Karl really is the star of the show. Karl worked at Google as an SRE for over 8 years and has some great insightd from the development side. Most of my life has been on the infrastructure side of the house but I did have a brief journey in development in the early 2000’s. I think both sides of the fence have allowed me to have a lot of empathy to my developer friends.

Like Karl, all the people at Udacity are top notch and made me question how they can pay for all the talent they have. Gundega Dekena did a lot of work half way across the world too. Gundega did a ton work with the course content drawing on personal experience as well. When you take a Udacity course you really get a team of people producing the content. I would encourage you to check out some of their free content as well and if you like it, grab a subscription. The video work used for demo’s is really amazing stuff from what I have seen on the market.

Let me know if you take the course and how it went.



Is Hyperconverged Infrastruce More Secure Than Traditional Infrastructure? #Podcast

An interesting talk about what Nutanix is doing around Security with Eric Hammersley, a security architect with Nutanix. Eric talks about Security development life cycle, STIGS and using automation to tighten lock down the hatches of the XCP platform. Eric talk about the advantages of knowing your own platform and how that can enable engineering to make the most secure platform.

I find it funny how the most hated guy in the data center (the security guy) is now getting a lot of respect. I am sure the endless supply of credit card information ending up on the world wide web is helping to fuel this. Give the podcast a listen and let us know what you think.