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Part I: How to setup a three-node NUC Nutanix CE cluster

by Community Manager on ‎11-23-2016 01:16 PM - last edited on ‎12-08-2016 11:53 AM by Community Manager (5,786 Views)


This blog was authorized by @MarcNutanix Sr. Systems Engineer at Nutanix.


The following is my experience in successfully setting up a three-node Nutanix Community Edition (CE) cluster for my home lab.  During this process I did a lot of research and reviewed the CE forums, [go].


Since much of the information can be found in many locations, I thought it was a good idea to put them together in a single post that consolidates the details on how to get your first Nutanix CE cluster up and running.


To build a single NUC Node you need the following


(1) Intel NUC Kit NUC6i7KYK Mini PC [go]


(1) Transcend 32GB JetFlash 710 USB 3.1/3.0 Flash Drive [go]


(2) Sandisk X400 Solid State Drive - Internal (SD8SN8U-512G-1122) [go]


(1) Crucial 32GB Kit (16GBx2) DDR4 2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) SODIMM 260-Pin Memory - CT2K16G4SFD8213 [go]


 A single NUC using the ingredients above will cost you around $1,000.


NOTE: Nutanix CE can run on 1, 3 or 4 Node Configurations.  I specifically selected a (3) Node configuration in my home lab since this is also the minimum config for our Nutanix Customers in the real world.


The hardware install is very easy, just flip the NUC over, loosen 4 screws at each corner, remove the bottom cover and insert memory and the SSD drives.




Now that you have your hardware setup, the next step is to register and download the Nutanix CE software.


Register to join the Community

  1. Start here http://www.nutanix.com/products/community-edition/
  2. Scroll down the page and click on Get Access



  1. Fill in the info and click on submit.




Now that you have access to the Community

  1. Download the Nutanix CE Image file [go]


  1. Next, you have to get the image onto a USB Drive which your Node will boot from. I used Rufus on Windows, https://rufus.akeo.ie/


  1. Verify you have the following files downloaded.



Create a bootable Nutanix CE image on your USB Flash Drive

  1. Insert your USB Flash Drive.


  1. Run Rufus and click on the Image Icon.



  1. Make sure to change below to “All files” instead of ISO file, find the Nutanix CE Image file and click Open.




  1. Just click on Start and the Nutanix CE Image will be “burned” onto the USB Flash Drive.



  1. IMPORTANT: Each NUC needs its own USB flash drive to boot up and run Nutanix CE.
  2. Now plug in the USB flash drives into each one of your NUCs, power on the NUCs and install Nutanix CE.


Planning my (3) Node NUC Nutanix CE Cluster





I wanted to take some time and explain how my home network setup is configured and how my Nutanix CE home lab will interface with it. The Nutanix CE configuration will be sitting on my bookshelf in my home office, ready for use!


So my cable modem and wireless access point (with 4 Ports) sits on the main floor.  All my laptops, tablets, phones, devices connect to the main floor WAP.


Since I wanted to have my Nutanix CE home lab sit in the bookshelf of my home office which is upstairs, I did the following:

-       Purchased a gigabit ethernet switch for my lab

-       Purchased a WAP to extend my home wireless

-       Simply plugged in each NUC’s ethernet port into the gigabit ethernet switch

-       Since the WAP is extending my home wireless, anything I plug into the bookshelf switch is connected to the internet


NOTE: You need to have internet connectivity when you log into the CVM or Cluster IP address via Prism to manage and run your Nutanix CE Cluster because this is tied to your Community email/password on my.nutanix.com


My configuration


Host (Physical NUC) IP Address:

Host Subnet Mask:

Host Gateway:


CVM (Each Host runs a Nutanix Controller Virtual Machine) IP Address:

CVM Subnet Mask:

CVM Gateway:


Things to do after Nutanix CE Installation and before you create your Cluster

After the installation, the first thing I did was to change the CVM memory which by default takes up 16GB.  The NUC has a total of 32GB of memory, I wanted to reduce the amount of memory the CVM default takes so I can run plenty of virtual machines in my Nutanix CE home lab.


