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Displaying articles for: 12-11-2016 - 12-17-2016

Nine Things you need to know about Network Visualization

by Community Manager on ‎12-14-2016 01:33 PM (4,080 Views)

This blog post is authored by the Nutanix UI Team.

 

Continuing with the “Ten things you need to know about” blog series, we will be discussing Network Visualization in this blog, which will be a part of our 5.0 software release.

 

With this new capability, a holistic view of the network infrastructure will be presented in one view. In addition to delivering visibility across server, virtualization and storage resources, Nutanix will also provide detailed visualization of the underlying physical and virtual networking layers.

 

  1. The network visualization will provide IT administrators with the capability to visually see all the network entities and their relationships with each other. Network visualization will also be highly interactive and depict the network topology of every node in a Nutanix cluster making it extremely simple to use.
  2. With the ability to visualize end to end networking from the VM to virtual NICs, to physical NICs to physical switch ports, this capability will allow IT administrators to visualize the cluster networking setup and make troubleshooting networking issues such as VLAN misconfiguration simple.
  3. Administrators will be able to drill down to a single VM and see what host it runs on, which physical network connection it is using, which switch port it is on and what VLAN is belongs to.
  4. This first version will be supported on AHV clusters, and will be available in Prism as a new Network Page. We plan to extend this capability to other hypervisors in the future.
  5. By showing the relation between the host nic and the switch ports, IT administrators can get a complete picture of the network setup including switch port stats (provided LLDP and SNMP are enabled on the switch).
  6. The Network Page will also give the richness of filtering, grouping and selections of entities allowing administrators to customize the view based on what they are monitoring or troubleshooting.
  7. Deep dive screens will be available for each of the network entities to give more details on the entity. As an example, for Node Network Topology, in addition to basic connectivity information users will be able to interactively understand  details on each of the selectable entities.
  8. Prism  will provide a layered view of the networking setup for a clutter free design, so that users can select what they want to focus on, and then drill down into further details.
  9. Architected to be a general topology visualization,  it can be used to visualize any set of related components, and we plan to extend into other areas of the Nutanix UI such as clusters, hosts, DR sites and snapshots.

 

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Forward-Looking Statements

This blog includes forward-looking statements concerning product features and technology that are under development or in process and capabilities of such product features and technology, and our plans to introduce product features, including network visualization and extensions thereof, in a future release. 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: changes in our relationships with our partners, including Dell EMC and Microsoft; failure to develop, or unexpected difficulties or delays in developing, new product features or technology on a timely or cost-effective basis; 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 registration statement on Form S-1, as amended, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this blog and, except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or subsequent events or circumstances.  Any future product or roadmap information is intended to outline general product directions, and is not a commitment, promise or legal obligation for Nutanix to deliver any material, code, or functionality.  This information should not be used when making a purchasing decision.  Further, note that Nutanix has made no determination as to if separate fees will be charged for any future product enhancements or functionality which may ultimately be made available.  Nutanix may, in its own

 

 

This blog was authored by Upasna Gupta, Product Marketing Manager, Xpress & DP/DR at Nutanix. 

 

Continuing the 10 things you need to know blog series, the next in line is Nutanix Data Protection and Disaster Recovery that offers a wide spectrum of options to meet the complex and varying service level agreement (SLA) requirements of applications.

 

As with our previous releases, the upcoming 5.0 release is also packed with many exciting data protection capabilities that will supplement our existing Data Protection and Disaster Recovery features. So here are the top 10 things to know about Nutanix Data Protection and Disaster Recovery, that includes but is not limited to enhancements in the 5.0 release:

 

