Nutanix Objects and Containerized Architecture

  • 1 April 2019
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Nutanix Objects and Containerized Architecture
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This post was authored by Laura Jordana Technical Marketing Engineer Nutanix

**Update: Nutanix Buckets was recently renamed to Nutanix Objects**

The upcoming release of Nutanix Objects will introduce a native object storage solution to the Nutanix product portfolio. This object store is deployed and managed from within the same Prism user interface as other Nutanix core services, and accessed via S3-compatible applications. Nutanix Objects is compatible with common HTTP and HTTPS S3 REST APIs (including GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, and LIST operations) for object storage, meaning any application that is making S3 calls to access object storage is likely able to be used with Nutanix Objects out-of-the-box, without requiring any application or code changes.

Nutanix Objects was designed differently from the beginning. Instead of being built as another set of services running in the CVM or in a specialized VM, it deploys services on a containerized platform. This platform is based on Kubernetes, with all services relating to Objects running as containers within the Kubernetes cluster. This allows Objects to be flexible in terms of deployment, upgrades, and scalability potential. For example, instead of having to upgrade the entire Objects service for a point release, only the relevant microservices (running as containers) would need to be upgraded, resulting in quicker, more agile upgrade cycles.

This is important in today’s cloud-centric world where applications are expected to be agile and fluid, highly decoupled from infrastructure. This type of cloud native architecture can be scaled out quickly with high performance and leverages infrastructure in an optimal fashion.

So what is actually deployed with Nutanix Objects? When deploying an object store, a Kubernetes cluster consisting of at least three worker nodes (shown as K8s in the above diagram) is deployed in multi-master mode. These nodes are spread across different Nutanix AHV hosts. The nodes run etcd (the Kubernetes-level distributed key-value store for storing and replicating the Kubernetes-cluster level metadata) as well as the object store pods. These pods include:
  • S3 adapter - Translates the S3 language into the internal system language
  • Object controller - Handles all the I/O
  • Metadata service - Distributed key-value store to provide consistency across a massive object store deployment
  • Atlas service - Handles garbage collection and enforces policies such as life cycle management, versioning, and WORM
  • UI gateway - this is the endpoint for all UI requests, handles bucket management, stats display, user management interface, etc
  • Zookeeper - Manages the configuration for the object storage cluster
  • IAM service - Handles user authentication for accessing Objects
Additionally, two or more native load balancers are deployed. The load balancer(s) is the first point of entry for an object request (for example, an S3 GET or PUT). It then forwards this request to one of the worker VMs (specifically, the S3 adapter service running as part of the object-controller pod).

Nutanix Objects is just the beginning for this container-based platform. We can leverage the containerized model for new products and features, as well as bring existing features into this model. Architecting Nutanix services in this modern cloud native, Devops-driven fashion allows for enormous benefits including lightweight features, independent scale, and even easier, faster upgrades then we already have today.

For more information on Nutanix Objects and object storage, check out the following resources:
Note: Nutanix Objects is currently in early access and will become generally available in the next few weeks.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
This blog post includes forward-looking statements concerning our plans and expectations relating to new product features and technology that are under development, the capabilities of such product features and technology and our plans to release product features and technology in future releases. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and instead are based on our current expectations, estimates, opinions and beliefs. The accuracy of such forward-looking statements depends upon future events, and involves risks, uncertainties and other factors beyond our control that may cause these statements to be inaccurate and cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied by such statements, including, among others: the introduction, or acceleration of adoption of, competing solutions, including public cloud infrastructure; a shift in industry or competitive dynamics or customer demand; and other risks detailed in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2019, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or subsequent events or circumstances.

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