I decided to reduce the CVM memory to 8GB.  After a couple weeks of using my Nutanix CE Cluster with plenty of virtual machines, I have not experienced any problems or concerns at all running each CVM with 8GB of memory.


To reduce the CVM memory to 8GB you can either (1) log directly into the Nutanix CE node or (2) SSH into the Nutanix CE node.  Either way make sure to log in as “root” and not “nutanix”.


NOTE: Remember anytime you log into the NUC or Node you use “root” and anytime you log into the CVM you use “nutanix”. The password by default is nutanix/4u for either “root” or “nutanix”.


To set the CVM memory to 8GB

  1. virsh list --all
  2. virsh shutdown <CVM-Name>
  3. virsh setmem <CVM-Name> 8G --config
  4. virsh setmaxmem <CVM-Name> 8G --config
  5. virsh start <CVM-Name>
  6. virsh list –all, to make sure CVM is back up and running


Confirm CVM memory is set to 8GB

  1. virsh dominfo <CVM-Name>




Creating the Cluster

Now that you have installed each NUC node and configured each CVM with 8GB of memory, now is the exciting step of setting up a Cluster with your NUC Nodes.


  1. SSH into one of the CVMs, I opened up terminal on my Mac and typed “ssh nutanix@” and used the password “nutanix/4u”
  2. Type “cluster –s cvmip,cvmip,cvmip create (no spaces between the commas)
  3. Example, to create my cluster I used “cluster –s,, create”


  1. After completion, hopefully everything is up and running
  2. You can type “cluster status” and each CVM will display its status




Logging into your super cool new Nutanix CE Cluster for the first time

  1. Open your web browser of choice and connect to one of your CVM IP Addresses
  2. Use “admin” for the username and the password
  3. You will then be asked to change the password


NOTE: You need to make sure your laptop, tablet, etc. that you are using to access Prism also has internet access since Prism will ask for your email/password that you used to log into the Community site (my.nutanix.com).



Congrats!  You are now logged into your Nutanix CE Cluster


Confirm that CVMs are set to 8GB of memory

- Click on Home – VM




- Click on Table, check the Include Controller VMs box and verify your CVMs are running at 8GB of Memory





Now let the fun begin!


Here is a pic of my Nutanix CE Home Lab Bookshelf Cluster





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


The Prestige Continues - Community Edition

by Community Manager ‎06-02-2016 01:49 PM - edited ‎06-07-2016 12:29 PM (11,815 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 


Nutanix Community Edition. The Prestige

by Community Manager ‎03-11-2016 08:18 AM - edited ‎03-11-2016 09:02 AM (24,658 Views)

Whether you’re watching on television or fortunate enough to see someone like Chris Angel or David Copperfield live on stage, we’re all captivated one way or another by the illusions performed by these artists.


Some of us immediately start dissecting the choreographed act like a detective at a crime scene, in hope that we can solve the mystery or the typical cliché of how the assistants legs became detached from his/her body - Then of course, re-attached once again.


One of my favourite movies “The Prestige” - Michael Caine explains to us that every magic trick consists of 3 parts – known as “the acts”


“The first part is called The pledge; where the magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird, a man\woman. The second act is called The Turn. The Magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. But you wouldn’t clap yet, because making something disappear isn’t enough. You have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act. The hardest part. The part we call The Prestige."


You’re probably wondering what magic or a magician has to do with Nutanix – Well since Nutanix started in 2009, we’ve been performing, what I like to call, REAL Magic through Hyperconvergance and Webscale Technologies – This has translated into making the Datacentre truly invisible.


Something which seemed like only an illusion to many has now been widely adopted in all verticals spanning from the Global 500 of companies to the small business http://www.nutanix.com/customers/


There are vendors out there that have tried to clone our “acts”, though almost all of them have fallen short of the “Turn” – Let alone have ever made it to “The Prestige”. It’s nothing but an illusion.


