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Displaying articles for: 01-22-2017 - 01-28-2017

Part II: Install VMs on Intel NUCs running Nutanix CE

by Community Manager ‎01-27-2017 04:55 PM - edited ‎01-27-2017 04:57 PM (2,609 Views)

 

 This blog was authored by Marc Malotke, Sr. Systems Engineer at Nutanix. 

 

Welcome back to the installing and configuring your Nutanix CE cluster on Intel NUCs. This is the second installment where we will cover how to deploy an operating system and setup some VMs on your cluster. If you missed the first installment, please click here. Once the Nutanix Community Edition (CE) cluster is up and running we can set up VMs with the following steps:

 

  1. Download ISOs of your favorite operating system (OS)
  2. Upload ISOs to the Nutanix CE Cluster
  •   Install a Windows OS (requires Fedora virtio drivers)
  1. Create and configure a VM
  2. Install the OS
  3. Install the Nutanix Guest Tools (NGT)

 

Step 1: Download ISOs

For example: You can download the latest Ubuntu Desktop from here.  You can also download the Microsoft ISOs from the TechNet Evaluation Center by clicking here.

 

NOTE: The TechNet Evaluation Center gives you 180 days on servers and 90 days for desktop.  This should work fine in a home lab.

 

Step 2: Upload ISOs to your Nutanix CE cluster

Now that you have downloaded your ISOs, upload them to your Nutanix CE cluster using Image Configuration, which allows you to build an image store. This is a great repository of imported files. You can use it to create a CD-ROM from an ISO image or an operating system disk from a disk image - during the VM creation process.

  • Click on the gear, on the top right hand side of the screen
  • Click on Image Configuration

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  • Click on Upload Image

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  • Name: Name your Image file (this doesn’t have to exactly match the ISO filename)
  • Image Type: Select ISO
  • Container: Where do you want to store the ISO
  • Image Source: Since the ISO is on my desktop, I need to select Upload a file
  • Save: Click save and the upload process will start with a progress window
  • NOTE: While the ISO is uploading do not exit or try to close the progress window because this will cancel your upload

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  • After the ISO upload is complete, it may take a couple minutes for the new Image to become “active” which means usable

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Step 2.5: Install a Windows OS (requires Fedora virtio drivers)

If you are installing a flavor of Linux please continue to step 3.

 

OK, so you are still here which means you want to install a Windows OS.

 

Nutanix CE runs AHV as the hypervisor, which is based on Linux KVM and requires some additional drivers for Windows OSs.  

 

What we need to do is download the Fedora Windows virtio drivers https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Windows_Virtio_Drivers

 

Click on 3 Direct download

 

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  • Click the “Stable virtio-win iso” link to download the latest ISO

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  • This will download the “virtio-win-0.1.126.iso” file (this is the latest stable version)
  • You will have to go back to Step 2: Upload ISOs to your Nutanix CE cluster to upload this ISO to Image Configuration repository

Note: Fedora drivers are the open source VirtIO drivers, which are slightly different than the Nutanix ones.  The Nutanix VirtIO drivers are digitally signed and posted on the regular customer portal.  Since Nutanix CE is available to everyone, your login doesn’t provide access to the official Nutanix VirtIO drivers.  Don’t worry the Fedora VirtIO drivers should work just fine.

 

Step 3: Create and configure a VM

Alright, since I have used examples of uploading the Windows 10 ISO and how to access and upload the Fedora VirtIO drivers, I will continue on with installing Windows 10 in this section.

 

Now lets create and configure our first VM.

  • Click on Home
  • Click on VM

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  • Over on the right hand side click on Create VM

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  • I shared a screenshot of the Create VM configuration page. Normally you have to scroll in this “window” to see all of the configuration options. Further below we will go into more detail on this configuration page.

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  • Name: Win10Desktop
  • vCPUs: 2
  • Number of Cores per vCPU: 0 (I never modify this)
  • Memory: 2GB (I find that no matter the OS I install, 2GB is just fine and goes a long way for a home lab)

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  • You will notice that by default there is a CDROM under the Disks section
  • NOTE: Because this is a Windows OS, we actually have to add (2) CDROMs or ISOs which are (1) the Windows 10 ISO and (2) the Fedora VirtIO drivers, I want to first Delete this default CDROM by clicking on the x on the right hand side.
  • Make sure to delete the CDROM now

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NOTE: I do this procedure specifically for Windows 10 OS because sometimes the Fedora VirtIO drivers don’t show up during installation (I will expand on this later).

