Nutanix Licensing Mayhem!?!?!
May03

Nutanix Licensing Mayhem!?!?!

A couple of weeks ago I attended a seminar in which a Nutanix competitor stated that the Nutanix Licensing was a really hard nut to crack. I immediatly went to the Nutanix licensing site to see what was so difficult about it but couldn’t explain why someone would find it so hard to figure out the Nutanix Licensing.

The Acropolis editions

So let’s see how the Nutanix Licensing is done, and start with Acropolis:

Nutanix Acropolis is a powerful scale-out data fabric for storage, compute and virtualization. Acropolis combines feature-rich software-defined storage with built-in virtualization in a turnkey hyperconverged infrastructure solution that can run any application at any scale.

Well get back on the Acropolis licensing details shortly 😀

And on the other hand Nutanix Prism:

Nutanix Prism gives administrators a simple and elegant way to manage virtual environments. Powered by advanced data analytics and heuristics, Prism simplifies and streamlines common workflows within a datacenter eliminating the need to have disparate management solutions.

So after we know the different versions of Acropolis and Prism let’s dive into the differences between the Acropolis Starter, Pro and Ultimate editions:

The first difference between the three can be Storage side of things and is clearly stated on the Nutanix Website:

So if you need more then 12 hosts in a cluster or Deduplication, Compression or Erasure coding you’ll need at least Pro, if you need some of your workloads to be pinned on flash you’ll have to switch over to Ultimate. Easy as that on the storage side, let’s continue.

The next one in the Nutanix list is Infrastructure Resilience:

In this case it is even easier, if you need enclosure or rack awereness Starter is a NoNo. You’ll need to decide on other features (like storage) if you need to go to Pro or Ultimate.

Next please 😀 That will be Data Protection:

So you need Cloud Connect or Time Stream? Move to Pro, if you want Multi Site DR, Metro Availability or Sync Replicatie and DR you’ll need to go to Ultimate, if you don’t need all of these services, you’ll do just fine with starter…

No hard nuts for me until now, but we’re not there so let’s continue:

The one thing everybody seems to be talking about these days is security, and that’s also the next on the Nutanix list:

Just need Client Authentication? Go for Starter. Also need Cluster Lockdown?:

Cluster Shield, which allows administrators to restrict access to a Nutanix cluster in security-conscious environments, such as government facilities and healthcare provider systems. Cluster Shield disables interactive shell logins automatically.

Go to Pro and if you also need Data-at-Rest encryption please continue to Ultimate 😉

The next “hard nut” to crack, would be Management & Analytics. But for me it’s another easy comparison between what is in the licensing offer:

What is important for our Prism comparison is that every Acropolis edition already offers the Prism Starter edition. We don’t really need to look at that one than, so we’ll concentrate on Pro if we get there 😀 For Management and Analytics it is kind of easy again, because if you need Rest API’s you’ll need Pro or Ultimate, otherwise you could do with Starter. But again, it depends on the other features in these licensing deals if you can choose the Starter/Pro or Ultimate.

The last one would be Virtualization, but there is difference between the three on this:

That’s all for the Acropolis site of things, and to be honest I didn’t find any hard nuts to crack. The list is very clear, and based on the business and technical requirements it should be able to choose the flavor you need.

The Prism editions

So it must be in the Prism site of things than. Let’s see how difficult this Prism thingy really is.
For the people that payed attention, I already told that all Acropolis editions included the Prism Starter edition so we can concentrate on Pro.

Just to make clear on what is in both of them:

It’s not that hard to make your choice if you ask me, but let’s explain what Prism Pro offers more than the already included Starter:

  • Prism search is an integrated google-like search experience that will help you query and perform actions with a single click
  • Customizable Operations Dashboard is a Visually rich dashboards that give actionable summary of applications, virtual machines and infrastructure state at-a-glance.
  • Capacity Behavior Analytics is a Predictive analysis of capacity usage and trends based on workload behavior enabling pay-as-you-grow scaling
  • Capacity Optimization Advisor is an Infrastructure optimization recommendations to improve efficiency and performance

So if you need one of these features you’ll need to buy the Prism Pro license.

