Nutanix: Drop It Like It’s Hot

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.

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VDI-IOmark – VDI Storage Benchmarking For People With A Schedule

Translating Max IOPS into how many users you can fit onto a storage array(s) can be a pretty complicated question to ask of someone. Workloads are random between users, different blocks sizes are hitting the storage, AV is getting in the way and the list goes on and on. 20 IOPS per user is big joke in the VDI space. While 20 IOPS may represent the average, the deviation from that number can be astonishing. I encourage you watch Applied Math for VDI Design: A Statistical Approach to Designing VDI Environments. The session was presented at BriFourm last year and now is free. If you watch the video, you will see and understand what you need to be planning for.

VDI-IOmark from Evaluator Group is a tool that can tests your storage subsystem with realistic workloads. IOmeter can only give you simulated IO and not all the crazy behaviors of actual workload. VDI-IOmark uses workload replay from previous work captured from VMware RAWC implementation(View Planner). VDI-IOmark has 64 unique replays. The workloads range from 5 IOPS -20 IOPS on average but have peaks over 100. Microsoft Office(Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook), Internet Explorer, 7zip and Windows Media Player were all used to creat the replay. Boot and steady were also included in the replay. The tests are not dependent on your server platform, switching fabric or storage protocol so that’s a big thumbs up but it doesn need to run on .

The great thing about VDI-IO mark it that requires less the time to configure than building out a full environment. This is great if want to repurpose some old storage and test it our prior too or if you’re a consultant, you can do apple to apple comparisons between different vendors. Also since is each replay file contains 8 workloads test you can test your storage subsystem will less server hardware, you don’t need all the RAM it would normally take in a traditional LoginVSI or View Planner test. It’s always hard to get more money for test gear but people always want to know what the expensive box can do in the datacenter.
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