 

  • Now that the CDROM is gone, we can continue
  • Click on Add new disk

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  • No need to change Type, Operation, Bus Type, Container
  • How big do you want the vDisk? I usually use 40GB
  • NOTE: vDisks are thin-provisioned so the actual vDisk will not take the full 40GB
  • Click Add

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  • Click Add new disk again
  • Now we are going to add the Win10ISO from the Image Service
  • Type: CDROM
  • Operation: Clone from Image Service
  • Bus Type: IDE, this should be the default
  • Image: Select the Win10ISO
  • Click Add

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  • Since this is a Windows OS we need to add a second CDROM
  • Click Add new disk again
  • Type: CDROM
  • Operation: Clone from Image Service
  • Bus Type: IDE
  • Image: FedoraVirtISO
  • Click Add
  • NOTE: I downloaded this ISO and uploaded it to the Image Configuration as an extra step that was explained in Step 2.5.

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  • Now under Disks, your configuration should look like this

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  • We are almost done!
  • Next step is to Add new NIC under Network Adapters (NIC)
  • Click Add new NIC
  • NOTE: If this is your first VM that you created, you will be prompted that no Network Adapters exist and one must be created.

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  • used “default-network” and set the VLAN ID to 0
  • Select the network you just created and click Add

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  • Now that everything is configured, click Save

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Step 4: Run the VM and Install the OS

 

Great!  Creating and configuring your first VM should have gone without incident. Let’s ensure we are good by clicking on Tasks to expand.  You should see VM Create 100%.

 

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  • Now navigate to the VM View
  • Click on Table
  • Click on your Win10Desktop VM
  • Click on Power on
  • Once the VM starts, click on Launch Console

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I am assuming you have installed Windows OS so I am going to focus on the main parts of the installation

  • Select Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)

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  • Remember when I mentioned AHV uses KVM and the Windows Installation needs additional drivers.
  • Click Load driver

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  • Click Browse

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  • Expand Drive E: (or whatever drive letter that has the VirtIO drivers)

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  • Expand the vioscsi folder

 

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  • Expand the w10 folder, since we are installing Windows 10

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  • Click on the amd64 folder
  • Click OK

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  • The Red Hat VirtIO SCSI driver should have been found
  • Click Next

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  • Now the Windows Installation can see the 40GB vDisk that we created
  • Click Next to start the Windows OS installation

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After clicking Next to install Windows 10, the process should take about 3 minutes and then Windows 10 reboots and goes through Getting Ready in about another 2 minutes.  It should only take about 5 minutes to get to the Create an account for this PC screen, which is fast!

 

  • Alright, now that Windows 10 is up and running we have to install (2) additional drivers from the Fedora VirtIO ISO
  • Right-click the Windows Logo
  • Click on Device Manager

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  • In Device Manager we need to update (2) Windows Drivers

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  • Right Click on Ethernet Controller
  • Click on Update Driver Software

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  • Click on Browse my computer for driver software

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  • Click on Browse
  • Click on the correct driver that has the virtio-win-0.1.1 aka the Fedora VirtIO Drivers
  • Click on Next

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  • Click on Browse
  • Click on the correct driver that has the virtio-win-0.1.1 aka the Fedora VirtIO Drivers
  • Click on Next

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  • Now repeat the last couple steps above to install the driver for the PCI Device
  • After you are done, the drivers have been correctly installed as seen below

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Congrats, you have successfully installed your first VM.

 

Step 5: Install the Nutanix Guest Tools (NGT)

Nutanix Guest Tools enable self-service restore and application-consistent snapshots with Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS). So let’s install it!