Picture11.pngWhen revealing the method behind one of his tricks, Christian Bale advises a youngster to “Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret. But as soon as you give it up, you’ll be nothing to them. The secret impresses no one. The Trick you use it for is everything”


Since Nutanix isn’t creating an illusion, trick or more importantly afraid of becoming “nothing” once we reveal the interworking’s to our technology – We have (and will continue to be) very transparent. The Nutanix Bible (www.nutanixbible.com) as well as our rockstar bloggers like Josh Odgers (http://www.joshodgers.com) and Michael Webster (http://longwhiteclouds.com) are a great example of this, not to mention the ability to install our software on your own hardware at home, lab or up in the cloud.


Welcome to the Nutanix Community Edition.


What is the CE edition?

Community Edition is a 100% software solution enabling technology enthusiasts to easily evaluate the latest hyperconvergence technology at zero cost. Imagine having the ability to experience and test drive the same Nutanix technology that powers the datacenters of thousands of leading enterprises around the world on your own hardware – Something that was never possible with 3 Tier Architecture.


Community edition can really be consumed in two ways:

  1. Physical hardware that meets the minimum system requirements
  2. On demand public cloud service via Ravello Systems for as little as <$1.00 an hour – Perfect for those that have constraints around the accessibility of hardware.



Why Did We Do it?

We simply want to enable a broader audience of customers, partners and users to experience our advanced web-scale technology without the typical constraints around hardware accessibility, configuration and/or procurement.


If you’re an organization that wants to evaluate the industry’s leading hyperconverged infrastructure solution and determine suitability for your applications, this is a perfect use case, since it takes just a few minutes to install CE, then you’re on your way to spinning up Apps in no time.  


Perhaps you’re an existing user that wants to further develop their skills and expertise on Nutanix or even take advantage of our extensibility API’s (REST API, nCLI, Powershell) to develop your own levels of integration.


As a recent Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX #09) I also highly recommend CE as a way to further develop your knowledge and skills on Acropolis before your panel interview.


Nutanix channel partners and our OEM’s can also benefit from CE, since it’s packed with all the key capabilities and features of the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform allowing demonstrations to be more agile and efficient


Now… Let’s get back to the Magic.


The First Act. The Pledge. The Power of Software Defined.

Software defined means abstracting the advanced functionality from the underlying hardware. In this case Storage, but why just stop there?


The Intel NUC – “An Ordinary Something…”


Picture12.pngThe NUC happens to be one of the most versatile, small form-factor mini PC’s out on the market today. It’s simple, ultra portable and consumes minimal power. This is predominantly one of the reason why it grabbed my attention.


Inside the NUC Kit, you’ll find just a motherboard with an Intel CPU combined with the standard 1 Gb Ethernet port, sound card and USB’s.


My first Act consists of acquiring\installing the following items:




Part Number

Intel NUC

5th Generation Intel Core i7-5557U Processor

3.1Ghz Dual Core CPU



Kingston HyperX Impact Black 16GB Kit



Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB M.2 SSD



Seagate 1TB Laptop Gaming SSHD


USB Flash Drive

SanDisk 64GB Cruzer Extreme USB 3.0 Flash Drive


Minimum System Requirements can be found here



The Second Act. The Turn. Nutanix Community Edition (CE)


Remember, “The Turn” is all about taking that ordinary something and making it “Extraordinary”!


Nutanix’s CE edition installs the Acropolis Hypervisor as well as the Controller Virtual Machine; just like the full production version that you would get from Nutanix or our OEM Vendors like Dell or Lenovo.


So that “Extraordinary” means taking our Ordinary Intel NUC and turning it into a Platform to deliver greater value – Remember, we’re not just storage!


The ability to run Virtual Machines, clone/Snapshot them and/or replicate them to another cluster, or AWS/Azure are just a small subset of the features available.  Did I mention Application Mobility? With 3 Intel Nuc’s in a cluster, you can also have 2 copies of your data for further resiliency, just like a Nutanix production environment; all at a price of ~$700 USD for the hardware.