  1. Nutanix natively offers fine-grained VM centric snapshots that eliminate VM to LUN mapping seen in the traditional LUN centric approach. Nutanix uses the preferred Read-On-Write (ROW) implementation for its snapshots, that redirects any updates to the existing protected data to a new location. None of the existing metadata or data in the snapshots needs to be copied or moved. As a result, ROW snapshots do not suffer the performance impact of the alternative, copy-on write snapshot implementations.
  2. Nutanix can efficiently replicate snapshots of individual VMs from a primary system to one or more secondary systems at different sites. Replication is flexible and bi-directional, enabling one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one topologies. VM snapshots can be asynchronously replicated or backed up to another datacenter on a user-defined schedule.
  3. Currently, Metro Availability synchronously replicates data to another site, ensuring that a real-time copy of the data exists at a different location. With the 5.0 release, Metro witness will allow automatic failover to a secondary site in case of a site or network partition failure, a feature designed to allow for nearly 100 percent uptime for applications and zero data loss.
  4. Nutanix Data Protection is further complemented by the rich enterprise storage features of the underlying Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform, such as intelligent tiering, deduplication, erasure coding, compression, and distributed self-healing.
  5. All data protection capabilities can be leveraged through a single Prism interface. Backup policies can be scheduled with just a few clicks. Recovery of VMs from local or remote snapshots is also simplified in two easy steps.
  6. Self-service file restore gives control to the application admins to recover individual files from within VM snapshots without a Nutanix admin. Self-service file restore is easy to set up and manage and in most cases eliminates the need to recover an entire VM.    
  7. Cloud Connect allows backup of data to public cloud services like AWS and Microsoft Azure without requiring third-party software or plug-ins. Just snapshot a VM or a collection of VMs, to multiple AWS and Azure regions and recover just as easily from there as from any other remote Nutanix site.
  8. With the 5.0 release, Nutanix will offer the option for a 1-node cluster for Remote Office and Branch Office (ROBO) that can be used as a replication target. The platform can scale up to 40TB raw HDD capacity.
  9. Nutanix provides support for vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP), application-level consistent snapshots using Volume Shadow Services (VSS), and VM-level backup for Hyper-V using VSS for SMB shares so the environment works seamlessly with Veritas NetBackup, CommVault, Veeam, and more.
  10. Nutanix offers integration with CommVault that provides seamless backup and restore for for workloads running on our AHV platform thereby eliminating the need for specific in-guest backup and restore agents.

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11 Reasons why Nutanix is the Best All-Flash Platform

by Community Manager ‎12-12-2016 12:10 AM - edited ‎12-12-2016 05:05 AM (9,875 Views)

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This post was authored by Steve Kaplan, VP of Client Strategy at Nutanix

 

All Flash Arrays: Dead Men Walking

All Flash Array (AFA) manufacturers may be rejoicing in the inevitable demise of spinning disk, but hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is increasingly upending the entire storage category. While an AFA may be faster and easier to manage than a traditional array, it’s still a SAN. Nutanix Enterprise Cloud is not only a better platform for flash than the AFAs, but also than other HCI solutions. Here are the 11 reasons why:

 

1) Dramatically reduced network latency effects

Nutanix HCI already bests AFA performance by eliminating network latency (see @vcdxnz001 post, Your Network is Too Slow and What to Do About it). Innovations such as NVMe and 3D XPoint amplify the advantage of storing data on flash or other Storage-Class Memory (SCM) next to the compute in a hyperconverged environment. Accessing data in a traditional model from an All Flash Array over a slower network negates the benefits of the faster flash/SCM.

 

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Putting flash in a proprietary array at the end of a network designed for the latency of magnetic media instead of next to the compute intuitively makes no sense. This really boils down to simple physics where proximity matters. Flash should be directly connected, not remotely attached where it requires multiple hops, protocols, and performance-constraining controllers to be accessed. It’s just physics!

 

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I/O path length for AFAs versus Nutanix

 

AFA vendors will often suggest faster networks and NVMe over fabrics that will offer lower latency and higher bandwidths. Nutanix enables customers to optimize the benefits of flash without the requirement to purchase expensive new storage fabrics that perpetuate legacy complexity.

 

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Image from Long Virtual White Clouds by Michael Webster

 

2) Density advantage

Nutanix enables packing 92TB of flash, in addition to all of the server resources, into just 2U. AFAs require not just the array, but also the compute, the storage fabric and possibly lower-cost disk storage. All of this requires more power, rackspace, and cooling.

 

3) Commodity Hardware

Most AFAs such as Pure utilize proprietary hardware, but this is a roadblock to quickly deploying new hardware innovations. All-flash arrays risk technological leaps that leave customers with obsolete products and facing forklift upgrades the next time they need more capacity. In today’s fast-paced technology environment, it’s the companies who leverage global economies of scale that succeed by leveraging the innovation driven by the world’s largest commodity hardware manufacturers.


Take the case of Sun Microsystems. Sun bet on proprietary hardware while the industry shifted to commodity servers utilizing the more cost-effective Intel-compatible microprocessors popularized in personal computers. Sun lost 80% of its value before being acquired by Oracle in a fire sale.


Violin Memory is another example. Violin was one of the first companies to introduce all-flash memory solutions to the marketplace. This was very cool and fast tech, with great engineering when they launched a decade ago.


But consumers had another idea. They loved the speed and reliability of solid-state drives (SSDs) which now can be found in almost every laptop, desktop and memory array. Even as the price of SSDs plummeted, Violin preferred to design its own proprietary field-programmable gate arrays. A sophisticated solution, perhaps, but no match for the rapid improvement of SSDs; Violin’s proprietary hardware quickly fell behind and the company has been delisted from NYSE.


