Acropolis 4.5 included several core features as first steps in fulfilling the vision of the Application Mobility Fabric (AMF). One such feature is Nutanix VM Mobility. Nutanix VM mobility provides a simplified means for replicating Nutanix based virtual machines between different hypervisors.
The initial release with 4.5 provides support for replicating Windows based virtual machines from a Nutanix ESXi cluster to a Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) cluster. The 4.6 release introduces bi-directional movement of Linux and Windows based virtual machines between ESXi and AHV.
Nutanix VM mobility leverages native Nutanix snapshots and protection domains to replicate data between clusters. To make the migration seamless between different hypervisors, with 4.5 Nutanix provided a VM Mobility Installer for prestaging the required AHV drivers within Windows based virtual machines to be replicated.
Application mobility fabric eliminating lock-in and enabling choice
In 4.6, the Nutanix Guest Tools are provided to install the appropriate drivers for both Windows and Linux, and communicate with the Nutanix cluster to confirm mobility support.
VM mobility can be used for various purposes including VM migration, creating test and development environments or even disaster recovery. The mobility process is very straightforward and includes the following high level steps. These steps are specific to the 4.6 release.
Enabling and installing the Nutanix Guest Tools for the VMs to be replicated.
Creating a Remote Site in each Nutanix cluster. This includes network mapping between the AHV and ESXi networks.
Creating an asynchronous Protection Domain and Schedule(s) to replicate the required VMs
Once replication is established, VMs are moved or created using several workflow options
For planned mobility, all virtual machines within a protection domain are moved using the “migrate” option. This will unregister the VM’s from the source cluster, replicate any incremental changes since the last snapshot and register the VM’s in the target cluster.
For unplanned mobility, where a source cluster is offline, all virtual machines within a protection domain are moved using the “activate” option. Activating will register the VM’s within a protection domain in the target cluster using the most recently available local snapshot.
Virtual Machines can also be created using the snapshot “restore” option. A snapshot restore to a new location operates as a clone and registers the VM in the target cluster. This helps to enable test and development scenarios and allows for targeting individual virtual machines within a protection domain. This method also allows replication to continue between sites uninterrupted as the state of the protection domain is not impacted.
The following video provides an overview of the process for migrating bi-directionally between ESXi and AHV. Please continue the conversation on the Nutanix Next Community and let us know what you think.
This post was authored by Mike McGhee, Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix