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All-Flash, Nutanix XCP, and Enterprise Applications

by Community Manager ‎11-04-2015 11:55 AM - edited ‎11-04-2015 12:53 PM (1,932 Views)

All-flash storage supercharges application performance, but the optimum way for IT teams to deploy flash is still a subject of debate. This is the second in a series of blog posts exploring the advantages of all-flash hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) for enterprise apps. The first post covered a recent IDC report on optimizing flash for demanding applications.

 

All-flash infrastructure lowers latency and increases throughput for critical database applications running on databases like Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Instead of wasting valuable cycles waiting for I/O, server cores stay busy processing transactions. Because the same workload can be supported with fewer cores doing more productive work, it is possible to lower the database-licensing costs.

 

While performance is important - and everyone likes lower costs - when you choose an all-flash solution, you can’t afford to compromise on availability or manageability. Nutanix XCP delivers all three! The all flash Nutanix XCP NX-9000 series, now on its second processor generation can enhance your enterprise application environment by eliminating storage and virtualization complexity.

Nutanix XCP Delivers Maximum All-Flash Performance

The hyperconverged Nutanix XCP delivers predictable storage performance without complex configuration or tuning. You get optimal performance for critical apps right out of the box. The Nutanix Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF) is designed to ensure data locality for running applications. This means database applications access their data from local flash storage, achieving the shortest possible I/O path for maximum performance and avoiding network hops that add I/O latency.

 

Nutanix DSF pools storage and exports it to the virtualization and application layer, eliminating the need for SAN or NAS. In case of the NX-9000 series based cluster, this is the local and remote flash across all nodes. Hypervisors, VMs, and applications are supported by VM-centric, software-defined services including replication, VM snapshots, and clones - a set of services you’ll be hard pressed to find in most all-flash arrays.

 

Inline data reduction technologies reduce the total amount of storage you need, offsetting the cost of flash media and reducing the amount of data written to flash for enhanced endurance. Matter of fact, Nutanix XCP uses Intel processor extensions for tasks such as deduplication, achieving similar data reduction results as proprietary hardware without the limitations of proprietary hardware. Nutanix DSF offers both inline and adaptive compression and deduplication. Unlike most all-flash arrays, you can set the policies by storage pool without burdening the entire system.

 

Nutanix HCI Delivers Exceptional Availability

Despite the undeniable impact of application unavailability and data loss, the majority of business-critical applications are under-protected. Legacy data protection and DR solutions have failed to adapt to the needs of modern applications and infrastructure.

 

Nutanix XCP was architected from the ground up to improve application availability with resiliency features such as tunable redundancy and EC-X erasure coding, automated policy based VM backups, and integrated disaster recovery using asynchronous and synchronous replication. VM-centric data protection options help you meet application SLAs in the event of component failure, node failure, rack failure, or an entire datacenter outage. Nutanix Metro Availability and synchronous replication provides for continuous data availability between sites with zero RPO.

 

Nutanix HCI Simplifies Management

Traditional three-tier infrastructure - servers, storage networks, storage - is complicated to manage and maintain. That is an undeniable fact. Adding an all-flash array to your current mix does nothing to improve your overall management picture.

 

The Nutanix XCP including the all-flash NX-9000 takes the pain out of infrastructure management, in part by eliminating the need for separate storage and complicated configuration, provisioning, and mapping with disks, RAID, and LUNs. A single infrastructure is able to address all your enterprise application requirements, eliminating the need to integrate discrete servers, SANs, and storage arrays. Nutanix Prism further simplifies management with a single consumer-grade interface.

 

All-Flash, No Compromise

These three capabilities - maximum all-flash performance, exceptional availability, and easy management - form the foundation of Invisible Infrastructure. With Nutanix you can start small, get started fast, and scale forever. Because Nutanix Invisible Infrastructure just works, your IT team has more time to focus on enhancing enterprise applications, and adding business value.

 

Want to dig deeper into Nutanix technology yourself? Here is some recommended reading:

 

 

Still looking at a standalone all flash storage solution from {EMC-HP-PURE-NETAPP-IBM}? Talk to Nutanix first to find out (info@nutanix.com || @nutanix || next.nutanix.com) why your enterprise apps are best suited for the Nutanix XCP.

 

This post was authored by Sachin Chheda, Adam Moreland & Philip Trautman

This post was written by Kees Baggerman

 

With .Next behind us and all of the announcements have made their impact, we now can take a look at how to extend the Acropolis capabilities to other workloads. One of those obvious workloads is application and desktop virtualization (also referred to as SBC/VDI). We are proud to say that Acropolis and Acropolis Hypervisor were awarded Citrix Ready certification for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp 7.6.