Conclusion

It is one thing to bash your competitors and I know they all do this, including Nutanix themselves, but if you want to say something about your competitors, please make sure to know what you’re talking about. In this case (and in my “humble” opinion) the statement about the Nutanix Licensing being a hard nut to crack is really based on nothing.

The Nutanix licensing is very clear in what the licensing does and does not include and it’s up to you to create clear requirements about the environment on which you can than base you choice for the Acropolis and Prism edition you’ll need.

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Nutanix Offers Structure (NOS) 4.1
Sep16

Nutanix Offers Structure (NOS) 4.1

About a month ago, just a week before VMworld 2014 US, Nutanix announced their version 4.1 of their already famous Nutanix Operating System (NOS). While investigating all the features already included within NOS one might overlook a couple of great features. Let’s dive into a couple of the features and strength of the Nutanix Offering and the new 4.1 features:

Multi Hypervisor Support:

I’m a very big fan of VMware and as VMware fanboy I’ve always been weary about multi hypervisor environments. But the last couple of months I’ve seen (and heard) more and more companies talking about choosing the right hypervisor for specific jobs. Where people always talked about doing it all on ESXi, it seems Hyper-V (and in some cases KVM) are cheaper and better then ESXi.

That’s why it is important to have a choice. Nutanix as one of the view Hyper-convergence solution offers you the choice of all these Hypervisors. As said it might be you do everything on ESXi but having a choice is important.

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Multi Hardware choice:

While we’re at it, let’s keep the multi thing up. Software Defined is everything these days. Although I’m still not a big fan of this term I do use it but only when the hardware part is well covered.

Nutanix offers a great hardware platform as the base of their offering. Using commodity hardware is one thing, leverage this hardware to build for all the challenges produced by a virtual environment is another. Nutanix uses different terminology for their hardware. A block is 2U hardware unit which can hold 1, 2 or 4 compute units, known as nodes. Don’t worry the intelligence is in the nodes, and the 2U Block is not some sort of blade chassis with intellegence in it.

Due to the great solution Nutanix was (and is) for VDI a lot of environments started with a PoC in this area, and then noticed this was a solution for most of there environment. In some cases Nutanix needed to evolve their portfolio to better service the customer and with that the Nutanix hardware platform has grown into a great line of products, namely:

– The NX-1000 series (NX-1020 and NX-1050 and 4 nodes per block. More information below).

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Perfect for Small to medium businesses. The power of Nutanix lays in the fact you can start small and grow big. So let’s jump over to the next product line:

– The NX-3000 series. (NX-3050 and NX-3051 and the NX-3060 and NX-3061 also with 4 nodes per block. More information below)

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These are targeted much more on Medium and Enterprise businesses where scale is important. Starting with 2 blocks and being able to grow fast is an important expect of these machines, as well as providing a lot power as well as possibilities. Next:

– The NX-6000 series. (NX-6020, NX-6050 and NX6051, NX-6060, NX-6070 and the NX-6080 all with 2 nodes per block. more information below)

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These nodes are both capacity as well as compute power. With two of these high capacity nodes you’ll have about twice the capacity of the 4 node blocks, and still you get a whole lot of compute power. Next in line are the 7000 series where GPU power is most important:

– The NX-7000 series. (NX-7110 which contains 1 node per 2 U. more information below)

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VDI has always been a big part of Nutanix. First of all it is an easy use case to start with the Nutanix offering and a PoC is setup and running within the hour (VMware and Citrix installation and configuration not included). Dealing with VDI is a complex task that involves a lot of different user types. Most users don’t need a whole lot of GPU power, and the NX-1000 and NX-3000 series will be more then sufficient for them. But for the GPU intensive loads (CAD, Animation creation, 3D modeling and others) the NX-7110 is the bomb. They need this and providing it is just awesome. Last but not least the brand new 8000 series.

– NX-8000 series. (The NX-8150 also contains 1 node per block. more information below).