The hyperconverged business is hardly the only example of a thriving enterprise technology built upon commodity hardware. All of the leading cloud providers also utilize commodity servers. Proprietary hardware, while once essential to protecting a company’s innovations, now hinders, or even destroys, a manufacturer’s ability to compete.


4) Distributed storage controllers

Most AFAs have physical, non-distributed, storage controllers that are easily saturated with traffic. Since the controllers are the bottleneck, adding more shelves of SSDs does not increase performance.


If we assume a single enterprise SSD is capable of delivering ~500MB/s of throughput, then a controller with dual 4Gb FC adapters is bottlenecked with only two SSDs. Even upgrading to dual 16Gb FC adapters only accommodates eight SSDs.


To overcome these limitations, AFAs must accommodate multiple adapters resulting in complex fabric configurations. But this inevitably hits the controller limits, forcing customers to purchase more AFA systems and creating more silos.


Contrast this with Nutanix where every time a node is added to a cluster, it’s also adding a virtual storage controller - enabling immediate enhanced performance. Resiliency is massively improved as loss of one controller has very little impact. This is why Nutanix can do non-disruptive 1-click upgrades and maintenance with very low impact.


5) Data locality

Imagine what would happen if 75% of the cars in Los Angeles were suddenly removed from the roads. Not only would traffic congestion quickly dissipate, but the city would benefit from other benefits such as fewer accidents, less road maintenance, reduced pollution, and so on.


Nutanix data locality similarly affects the data center environment by pulling the majority of read traffic off of the network; reads instead come from the local SSD within the node. Available network bandwidth is effectively increased for writes/end user applications improving not just storage performance, but also the application performance that the storage is servicing.

 

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6) Scalability

Capacity Performance: AFAs, which are typically limited to two physical storage controllers, hit a metadata bottleneck in scaling capacity that is limited by the amount of RAM/NVMRAM they have in a system. Adding SSDs, in most cases, does not improve performance.

 

At some point, the AFA customer must either upgrade to a bigger unit with more processing power, add complex fabric interconnection, or start creating silos. AFA manufacturers will say they can replace existing controllers with new faster ones, but despite the disruption and expense, that shifts the bottleneck to the network or possibly even to the existing flash medium.

 

Contrast this with Nutanix which, unlike AFAs, are not bottlenecked by two physical storage controllers. The VMs on every node are serviced by the Controller Virtual Machine (CVM) on that node. Every time a node is added to the cluster, a CVM is also added, thereby linearly scaling not just capacity, but also performance and resiliency, as well as expanding the management stack capabilities. Acropolis Block Services (ABS) and Acropolis File Services (AFS) enable Nutanix customers to scale physical and virtual workloads as well as file serving from the same Nutanix cluster, thereby eliminating silo inefficiencies.

 

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Dedupe/Compression Performance: Nutanix’s unique implementation of dedup and compression ensure that performance overhead is minimized. Nutanix does not brute force dedupe/compress of all data as this requires more physical resources and impacts all IO regardless of the outcome.

 

Resiliency: Both resiliency and high availability are built-in across the entire Nutanix stack. Replication Factor 2 (RF2) or RF3 along with erasure coding (EC-X) enables superior fault tolerance for disk. Block awareness mitigates node failure, while sync and async-replication provides resiliency for entire datacenters.

 

All-Flash Storage-Only Nodes: Storage-Only nodes provide Nutanix customers the ability to scale compute and storage separately, thereby minimizing costs of their all flash environments.

 

7) Simplicity

Nutanix one-click upgrades reduce both complexity and risk involved with the upgrade process - there is no complex interoperability matrix or operational guidelines. Nutanix also simplifies the flash-based architecture by eliminating LUNs and their presentation by focusing on VMs rather than on storage constructs, and by including both centralized management and capacity planning.

 

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Nutanix’s Simple and Intuitive Prism Management Dashboard

 

8) Workload Consolidation

AFAs must send information from the flash array across the network to the compute for processing. Beyond adding the aforementioned latency, this also requires additional queue management and overhead. CPUs can quickly become overloaded when simultaneously receiving small block, high IOPS and large block, high throughput application requests. To ensure consistent performance, AFA administrators must frequently separate OLTP & OLAP workloads from running on the same platform.

 

Nutanix gives the compute direct access to the storage. Servicing requests with limited overhead and consistent low latency enables mixing of workloads. And with Nutanix Acropolis Block Services, Nutanix becomes the storage backplane for bringing together different types of applications. Customers can even consolidate both physical workloads and virtualized workloads in the same cluster.

 

Additionally, AFAs tend to have block storage devices for blocks and flash arrays for blocks. With Nutanix, the storage is shared between block and file.