 

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop have always worked very well on Nutanix systems running Hyper-V or ESXi with several Citrix Ready certifications. The Aug 12th announcement brings the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform running Acropolis Hypervisor into the Citrix Ready family for Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp in addition to the already certified Citrix NetScaler VPX and ShareFile.

 

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Customer Value

What Is the Nutanix Architecture

The Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform is a scaled-out cluster of high-performance nodes, or servers, each running a standard hypervisor and containing processors, memory, and local storage, consisting of SSD Flash and high capacity SATA disk drives. Each node runs virtual machines just like a standard virtual machine host.

 

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In addition, the Nutanix Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF – formerly called Nutanix Distributed File System) virtualizes local storage from all nodes into a unified pool. Virtual machines running on the cluster write data to DSF as if they are writing to shared storage.

 

 

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DSF is VM-centric and provides advanced data management features. It brings data closer to virtual machines by storing the data locally on the system, resulting in higher performance at a lower cost. Nutanix web-scale hyperconverged infrastructure can horizontally scale from as few as three nodes to a large number of nodes, enabling organizations to scale their infrastructure as their needs grow.

 

Nutanix Acropolis and DSF deliver a unified pool of storage from all nodes across the cluster, using techniques that including striping, replication, auto-tiering, error detection, failover, and automatic recovery. This pool is then presented as shared storage resources to Nutanix nodes or hypervisor hosts for seamless support of features, including VM migration, HA, and DRS, along with industry-leading data management features. Additional nodes can be added in a plug-and-play manner in this high-performance scale-out architecture to build a cluster that adapts to meet the needs of the business.

 

The Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine is a software-driven, highly scalable, and intelligent data reduction technology. It increases the effective capacity in the disk tier, as well as the RAM and flash cache tiers of the system by eliminating duplicate data.

 

This substantially increases storage efficiency while improving performance due to larger effective cache capacity in RAM and flash. Deduplication is performed by each node individually in the cluster, allowing for efficient and uniform deduplication at scale. This technology is increasingly effective with full/persistent clones or P2V migrations.

 

The DSF Shadow Clones feature enables distributed caching of vDisks or VM data, which is in a ‘multi-reader’ scenario. This allows VMs on each node to read the base VM’s vDisk locally instead of forwarding read requests to a master ‘Base VM’. In the case of VDI, this means the base disk can be cached by each node and all read requests for the base will be served locally. If the base VM is modified, the Shadow Clones will be dropped and the process will start over. In Nutanix testing, Shadow Clones helped cut down boot times by as much as 50% vs. normal scenarios where it was not turned on.

 

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What Is the Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV)

Nutanix Acropolis is our turnkey infrastructure platform that delivers enterprise-class storage, compute, and virtualization services for any application. Acropolis offers IT professionals uncompromising flexibility of where to run their applications, providing a path to freely choose the best virtualization technology for their organization – whether it is traditional hypervisors, emerging hypervisors, or containers.

 

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For the first time, infrastructure decisions can be made entirely based on the performance, economics, scalability, and resiliency requirements of the application, while allowing workloads to move seamlessly without penalty.

 

The three foundational components of Nutanix Acropolis are shown in the following table:

 

Component

Explanation

Distributed Storage Fabric

Enterprise data storage delivered as an on-demand service by employing a highly distributed software architecture. Nutanix eliminates the need for traditional SAN and NAS solutions, and delivers a rich set of VM-centric, software-defined services, including snapshots, clones, high availability, disaster recovery, deduplication, compression, erasure coding storage optimization, and more.

App Mobility Fabric

A newly designed open environment capable of delivering intelligent VM placement, VM migration, and VM conversion across hypervisors and clouds, as well as cross-hypervisor high availability and integrated disaster recovery. Acropolis supports all virtualized applications and will provide a seamless path to containers and hybrid cloud computing.

Acropolis Hypervisor

While the Distributed Storage Fabric fully supports traditional hypervisors such as VMware® ESXi and Microsoft® Hyper-V, Acropolis also includes a native hypervisor based on the proven KVM hypervisor. With enterprise-grade VM management and more , the Acropolis Hypervisor delivers the best overall user experience at the lowest TCO and will be the first hypervisor to plug into the App Mobility Fabric.

What Is the Citrix XenDesktop Architecture

Citrix XenDesktop provides a complete virtual desktop delivery system by integrating several distributed components with advanced configuration tools that simplify the creation and real-time management of the virtual desktop infrastructure. With XenDesktop, you can deliver individual Windows, web, and SaaS applications, or full virtual desktops, to PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, and thin clients with a high-definition user experience.

 

The core components of XenDesktop related to the announced Citrix Ready solution include:

 

  • Desktop Delivery Controller: Installed on servers in the datacenter, the controller authenticates users, manages the assembly of users' virtual desktop environments, and brokers connections between users and their virtual desktops. It controls the state of the desktops, starting and stopping them based on demand and administrative configuration. The Citrix license needed to run XenDesktop also includes Profile Management in some editions, to manage user personalization settings in virtualized or physical Windows environments.

