With the release of AOS 5.1 comes Acropolis File Services (AFS) version 2.1 with its own update of goodies and fixes. AFS’ ability to distribute top level directories for user directories combined with using Acropolis Block Services has allowed for better performance and management compared to more traditional offerings and the Nutanix engineering team continues to improve the overall experience with AFS 2.1.
Protect and Restore Easier
Prior to AFS 2.1 there was only a default schedule of 24 hourly snapshots for windows previous version (WPV). Most customers need the schedule to be beyond hourlies so you needed to contact support to change the default schedule. Today you have a default stepped schedule for your enabled WPV shares thru Prism.
After upgrading, AFS will change the 24 hourly schedule to a new default stepped schedule:
Admins can modify this based on their policy requirements.
There is a cumulative limit of 50 snapshots for overall retention policy in the UI per share. This can be relaxed via Nutanix Command Line Interface if the customer has fewer than 100 shares per File ServerVM.
MAC Client Support
While not as sexy as the WPV UI, MAC client support for the Home Share is now supported. Prior to this release only the General Share type was supported.
Easier Deployment Options
There is now advanced options for deployment so you can select the proper Active Directory OU from Prism. It seems like a minor update but most times you need to place the AFS server computer object in a different OU than the default Computers OU. This eliminates the need for admins to have to go to the command line and hopefully reduces errors at deployment time and for disaster recovery workflows. You can also select the closest writeable domain controller to your AFS server when you join to the domain.
Clean & Quick Access To Your Resources
The Home Share on Nutanix now as the ability to shorten the UNC path to just the user. Prior to AFS 2.1 the user needed to specify \\AFS-server\home\<user-name> to access their home directory. Some customers want users to access the home directories by specifying \\AFS-server\<user-name>. If there are thousands of users, we would need to create the same number of shares on AFS and that would get kind of scary on the backend. With AFS 2.1 you now have the ability to export all of the top-level directories (TLDs) as virtual shares. Now users can access their home directories by specifying \\AFS-server\<user-name>.
The ability to share the TLD with virtual shares makes it even easier to manage with group policy and easier for your users to access their resources. You can turn off the feature at the share level as well. To use this feature the TLD name has to match the user’s active directory account name.
Always Right Sized
The age old question, how much RAM and CPU should I size for? Today it really doesn’t matter. The first GA release, AFS 2.0 included one-click optimization. One-click optimization keeps track on how hot the File Serve VM (FSVM) and the backing storage becomes and decides if you need to scale up or scale out. With AFS 2.1 you can now scale up without any outage! The FSVMs are hot-updated without needing a restart. No existing client connections to the file server are broken and the client wouldn't see any service disruption. Increasing CPU and RAM on all of your FSVMs is automated so you begin to serve more connections you can easily adjust your environment on the fly responding to business demands.
AFS 2.1 is ready for download, go deploy/update onto your existing ESXi and AHV environments and enhance your business.
This post was authored by Dwayne Lessner, Sr Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix