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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 (2,662 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



  • Click on Upload Image




  • 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



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



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




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



  • 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



  • Over on the right hand side click on Create VM


  • 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.






  • 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)




  • 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



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



  • 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



  • 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



  • 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.



  • Now under Disks, your configuration should look like this



  • 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.



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



  • Now that everything is configured, click Save




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%.




  • 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



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)



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



  • Click Browse



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



  • Expand the vioscsi folder




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



  • Click on the amd64 folder
  • Click OK




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



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



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



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



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



  • Click on Browse my computer for driver software



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



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



  • 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



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



  • 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



  • 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.



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



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


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



  • 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



  • 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




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



  • Cool, you have now installed NGT



  • 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



  • 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.

The Prestige Continues - Community Edition

by Community Manager ‎06-02-2016 01:49 PM - edited ‎06-07-2016 12:29 PM (11,862 Views)

My previous blog post titled “Nutanix Community Edition. The Prestige” – I discussed the concept of taking something “Ordinary” and making it “Extraordinary” followed by the grand “Prestige.”


Take the recent platform updates contained in our Acropolis Base/Hypervisor/Storage Fabric and combine that with the latest generation of Intel’s NUC (Next Unit of Computing) family and our Prestige continues to evolve with Nutanix Community Edition (CE).


In version 4.6 we introduced a wealth of feature sets and advancements including;

  • Updates to the Distributed Storage Fabric; Scale-Out file server, Volume Groups, Self Service restore, etc..
  • App Mobility / Cross Hypervisor DR
  • OpenStack Integration and much more …(More information here)

While the platform continues to deliver exceptional features, and greater value, the main constraint we were faced with was the limitations of Intel NUC 5th Generation hardware. An Intel i7 Processor (2 cores @ 3.1Ghz) and up to 16GB RAM (Supported), required a “tweak” to CE’s installer to ensure it would pass its hardware validation tests since the NUC would not meet the 4 Core Processor requirement to operate the Controller Virtual Machine (CVM).


[ Related: Nutanix Community Edition. The Prestige ]


For the average home user/developer/partner, this was not a big deal. Neither was Overcommitting on CPU and yea you could lower the CVM’s RAM requirements to squeeze in some more VM’s – But you’re now in unsupported territory.


Picture1.pngThanks to Intel’s 6th Generation NUC, the Skull Canyon - we are no longer faced with these limiting constraints since this tiny form factor PC (211mm x 116mm x 28mm) delivers an incredible amount of horsepower and platform capabilities in your pocket!


With an Intel 6th Generation Processor (i7 / 4 Cores @ 2.6Ghz), up to 32GB RAM and Dual M.2 Slots for SSD’s, you now have the ability to take advantage of feature sets like a Scale-Out file server, Openstack or simply just build better demonstration capabilities for your customers and prospects.


Perhaps you just want to build a home lab or develop a cluster in a box solution similar to my previous blog. The possibilities are endless.

So first things first, what do you get with the Skull Canyon kit? Inside the neat packaging, you’ll find;


  • Picture2.pngThe Skull Canyon NUC
  • A Spare cover (without the Skull logo – I must admit, I’m not a fan of the pirate like theme)
  • A power supply 19v/120w (USA Specific adaptor only) – The wattage is higher on these, infact double, but I suppose that has to do with the horsepower + the 3D graphics etc
  • Vesa mounting bracket

Instructions….And not forgetting the little intel sticker


Note; you will need to provide your own RAM as well as your SSD’s since the Skull Canyon does not come with these components.


For this build we are using Kingston Technology Hyper X Impact 32GB Kit (2400MHz DDR4) as well as FIPS-140-2 Certified and validated SSD’s from Integral.


Picture3.pngHaving the SSD’s encrypted means that our data is safe and secured with AES 256Bit Encryption – Even to the point where the chip’s on the circuit board feature a tamper proof epoxy resin that will disintegrate the chips if you were to try and de-solder if from the circuit board. Pretty neat huh?


After the hardware components were installed (RAM and SSD) – It was time to install Community Edition.


To get started you’ll need to first register and download the latest build/image file of CE, as well as spare/blank USB key to create the bootable image of AHV.


If you’re a Nutanix User already, the bootable USB Device is like the SATADOM inside a conventional rackmount server.


This will live permanently attached to the NUC.

  1. Once you’ve downloaded the bootable image file, the next step is to create a bootable USB Flash drive from the CE image
    1. On a Mac:
      1. Insert your flash drive
      2. In a terminal window run “diskutil list” to determine the device node assigned to your flash media (e.g. /dev/disk2).
      3. Next run “diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN” (replace N with the disk number from the last command)
      4. Now type “sudo dd if=/path/to/downloaded.img of=/dev/rdiskN bs=1m”


  • Note: /path/to/downloaded.img is the path where the image file is located; for example, ./ubuntu.img or ./ubuntu.dmg).
  • /dev/rdiskN is the location of the USB Flash drive as you recorded in step 3b


  1. On a Windows PC
    1. Download a utility called Rufus to create the USB Bootable drive from the CE Image file
    2. It’s pretty straight forward, though make sure you set “Create a bootable disk using dd image.”
  • Browse to the location to where the image file is located and click the start button to begin the process 


Now since the Skull Canyon is pretty new, you’ll find that the drivers for Intel NIC aren’t included in the AHV build (Don’t worry we’re working on this…) So, for now, we’ll need to install the drivers manually.


Thanks to my colleague Adam Fried-Gintis (Community Edition Lead) for providing the necessary steps!


  • Insert your newly created USB key into either a Windows PC with a utility like EXT2FSD installed so you can read/write to the EXT4 based partition on the USB key or a linux based VM.Download the file “e1000e.ko” file and copy/overwrite the existing “e1000e.ko” driver on bootable CE USB stick into the following directory:
  • Download the file “e1000e.ko” file and copy/overwrite the existing “e1000e.ko” driver on bootable CE USB stick into the following directory:
  • Once copied/overwritten – Insert the USB key into your Intel NUC and proceed to boot off the USB Key
  • You’ll now see the following prompt:


  • Login as “root” and the default password “nutanix/4u”
  • Load the Intel e1000e driver by typing:
    modprobe e1000e
  • Restart the network service by typing:
    service network restartLog out of “root” and now run the CE installer
  • Log out of “root” and now run the CE installer
  • Type “Install” to get started


  • Enter the relevant IP addresses for your CVM and Hypervisor
  • Select “Create Single-Node Cluster” if you only have one appliance
  • Accept the EULA and Select “Start.”
  • Once the installer concludes, simply enter the IP address of the Controller Virtual Machine (CVM) in a web browser, and you’ll be presented with Prism.
  • While you’re at it, make sure you check for updates too.


Now that the cluster was installed and fully functional, it was time for some Plasti-Dip and Nutanix branding of course.


Plasti-Dip is such a versatile product with multiple use cases. Think of it as vinyl wrapping though you’re spraying it out of a Can!


The best part about this product is that you can peel it off when no longer required.

Simply spray 5-6 even coats and let it dry and you’re done. Easy!




The Final Product.





This post was authored by Richard Arsenian, Nutanix Global Solution Architect – OEM Alliances | VCDX #126 | NPX #09 



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