 

  • To install NGT, make sure you are in the VM View
  • Click Table
  • Click your Win10Desktop VM

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  • Click Enable NGT
  • NOTE: In order to install/enable NGT, you need to have at least a CDROM added to your VM. Since we still have (2) CDROMs added to this VM we are good to go
  • The following window opens for you to confirm
  • Click Yes

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  • OK, I admit, I wanted you to do this step so you can experience the following error
  • “The VM does not have an empty CD/DVD-ROM Device” appears
  • Even though we have (2) CDROMs attached to this VM, they currently have the Windows 10 Installation ISO and the Fedora VirtIO ISO mounted, we don’t need these anymore so let’s eject them

 

  • NOTE: You cannot delete CDROMs from a powered on VM, so we will just eject the mounted ISOs.

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  • What you need to do is make sure you have the Windows10Desktop VM selected
  • Click on Update

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  • Scroll down to Disks
  • Click the Eject icon for both CDROMs

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  • After you have ejected the mounted ISOs, the parameters will show empty
  • Make sure to click Close

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  • Now go back and Click Enable NGT
  • NOTE: You may have to Click Disable NGT (Click Yes, then wait for this to change back to Enable NGT)
  • Now go ahead and Click Enable NGT

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  • Switch back to the Console Window
  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click on This PC
  • You should see the NUTANIX_TOOLS mounted on the CDROM
  • Double-click to run the installation

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  • Read and accept the license, click on Install
  • You will be presented with a handful of additional windows, just keep clicking Next to complete

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  • Cool, you have now installed NGT

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  • Last step just to be thorough, we want to remove (1) of the (2) CDROMs
  • Power down the Windows 10 VM
  • Go back to the VM - Table View
  • Click on Win10Desktop VM
  • Click on Update
  • Scroll down to Disks

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  • Delete CDROM ide.1 by clicking on the X
  • Click Yes to remove
  • Click on Save

Power on your Windows 10 VM, start the super cool update and patching process.

 

You have completed all 5 steps, great job!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This blog contains links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites, and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

Nutanix Acropolis File Services (AFS): Performance and Scalability by Design

by Community Manager ‎01-24-2017 11:07 AM - edited ‎01-24-2017 11:11 AM (2,633 Views)

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This post authored by Dan Chilton, Sr Solutions Performance Engineer at Nutanix

 

Nutanix recently released version 5.0 of the Acropolis Operating System and with that release came an exciting Nutanix product feature—Acropolis File Services, or AFS, for short. This new feature deploys like an app on the Nutanix platform. It provides the ability to deploy a robust, enterprise-capable SMB file sharing solution on a Nutanix cluster. By providing this feature within the Nutanix platform, it removes the need to maintain a separate stand-alone network attached storage (NAS)  solution for Windows / SMB  file services.

 

AFS is a clustered, distributed file server that runs as a set of file server VMs on the Nutanix platform. AFS has performance scalability built into the flexible design. As storage and performance needs grow, AFS can easily scale out or up, while also allowing dynamic load balancing. For more of a deep dive on AFS features and architecture, read our tech note.

 

The following workloads are well suited to be supported by the Nutanix designed AFS.

  • Windows user home directories
  • Virtual desktop user remote profiles
  • Departmental shares
  • Application shares

In this blog, we discuss file server performance requirements and testing methods, as well as how AFS meets and exceeds these requirements.

 

One of the first things that customers want to know when considering a file server solution is how well it performs. As someone who focuses on solution performance in my day job, I know how important this is. However, to answer the question, we first need to understand what the customer wants to do with the solution. The customer interactions with the file server constitute the workload.

 

Here are some example workloads:

  • Copying one large file at a time to the file server.
  • Browsing a list of files in a directory and then reading the desired file.
  • Downloading a file from the file server to the local client desktop.
  • Editing a document with Microsoft Word and then saving the document.
  • Multiple users logging on to virtual desktops that have their remote profiles stored on a file server

We used tools throughout the development and release cycle to test the performance of these workloads and others to make sure that we would perform well for our target use cases. To test workload #1, we used robocopy/copy and paste, #2-#4 Microsoft File Service Capacity Tool or FSCT, and #5 LoginVSI.

 

Single File Copy Test = Poor Test of Performance

 

File copy is easy to test (just copy and paste a large file) but it is a poor indicator of file system performance due to a low number of outstanding I/O and the single threaded nature of the workload. This means that a file copy test doesn’t accurately test what the fileserver can do.

 

Typical real world situations have many clients or applications requesting data concurrently driving a workload. Don’t just take my word for it, check out this discussion from Microsoft OneDrive team member Jose Barreto.

 

Why FSCT

 

FSCT is a performance test suite based on the analysis of real user home directory operations at Microsoft. It has been used to prove performance by file server vendors including Microsoft, NetApp, and EMC. Some key aspects of FSCT that make it so valuable for simulating customer user home directory environments are:

It tests Active Directory integration, including Windows Domain Controllers, clients, user accounts, authentication, and permissions

  • Users connect to their home directory with multiple sub-directories, for a total of 270 files/folders and ~80MB of data
  • Users execute scenarios that create file service metadata workloads
  • Operations include cmdline file download/upload, Windows Explorer file delete, drag/drop, MS Word file open/close, and save
  • Throughput is measured in user count of concurrent sustained users, instead of IOPS/FileOPs.

We found that AFS provides a solution for home directories that can be scaled up as user count grows.

  • With FSCT, we pushed our file server to the limits and established reliable user connection counts per file server VM (FSVM) node that can be scaled up as needed.
  • We translated this data into the Nutanix Sizing tool to provide quality sizing proposals coupled with room for future growth.
  • The chart below shows the capability of a single AFS file server node in terms of concurrent heavy user workload.

Nutanix_Acropolis_File_Services__AFS___Performance_and_Scalability_by_Design_-_Google_Docs.jpg

 

The AFS solution starts with as few as three VMs, but we have successfully tested a solution scaled out to as many as 16 AFS virtual machines on a 16-node cluster. AFS functionality can be added to existing Nutanix clusters to leverage extra storage capacity or deployed as a standalone file server cluster. 

 

You can scale out small four vCPU and 16 GB RAM AFS VM nodes to support thousands of users by distributing the load across AFS nodes.

 

1Nutanix_Acropolis_File_Services__AFS___Performance_and_Scalability_by_Design_-_Google_Docs.jpg

 

Why LoginVSI

 

We configured LoginVSI, a popular, industry-standard VDI sizing tool, to store the virtual desktop user remote profiles on the AFS solution. We also used Citrix Profile management, a robust enterprise VDI deployment suite. The workload includes Windows OS operations and applications including Microsoft Outlook.

 

With VDI profiles, the AFS server consumes cycles mainly during the boot phase; once the desktops are booted, they consume most of the CPU and RAM cycles. Accordingly, to gauge AFS performance, we focused on average logon time as the key metric (of course, less is more when it comes to logon time). We wanted to see if logon time increased with clients connecting to AFS file shares to read their profiles at boot up, rather than to the local c:\drive.

 

We found that we could easily support a 400 virtual desktop deployment with our smallest AFS cluster. As shown in the chart below, the total user desktop logon time was 7.2 seconds for local c:\drive and 6.8 for remotely stored profile. (Note that these logon times are typical for LoginVSI virtual desktops and should not be confused with individual I/O response times, which are often in the ms and us range.)

 

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Why Choose AFS? Performance Scalability by Design

 

  • Scale Out—Clustered by design with at least three nodes, AFS currently supports up to 16 nodes. Workloads can be distributed evenly across small or large Nutanix clusters. You can add more file server VMs as additional storage or compute are needed.
  • Scale Up—Recognizing that some file services workloads require large amounts of processing (CPU) and caching (memory), AFS nodes can scale up as requirements grow by adding additional vCPUs and RAM.
  • Load Balancing–As file data grows, the storage or processing demands sometimes cause a hot node. AFS easily solves this by rebalancing data and processing across nodes.
  • Analytics-driven—A fine-grained analytics engine built into AFS continually analyzes the storage and performance consumption of the file server. From this analysis, AFS recommends scaling out, scaling up, or rebalancing. This feature can reduce TCO by minimizing administration time and performance troubleshooting.

Our testing shows that the flexible, clustered design of AFS can provide the performance and scalability enterprises need for the most demanding SMB file sharing environments, all without the added expense of a standalone NAS appliance. Talk to your Nutanix partner to request a demo for AFS and leave the file storage and management to us.

 

If you are new to Nutanix, we invite you to start the conversation on how the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform can work for your IT environment. Send us a note at info@nutanix.com or follow us on Twitter and join the conversation in our community forums.

 

Disclaimer: This blog may contain links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.

 

 

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