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Why in the … would you need a monster like this? No clue? Think Oracle, SQL and SAP. Where most of the NX nodes provide multiple of thousands (10s of thousands) IOPS. But some applications just need more… That’s where the NX-8150 comes in. This is the machine you need for your Tier 1 apps, with 2-4 times the SSD density of the other NX nodes this monster will help you to tame every application in your environment.

If you thought you wouldn’t be able to build a whole “SD” DataCenter with Nutanix, Think Again!!!

The NOS 4.1 new featueres:

When you make a list of all the features already included in the NOS, you might wonder if there were any new and important updates. With features like reduplication, compression, replication, PRISM. NDFS, SRA and so on the list is long, but still Nutanix is capable of providing awesome new features:

  • Cloud Connect:

The era of cloud is alive and kicking… Using the Public cloud is still a step to far for a lot companies especially outside the US. So providing companies the ability to backup to EC2 and S3 looks awesome, is awesome, but might just not be used that much outside the US. Being able to Backup other Nutanix infrastructures on any hypervisor is a great feature. Where a lot companies struggle with the licensing fees of the hypervisor, this feature gives a company the ability to backup to another site with another hypervisor installed. So If your main datacenter runs VMware and your second datacenter runs Hyper-V, Nutanix got you covered.

As said a lot of companies are still struggling with putting their data into the public cloud. Using AWS (EC2 or S3) might be something for the US only at this moment, but I’m sure Nutanix will not leave it with this. Other Cloud providers and even local cloud providers (think vCloud Director and Microsoft Azure) will probably follow in the near future.

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  • Data at rest Encryption:

For a multitude of companies Data at Rest Encryption is a must. Think Government, Banking and hospitals for one, but there are many more that need this feature.

Nutanix provides this feature for the following nodes: NX-3060-E, NX-3061-E and the NX-6060E and there are a couple of requirements that must be met. First of all this feature is ESXi only for the moment. Mixing clusters with host with and without DRE is not possible. Either you have DRE or you don’t. You can still manage everything via the same PRISM interface, though. To enable DRE you need a third party key management server, for the time being the only certified by Nutanix is the SafeNet KeySecure Cryptographic Key Management System. I know, that’s another at the moment, but I’m absolutely sure this offering will grow over time.

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  • One click Hypervisor and Firmware upgrade:

I really love this new feature, as there aren’t that many product featuring this kind of solution while extremely important. In many environments I work the upgrades of both soft- and firmware are a pain in the …. Most of the time the Software part of the upgrade is doable thanks to tools like VMware Update Manager, but when talking about firmware most of the time administrators are talking about 20 to 30 minutes per server to take care of it… When talking about 100’s of servers per datacenter and multiple datacenters you can do the math….

This new feature provided by Nutanix is a timesaver of big proportions… In an environment of a 1000 hosts this can save you up to 80 days (yes days) of work. Doing it in an automated way, and doing the updates and upgrades that don’t need a reboot quickly and on the fly, while providing the possibility to update and upgrade and reboot all your hosts through one and the same interface in this automated way is just awesome, and for as I know a Nutanix only feature (correct me if I’m wrong ;-)).

These are some awesome features added to an already awesome product line. The only thing that was missing in the Nutanix offering was the ability to leverage hardware provided by the „big” vendors… That might seem like a strange thing to ask for, but with large enterprises and governments holding a tight policy on which vendors they do business with this is a must if you ask me. Where everybody shouts Software Defined it’s kinda weird to only support your own (OEM) hardware. This all changed with the announcement made by Nutanix and Dell that Dell hardware (DX-series) will be supported to run the Nutanix software… For me this is great news and I can only hope others will follow soon ;P

To find out more of the Nutanix Operating System 4.1 features I would like to point out to these great blogs and sites:

Andre LeiboviciNutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 1

Don’t forget to read the rest of this blog for some awesome information and tools.

Dwayne LessnerHypervisor Agnostic Backuup -> Hyper-V -> ESXi -> AWS

Again don’t forget to read the rest of this blog ;P

NutanixThe Nutanix Website

Great resource!

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Nutanix EMEA HQ and Web-scale IT
Feb24

Nutanix EMEA HQ and Web-scale IT

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Last week my friends from Nutanix opened their brand new EMEA Headquarters in Hoofddorp (Amsterdam). It’s awesome to see such a company like Nutanix opening their HQ in the Netherlands. If you don’t know what Nutanix does, you’ve probably been living under a rock, and the first thing you need to know is that the world is round…. Just to spread a little light on the Nutanix way of life.

CVM_Dist

Nutanix wouldn’t be Nutanix if this opening wouldn’t be a big party, and as always they showed their love for the community by inviting a couple of bloggers to a special blogger event  just an hour before the grand opening party. And even better, they had Dheeraj Pandey (CEO), Howard Ting (VP Marketing & Product Management),  Mark Fisher (Senior Director, Worldwide Demand Generation at Nutanix), Declan Waters (Director, Corporate Communications), Dirk Marichal (VP Sales EMEA) and Jan Ursi (Director EMEA, Channel Sales & Field Marketing at Nutanix) to make sure the bloggers were entertained like rockstars. We even got a Scott D. Lowe Software-Defined Storage for Dummies Book ;-P

sds-for-dummies-1024x613 Click to download

Opening the Head Quarters in Amsterdam is the best choice if you ask me, and that is not only because I’m a dutch guy. Looking at the Virtualization Community and the knowledge of technology in the Benelux the choice of being here is easy to make (although the financial people would probably tend more towards Dublin ;-))

The meeting was opened by Jan Ursi who told us that this was an historical meeting because of the awesome technology offered by Nutanix is already changing the IT World, and will keep on continue doing so. The bloggers present would (in the “near” future) look back at this event and know they were part of a piece of IT history… I’ll take his word on that 😉

After Jan it was Dirk’s turn. Dirk talked about the past to build a bridge to the future. He told us why Nutanix is changing the world and also explained the choice for the location of the EMEA head quarters. Dirk wouldn’t be Dirk if he didn’t ask us not to tweet about unimportant stuff (Goodmorning, and I’m taking a shower now) anymore, but only focus on good technology tweets (of which the majority probably should be on Nutanix, I guess…)

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Next we were updated by Howard Ting (and Dheeraj) and we discussed multiple great topics with the bloggers and Nutanix people. What I think was great is the possibilty to talk to the important people at Nutanix, and know you’re being heard. The Nutanix leadership listens to what the community tells them, and is willing to work with them to make the Nutanix product even better. The discussion on building a Nutanix Community (like the VMware/Citrix/Microsoft communities) was great, and if you were there you know Dheeraj, Howard, Dirk and the others were more then willing to listen, discuss and in the near future will  act on the things said by the bloggers.

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Webscale IT

Dheeraj also talked about the webscale IT concept, and why Nutanix is very suitable for this “upcoming” technology solution. Webscale IT is how Gartner describes  the things happening at companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and so on, which enable them to achieve extreme levels of service delivery. Gartner identifies Web Scale IT in six bullets:

  • industrial data centers (Think BIG)
  • web-oriented architectures (Think REST)
  • programmable management (Think API)
  • agile processes (Think Software Defined)
  • collaborative organization style (think of working as one)
  • and a learning culture (think of Einstein: “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience”.

If you take a good look at the bullets you know Nutanix is on track for Web Scale IT, and they’ll put a lot of effort in staying a leader in Web Scale IT, and knowing Nutanix they’ll do a damn good job.

If you’re a frequent reader of my blog you know I’m not that fond of the Software Defined Everything thing that’s happening at the moment. I my opinion it’s wrong to think Software changes everything, as does changes are only made possible by the very impressive technology gains made by the hardware vendors. The Web Scale IT naming is something that describes all these things much better if you ask me. Don’t get me wrong, these are awesome times, but that for software as well as hardware.

I had a great time at the brand new Nutanix EMEA Head Quarters. It’s awesome to meet visionairs like Dheeraj and Howard, and notice they are listening to the things told by the community.  Jan was right saying a piece of history was written last week, even if we would look back on it and would say it was only Nutanix history, it still is very impressive what this history reveals…

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Nutanix mutates to NOS 3.5
Aug20

Nutanix mutates to NOS 3.5

Today Nutanix released Nutanix Operating System (NOS) 3.5, as well with a technology preview for Microsoft Hyper-V support . This release introduces us to some interesting new developments like the Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine for RAM and Flash and dedupe for the capacity tier coming in the near future, a REST-API (Prism API), the PRISM UI and a Site Recovery Adapter for VMware’s SRM.