 

  • Studio: Citrix Studio is the management console that will allow you to configure and manage your Citrix XenDesktop environment. It provides different wizard-based deployment or configuration scenarios to publish resources using desktops or applications.

 

  • Virtual Desktop Agent: Installed on virtual desktops and application servers, the agent enables direct FMA (FlexCast Management Architecture) connections between the either app servers or virtual desktop and the user devices.

 

  • Citrix FlexCast: Citrix XenDesktop with FlexCast delivery technology lets you deliver virtual desktops and applications tailored to meet the diverse performance, security, and flexibility requirements of every worker in your organization through a single solution. Centralized, single-instance management helps you deploy, manage, and secure user desktops more easily and efficiently.

 

  • Citrix Receiver: Installed on user devices, the Citrix Desktop Receiver enables direct ICA connections from user devices to virtual desktops.

 

Architectural Summary

With Citrix Ready certification from Citrix for XenDesktop on Acropolis Hypervisor, we can deploy VMs hosted on Acropolis Hypervisor with the Citrix VDA installed. Combining that with an intelligent script framework based on PowerShell, we’re able to deploy VDI or RDSH-based VMs that are ready to provide desktops and/or applications to your users.

 

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Running Citrix XenDesktop on Nutanix will provide you with a linearly scalable and predictable infrastructure based on a pay-as-you-grow model, while providing the performance that is needed for the mission-critical interface to your enterprise application landscape. For example, if you need to double the number of desktops you support, you can just double your Nutanix infrastructure. Or, if you need to support a few additional users, you can just add the appropriate number of Nutanix hosts determined by our sizer tool adding both memory and compute.

 

The next phase will be to provide an integrated deployment method that will support automated machine catalog management on MCS.

 

Read more about this announcement on the Nutanix site and bookmark this page to get your copy of the Nutanix XenDesktop on AHV solution note once it's available! Until then, drop us a note at info@nutanix.com if you are interested in learning how can you run your Citrix stack on Nutanix AHV.

 

Credits for the images regarding the Nutanix infrastructure go to the Nutanix Bible

 

Follow Nutanix on Twitter for the latest news and announcements. Become a member of the NEXT community and continue the conversation with IT pros from the community.

 

Nutanix partners with MongoDB – Now a certified IaaS platform

by Community Manager ‎07-10-2015 12:20 PM - edited ‎07-10-2015 12:43 PM (2,463 Views)

We are proud to report that Nutanix is now an official MongoDB Technology Partner. This means that MongoDB have certified Nutanix as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform to run the latest versions of MongoDB Enterprise. This is fantastic news for our joint customers, as they now get to reap the joint synergy benefits of running a database and computing platform, both of which are built on the ideals and principles of web-scale technology.

 

MongoDB is fast becoming one of the cornerstones of Big Data techniques and technology. Gartner defines Big Data using the 3 V’s or volume, velocity and variety.  Where volume is the amount of data, velocity relates to how fast data is generated and/or processed, while variety acknowledges the range of data types and their respective sources. Our growing requirement to store, retrieve and analyse increasingly larger, more varied datasets means the adoption of newer approaches to data management. MongoDB uses such techniques as horizontal scale out on cloud or commodity servers, in-memory transactions, and the ability to absorb unstructured data to address these challenges. MongoDB is a general purpose, open source document database that is used to create OLTP-style ‘Systems of Engagement’. Popular use cases include: the Internet of Things (IOT), inventory management, shopping cart, ad serving, content management, messaging applications and real-time analytics.

 

Deploying MongoDB on the Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP) helps to lower time to value further by providing an unparalleled ease-of-use story. XCP is founded on the same web-scale and Big Data principles that promote easy scale out and provide predictable performance at increasing scale. Horizontal scale can be achieved by simply growing the Nutanix cluster a node at a time. Consumer grade virtual machine (VM) management operations are streamlined to the point where they are single click operations driven via Nutanix Prism. Alternatively, the same operations can be automated via a REST API or using PowerShell Commandlets. All of which allows customers to focus more on applications and driving innovation within their organisation. Running such applications on converged compute and storage within a turnkey Nutanix solution ensures your infrastructure becomes truly invisible and frees up the time that would ordinarily have been spent planning and carry out maintenance.

 

Moving forward post certification, we will look to strengthen our partnership with MongoDB by working towards developing further performance optimizations, additional scale-out testing, in addition to further joint solution development and detailed use case scenarios.

 

Nutanix has developed Best Practices for designing and deploying MongoDB on Nutanix. I wanted to share those resources with you here in the community and use this space to talk about the subject.

 

Contact us now for a briefing and demo customised to your use case: Tweet @nutanix, or email us at info@nutanix.com

 

 

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