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Ten Things you need to know about Nutanix Acropolis Block Services

by Community Manager on ‎11-16-2016 02:16 PM - last edited on ‎02-17-2017 12:14 PM by Community Manager (3,999 Views)

 

This post was authored by Rohit Goyal, Product Marketing Manager, at Nutanix. Revised on 2/17 to reflect latest functionality.

 

Continuing the 10 things you need to know blog series, the next step is Acropolis Block Services. We announced Acropolis Block Services (ABS) with the 4.7 release (June 2016). Since then we have continued to enhance its functionality with additional performance improvements and increased qualified client support based on customer demand. Let’s uncover the “ten things you need to know” about ABS:

 

  1. ABS makes it possible to implement shared infrastructure that addresses both hyperconvergence and block-level iSCSI storage for physical servers in a single solution without compromising high availability, scalability, or performance.
  2. ABS enables IT to fully utilize existing server infrastructure even with workloads that remain on bare-metal servers due to licensing constraints, legacy application portability, or existing investments.
  3. Utilize ABS for efficient backup and recovery techniques with simplified cloning of production databases through simplified Prism operations.
  4. Nutanix continually seeks to add additional support for a range of operating systems and hypervisors:

 

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  1. Application performance seamlessly scales with the size of the Nutanix cluster, eliminating the need for fork-lift upgrades. Adding additional nodes increases performance and capacity together and doesn’t require any client-side reconfiguration.
  2. Keep operations intact while you add capacity. Online LUN resizing now available in AOS 5.0, will make it easy to increase LUN sizes as needed while minimizing disruption.
  3. Dynamic load balancing, also available in AOS 5.0, will avoid performance bottlenecks by automatically rebalancing traffic across the cluster.
  4. AOS 5.0 also introduces high security with CHAP authentication and IP/IQN based whitelisting designed to ensure that only authorized clients can access specific iSCSI LUNs.
  5. High availability applications such as Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering can easily fail-over/fail-back iSCSI LUNs in a matter of seconds.
  6. ABS can be used to export Nutanix storage for use with applications like Oracle databases including Oracle RAC, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2 running outside of the Nutanix cluster on bare-metal or virtualized servers. This makes it easy to take advantage of the Nutanix web-scale architecture and migrate these apps to hyperconvergence and enterprise clouds at your own pace.

 

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Forward-Looking Statements

This blog includes express and implied forward-looking statements concerning product features and technology that are under development or in process, capabilities of such product features and technology, and our plans to introduce product features, including support for certain third-party solutions, 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: 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; 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 discretion, choose to charge separate fees for the delivery of any product enhancements or functionality which are ultimately made available.

There’s a Platform for that!

by Community Manager ‎07-20-2016 12:10 AM - edited ‎07-20-2016 10:40 AM (3,068 Views)

This post was authored by Amit Jain, Product Management at Nutanix

 

Apple’s ubiquitous catchphrase “There’s an App for that” truly hammers home the fact that if one has a need, they have a solution with their vast app ecosystem.

 

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At Nutanix, we pride ourselves with an equally exciting tagline “There’s a Platform for That (App) as you, just like other businesses around the world, can run any of your mission-critical Enterprise apps and production workloads on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud platform. Nutanix is a rare company that has uniquely blended consumer-grade design with web-scale engineering to produce reliable platform that can host any of your enterprise apps and as well provide One-click simplicity with machine intelligence so as to enable you for the Cloud era!

 

Choice of Hardware - Nutanix NX, Dell XC or Lenovo HX!

 

In terms of hardware platforms, you have a choice of buying the appliances that Nutanix (NX) offers, or going with one of our OEM partners - Dell (XC) or Lenovo (HX). The platforms come in variety of form factors and backplane choices to tailor for your specific application needs.  The platforms are CTO (Configure-to-Order), which means that you have the ability to right size your hardware platform to exactly meet the need of your workloads by choosing the right amount of compute, memory and storage that your Apps need.  

 

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Moreover, the newly introduced Broadwell-based NX platforms now offer All-Flash CTO variants for all the models and thus you can get a maximum density of upto 48TB Raw Flash capacity per node! Those also come with Energy Star rating as well so that you can realize a Green IT environment for your Data Center!

 

 

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All the platforms run the Acropolis software and you can also choose to run the AHV Hypervisor so as to streamline the entire stack, which again much like Apple, provides an integrated, out-of-the box experience. This also enables you to meet any Security governance requirements.

 

Rich Ecosystem - For End-to-End Solution

 

Our robust Acropolis architecture provides extensibility, while at the same time exposing APIs and allowing integration to leverage the broader ecosystem of partners to deliver a true end-to-end solution for you.

 

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Any Enterprise App at any Scale – We’ve got it covered!

 

You can use the Nutanix solution for running enterprise applications such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and SAP as well as for remote office/branch office deployments and for VDI, collaboration, unified communication etc.

 

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With the recently released Acropolis Block Services (ABS), you don’t have to leave Bare metal workloads behind. Such applications, like Oracle RAC, can now leverage the benefits of Nutanix architecture by using Nutanix cluster as the storage backend over iSCSI. Acropolis File Services (AFS) provides a highly available and massively scalable data repository for a wide range of deployments and applications, including large-scale home directories and user profiles. Acropolis Container Services provides simple lifecycle management and Persistent enterprise-class storage for Containers.

 

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Moreover, with our faster-to-deploy, pay-as-you-grow consumption model, as well as One-click management and machine-learning insights delivered via Prism, you can truly mimic the public cloud consumption characteristics that are so cherished by your IT team.

 

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In a nutshell, Nutanix is a rare company that uniquely blends consumer-grade design with web-scale engineering to produce reliable platform that can host any of your enterprise apps as well to provide One-click simplicity so as to enable you for the Cloud era, and thus we can truly say “There’s a Platform for that”!

 

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Picture8.pngTechy Tidbit: The first Apple logo, co-designed by Steve Jobs, was inspired by Wordsworth quotation that was also inscribed into the original logo that said: "Newton... a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought". The logo was later re-designed by Rob Janoff. Interesting connotations exist for the bite on the apple being a reference to Alan Turing story or to the plain simple “byte”!

 

“There’s an App for That” is a trademark of Apple Inc.

Putting Acropolis Block Services (ABS) through its Paces

by Community Manager ‎07-08-2016 05:22 AM - edited ‎07-08-2016 01:24 PM (3,024 Views)

Our introductory post on ABS covered the design of ABS and the use cases for which it was designed. In this follow-on article, we will walk ABS through the paces of a real world deployment and day-two operations.

 

To make things interesting, we’ll assume a Nutanix cluster serving virtual machines (web & application tier) with spare capacity and performance resources. The administrator has chosen to serve these resources out to an external bare metal server running Oracle.

 

Let’s start with the initial deployment using ABS.

 

1. Provision ABS Storage on Nutanix and Whitelist Oracle

In the storage tab of the Prism management interface, provision the storage in a couple of clicks by creating a volume group (a grouping of LUNs or volumes) and whitelist each Oracle server. This enables discovery of the newly created LUNs.

 

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2. Discover the Storage on the Oracle Server(s)

On the bare metal server(s), issue an iSCSI discovery to make the storage available to Oracle. Nutanix ABS LUNs, no matter how many have been created, are discovered over a single virtual IP called the Data Services IP. Oracle then layers ASM on the LUNs, readying them for I/O.

 

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3. Generate Load on the Oracle Instance

Because of the way that ABS is designed, the single virtual IP address for ABS keeps I/O spread uniformly across all nodes in the cluster. A single node is never overwhelmed. Indeed, most monster Oracle databases will run comfortably on an entry-level, three-node Nutanix cluster.

 

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Day-Two Operations

The advantages of ABS persist long after the initial deployment. Now let’s consider some of the most common storage management scenarios that benefit from the Nutanix architecture with ABS.

 

Capacity Planning

Avoiding forklift upgrades by making it easy to scale capacity and performance as needed is one of the greatest benefits that comes from deploying a Nutanix infrastructure. Instead of having to pre-purchase fibre-channel SAN capacity in anticipation of future growth (and then frequently guessing incorrectly), Nutanix makes it easy to “pay as you grow” by scaling the number of nodes on an as-needed basis. This advantage remains true for ABS deployments.

 

Prism uses machine learning techniques to help administrators predict how much runway is left in term of cluster capacity and performance based on how fast Oracle is growing. This runway can be displayed as part of Prism’s native 1-click planning capability.

 

As the runway shortens, it is then a simple task to use this facility to optimize the environment by either following the product’s recommendations or by adding nodes to plan for events anticipated by storage administrators.

 

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Scaling the Cluster

Simply plug in one or more new nodes. After they are automatically discovered, it is a simple operation to allocate them to the existing cluster. The new resources will contribute as equal citizens serving I/O for a subset of LUNs, ensuring a well-balanced cluster. This means Oracle will be able to take full advantage of the newly added capacity and performance resources.

 

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Provisioning an Oracle “Test” Virtual Machine

Quickly Clone the volume group hosting the LUNs and then attach them to one or more virtual machines. Clones are fast and take up only minimal additional capacity (deltas). Attaching the clones to virtual machines is a one-click operation.

 

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Handling Node Failures

ABS intelligently handles failures by failing over LUNs on the failed node to surviving nodes. Failover occurs in the order of seconds so applications see a minor blip but no disruption. Oracle will lose no more than 1/nth of performance and capacity resources (n nodes in a cluster) on this failure. Contrast this with traditional dual-head storage architectures where approximately 50% of performance resources are lost when a storage head fails.

 

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Upgrading the Cluster

Upgrade the Nutanix cluster through the 1-Click Upgrade dialog in Prism. Upgrades are non-disruptive and occur one node at a time in a rolling fashion. While the upgrade is proceeding, I/O is intelligently managed across nodes, ensuring applications receive optimal performance during the upgrade.

 

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Summary

In our initial post, we covered the design and promise of ABS—especially how ABS enables Nutanix to act as a bridge to hyperconvergence by consolidating virtualized environments and bare-metal storage onto a single Nutanix fabric. In this second post, we examined how to deploy ABS in three easy steps and led you through several of the most common day-two advantages of ABS.

 

These can result in significant opex and capex savings that will be of interest to many IT organizations. If you’re curious to hear more about ABS performance, please check out our final blog in this series  which presents proof of the high I/O performance possible with ABS in hyperconverged environments.

 

Acropolis Block Services (ABS) is available today as a generally available product. We hope you’ll check it out and let us know what you think! 

 

This post is authored by Timothy Isaacs and Geoffrey Noer, Product Management Nutanix

 

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