Microsoft Hyper-V support (Tech Preview)

Nutanix started with support for VMware vSphere. As NOS is hypervisor agnostic, after some time KVM support was included. Now with NOS 3.5 will include Microsoft HyperV and will use SMB3 for the shared storage access between the nodes. With the new PRISM UI you can manage all hypervisors from one interface. A great thing but think about the potential of this new hypervisor support on the Nutanix Platform. Using VMware vCloud Automation Center a customer could use Nutanix and create clusters that are best suited for the job.Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 20.40

Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine

In the earlier releases of NOS, inline compression of data was already included. NOS 3.5 introduces the Nutanix Elastic Deduplication Engine. It provides a Real-time deduplication for RAM and Flash, and in the near future Nutanix will include dedupe on the capacity tier (HDD) too. Nutanix looks at data that comes into the Content Cache (RAM and SSD) and puts it all in a Single touch pool (no dedupe will take place here) when the data is accessed for the second time it will be moved to the multi touch pool (here Dedupe will take place) after the data isn’t accessed any more it will be moved to de Capacity tier (HDD). Things like indexing and virusscanning will be catched in the single touch pool, for optimal deduplication.

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The New Prism UI

Nutanix Prism is build from the ground up in HTML5. It is a management framework that simplifies the user experience. Within the Prism UI a user can view information in organized manor on system and VM information. With a tile based interface a customer can drill down into information on server, storage and network operations. with the Prism API, Nutanix provides a customer an easy way to explore the scripts needed to maintain and monitor the Nutanix environment even further.

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75 new and updatet features in NOS 3.5

In the NOS 3.5 release Nutanix included a Site Recovery Agent for VMware SRM. VMware VAAI support and and extension of compression for the native Nutanix Disaster Recovery feature and so on…

For more infromation visit the Nutanix website, and make sure to visit Nutanix at VMworld in San Francisco (Booth 1521)

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The Nutanix Platform Professional certificate

Never heard of Nutanix??? It’s time to get out from under your rock and look at the product that’s changing the Datacenter.

I first heard about Nutanix while listening in on the Techfieldday 8 session in 2011 and later at Storage Field Day 2 in San Jose (CA) I was very impressed with the capabilties offered by Nutanix. I’ll share the videolinks’s here:

Storage Field Day 2

Nutanix at Tech Field Day VMworld 2012

Since the Nutanix EMEA team (Ides Van Neuville, Dirk Marichal, Jan Ursi, Patrick van de Werken and Raymon Epping) started, and the team got traction by organizing the Star Trek: Into the Darkness launch. Nutanix and ITQ became partners. And because I work for a Nutanix partner I was invited to follow a two day Nutanix Training in Brussels.

Meghan Myers was our teacher during the NOS 3.0.3 Administration Course, where we walked through the coursebook and had the oppertunity to use two Nutanix NX 2000 series blocks for practice. It was a great training providing the information needed to help the companies build their own Nutanix environment.

It took a couple of weeks before I was provided with a link to certify myself as a Nutanix Platform Professional, but the website was a great resource. The training we had in Brussels on those two days was available online also and could be watched in an online viewer. After watching some of the training again, I was convident enough to do the exam that excists of 50 multiple choice questions in the following categories:

1. About Nutanix Complete Cluster
2. Cluster Management
3. Configuring the Cluster
4. vSphere Integration
5. Concluding the Installation
6. VDI Best Practices
7. Backup and Recovery
8. Cluster Architecture
9. Failure Scenarios
10. Cluster Maintenance
11. Monitoring and Troubleshooting

The quality of the exam was good, and my final score was 88% (passing score is 80%). For a startup Nutanix is one of those companies providing a great knowledge base and experience, which are needed to revolutionize the Datacenter.

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