 

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9) Proven Mission-Critical Application Deployment

Nutanix enables optimal performance for critical apps right out of the box, even with multiple workloads. It eliminates the single point of failure challenge with storage access failover, self-healing, and ongoing data integrity checks. Storage performance is predictable, and no complex configuration or tuning is needed.

 

Non-disruptive software updates eliminates planned downtime, enhancing Nutanix’s appeal for hosting mission-critical applications. Maintenance windows for software upgrades and scaling become a thing of the past. Unlike almost all other HCI solutions, Nutanix has years of proven maturity and success in enterprise deployments of Splunk, Oracle, SAP, SQL Server, Exchange, and many other mission-critical applications (only Nutanix and VxRack are SAP-certified).

 

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10) Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

AFAs eventually run out of controller capacity, technology advances to the point where the existing AFA solution is comparatively uneconomical, or the equipment just gets old. In any of these cases, the AFA owner faces a forklift upgrade - a process that is typically expensive, complex and time-consuming. As a result, AFA owners typically purchase more capacity than required initially in hopes of having enough resources available to meet requirements four or five years down the road.

 

Nutanix owners never face a forklift upgrade, and therefore do not require purchasing more nodes than needed at any point in time. As technology changes, newer nodes can simply be added to the cluster with a mouseclick, and the software takes care of everything else. Nutanix eliminates the risk of under-buying.

 

Completely eliminating the need for storage arrays and storage fabric along with excess capacity up-front helps lower the CapEx cost for Nutanix. As the project footprint expands over the next few years, increasingly fewer nodes are required to run the same workload due to an increased density of VMs per node driven by both Moore’s Law and by performance enhancements in Nutanix software.

 

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The CapEx for the project lifetime is thereby further reduced along with the associated rack space, power and cooling. Administrative requirements for Nutanix are also slashed - an IDC study found an average 71% reduction in administration time required for organizations migrating to Nutanix.


11) The Advantage of an Enterprise Cloud Platform

At the end of the day, it’s not just about the work, it’s about how you do it. Nutanix’s utilization of Web-scale architecture is a unique differentiator incorporating hyperconvergence as part of an Enterprise Cloud Platform. Distributed technologies such as Cassandra, NoSQL, MapReduce and Curator enable significantly higher performance and efficiency when optimizing all-flash environments.

 

Data Access: Classic tree-structured metadata query architectures (Btree & R&B) that work well in an array environments where metadata is stored in each physical controller are not optimal in all-flash HCI environments. In HCI, the metadata is distributed across many nodes - making tree-structured lookup inefficient. To combat this inefficiency, Nutanix utilizes big-data technologies such as Cassandra and NoSQL to enable very fast look-up and very high fault tolerance. No single point of failure exists.


Data Sorting: Unlike legacy 3-tier and other HCI approaches which sort data in the IO path, Nutanix evaluates it in the background, enabling better performance. The system scales as nodes are added allowing faster dedupe and compression with increased data locality. Seamless scalability enables rapid evaluation of whether to promote or demote data depending upon memory and storage tiers available.


Analytics: Even all-flash environments have different tiers of flash (performance & endurance). Metadata continues to grow and it can be difficult to cost-effectively keep it in memory or on the fastest tier.


Nutanix has again utilized a big data approach to solve this challenge. A custom-written version of MapReduce/Curator is used to determine key elements of the data including what is hot, compressible, and dedupeable. The same framework similarly determines what data needs to move to another node for data locality, what data has been deleted, and what data needs to be relocated or rebalanced – particularly in the event of failure.


These analytics enable deeper insight including trending, real-time analysis, proactive monitoring and root cause analysis, and alerting.


Timing In contrast to other solutions that rely solely on sub-optimal, inline compression and proprietary hardware for dedupe, Nutanix enables offline sorting with MapReduce/Curator. This enables more writes before deciding to compress or dedupe and avoids the requirement for a performance limiting centralized database.


Unified Cache Cache enables data locality. Deduplication makes it possible to store more data in this performance tier and maximize local cache hit potential. To maximize efficiency without limiting performance, Nutanix performs in-line local deduplication of context cache. 

 

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NVMe: Dead Man Running?

At least one of the legacy storage manufacturers is promoting NVMe as the future. But migration to NVMe is going to further amplify the advantages of putting the compute next to the data rather than across the network. It will accelerate the journey to extinction of all the fabric stretched monoliths - including AFAs.


Thanks for content and edits to @joshodgers @briansuhr @_praburam @Priyadarshi_Pd  @sudheenair @binnygill @vcdxnz001 @RohitGoyal

Learn More

Nutanix Flash Forward Website Landing Page & eBook
Ten Things You Need to Know About Nutanix Acropolis Block Services
Ten Things You Need to Know About Nutanix Acropolis File Services


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.

 

 

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