Jun
11

Nutanix Hyper-V Fast Clones

Nutanix now as a the ability to provide space efficient, low impact clones from SCVMM. With NOS 4.1.3 there is now a Fast Clone plugin available. The plugin is really a wrapper around some of the Nutanix powershell commands. The plugin does need proper access rights to the hyper-v hosts and SCVMM but that should be setup already for most environments. You will need to install the plugin on the SCVMM host along with the Nutanix powershell commandlets.

Below is a video of the fast clones in action.

Feb
26

Nutanix Cache Money: When to Spend, When to Save

Spend wisely

Spend wisely

Every Nutanix virtual storage controller has local cache to server the workloads running directly on the nodes. A question that comes up is if the local cache should be increased. No ever complained about having too much cache but being a hyper converged appliance we want to keep the RAM available for the running workloads if needed. I would never just recommend giving every controller virtual machine(CVM) 50 GB or 80 GB of RAM and see where that gets you.

The cache on the CVM is automatically adjusted when the RAM of the CVM is increased. I recommend increasing the CVM memory in 2 GB increments and track the effectiveness of the change. Even starting with 16 GB of RAM in a system that has 256 GB of RAM available is only ~6% of the RAM resources available.

Nutanix CVM Resources starting points

Parameter

Configuration

Base

Inline Dedupe

Memory Size

Increase to 16 GB

Increase to 24 GB

Memory Reservation

Increase to 16 GB

Increase to 24 GB

Base (Non-Dedupe)

Go to any CVM IP address and check the startgate diagnostic page http::2009 and use the below guidelines before increasing your RAM on the CVM. You may need to allow access to the 2009 port if you’re accessing the page from a different subnet. This is covered in the setup guide.

Extent Cache

Amount of CVM RAM

Extent Cache Hits

Extent Cache Usage

Recommendation

16 GB

70% – 95%

> 3200 MB

Increase CVM RAM to 18 GB

18 GB

70% – 95%

> 4000 MB

Increase CVM RAM to 20 GB

NOTE: Going higher than 20 GB of RAM on a CVM will automatically start allowing RAM to be used for dedupe. If don’t enable dedupe past 20 GB of RAM you will be wasting RAM resources. You can prevent this from happening by the use of GFLAGs. It’s best to contact support on how to limit RAM being used for dedupe if you feel your workload won’t benefit from it.

Dedupe
Using the Prism UI you can assess if more RAM will help hit rate ratio. Cache from Dedupe is referred to as content cache. The content cache spans over RAM and flash. It is possible to have a high hit rate ratio and have little being served from RAM.

In the Analysis section of the UI check to see how much physical RAM is making up the content cache and what your return on it is.
Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 4.57.10 PM

If the memory being saved is over 50% of the physical memory being used and the hit rate ratio is above 90%. You can bump up the CVM Memory.

NOTE: For both extent cache and content cache it is possible to have a low hit rate ratio and high usage of resource and still benefit from more RAM. In a really busy system the workload may be too large and might be getting cycled thru the cache before it can hit a consecutive time. It’s our recommendation to increase the CVM memory if you know your maximum limit for CPU on the host. Available memory can help the running workload instead of sitting idle.

Hopefully this helps in giving some context before changing settings in your environment.

Learn more about Nutanix with The Nutanix Bible

Jan
02

EUC TIP 91: Best Practices with Snapshots with RDS

All reference VMs must be generalized before they can be used to provision or recreate a virtualized desktop

As best practice, start with a snapshot of an ungeneralized Windows 7 or Windows 8 virtual machine

Generalize, shutdown, and create new snapshot
In the virtual machine, run the following command from Windows\System32\Sysprep directory
Sysprep /oobe /generalize /mode: vm

The switch Mode:vm only detects the enumerated and synthetic devices that are possible and skips on the physical layer checks. Only works with Windows 8 and 2012

The ‘now’ snapshot reflecting the generalized state will be used to (re)create the virtual desktops

When updating a VM, revert to ungeneralized snapshot, delete generalized snapshot, update VM, generalize, shutdown. and snapshot

I think this process can eliminate the need for a KMS server with RDS but not 100% sure, let me know if you have the answer.

Dec
27

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.

Dec
17

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.
[Read more…]

Dec
17

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 10.20.0.126/255.255.255.0
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.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 1.24.38 PM

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.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 1.34.08 PM

Ran the script on one of the Domain Controllers and all systems go!
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 1.52.29 PM

Instead of calling the grouping of desktops pool, Microsoft calls them collections. Go to tasks and start your deploying.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 3.14.19 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 3.16.38 PM

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.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 3.17.25 PM

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
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 11.12.23 PM

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
Dec
13

Hyper-V and VDI on Nutanix: Part 1

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.03.10 AM

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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