When reading this blog, you may have noticed that my Intel NUC isn’t running the minimum supported configuration of 4 Cores in order to run the CVM and the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). Since this is just my lab and demo purposes, I’ll show you how we get around the installer check.


Downloading and Preparing the CE Image

  1. Click here to register and download the latest bootable CE Image
  2. Once you’ve downloaded the bootable image file, the next step is to create a bootable USB Flash drive from the CE image

(a) 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


(b) 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”
  3. Browse to the location to where the image file is located and click the start button to begin the process 


Modifying the Installer to allow for only 2 Cores

As I mentioned previously, since my Intel NUC hasn’t meet the minimum hardware requirements from a CPU Core perspective, I’ll have to modify the installer check to allow for CE to install on 2 Cores. The file in question is located at:




Since we’re working on an EXT4 boot partition, you’ll need a flavour of linux in order to edit the file.


Using VI or something similar; open the minimum_reqs.py file and change the “MIN_CORES” value from “4” to now “2




Installing the AHV and CVM

Installing the CE edition is pretty straight forward and really simple to do – Boot off your bootable USB Flash drive and follow the install prompts.


With one CE Appliance, you’ll have 1 copy of data (aka. RF=1) or with 3 Appliances you data will be protected with 2 copies/RF=2) which is really cool.

  1. Boot off the newly created USB Boot drive
  2. Type “Install” to get started


  1. Enter the relevant IP addresses for your CVM and Hypervisor
  2. Select “Create Single-Node Cluster” if you only have one appliance
  3. Accept the EULA and Select “Start”
  4. 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 – Pretty easy huh?


The Third Act. The Prestige.

We’ve taken that “ordinary something” and made it “Extraordinary” in our second act.


Now for the Prestige.


When sitting idle and no virtual machines running; here is a performance snapshot of the Intel NUC running CE




The next step was to create a Windows 7 VM with the following specifications

  • 1 x vCPU
  • 1 GB vRAM
  • 5 x Virtual Disks (Disk 0: OS 30GB, Disk 1 to 4 10GB’s)
  • 1 x vNIC

Using a basic tool like IOMeter, I created the following access Profile consisting of:

  1. 4 Individual Workers mapped directly to one of the vDISK’s including 64 IO’s outstanding per target
  2. Access Specification 1 of 4K Transfer Request Size, 100% Random, 100% Read, burst length of 64 IO’s
  3. Access Specification 2 of 1MB Transfer Request Size, 100% Random, 100% Read, burst length of 64 IO’s


And here are the results:


Access Specification 1: 13,552 IOPS @ 54.25 MBps, 0.87ms Latency




Access Specification 2: 4,518 IOPS and Over 1 GBps @ ~1.6ms Latency!





At this stage the Physical processor was at 100% Usage serving as the bottle neck as well as the inability to run more Virtual Machines convened by both Memory and CPU Limitations.




Whilst this was nothing but a synthetic test and used to demonstrate Peak Performance (like a Bugatti reaching its top speed only on closed circuit racetrack), what it has demonstrated to us is the true potential of this ordinary hardware platform when combined with the Nutanix Community Edition to bring further value (aka. The Turn!)


Since the CE edition is not supported for Production use, it’s a cheap alternative to hosting virtual machines (test/dev), a Remote Branch Office solution or even serve as a scale-out file server (Coming soon to CE/Tech preview in NOS 4.6) - One could also use the built in replication feature set to replicate the VM’s on CE into a full production Nutanix Cluster, Azure or AWS instance – So even though I only have 1 Intel NUC, I can further increase data protection, integrity and resiliency in other ways.




With a supported maximum of 4 x Nodes running CE in a cluster we would have an aggregate of CVM, SSD and HDD Performance. So the performance numbers quoted above would be increased since all CVM’s work together to provide Availability, Manageability Recoverability, Performance and Data Reduction.


This is our Prestige.


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


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