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Nutanix – High Availability and Data Protection


In an earlier post, I spoke about a new functionality called “Cloud Connect” that lets users build a hybrid-cloud strategy for their datacenter. I wanted to step back a little and cover High Availability and Data Protection capabilities that Nutanix provides so that you have context around where Cloud Connect fits in.

Nutanix offers a wide range of capabilities across the stack to make sure data and VMs are continuously available. Failures can happen at multiple levels within the datacenter – individual HW components can fail, independent nodes can go down (mostly due to human errors), data stored in the disks can get corrupted or accidentally deleted, racks may fail and even an entire site can go down during a disaster. Today, you will find a wide range of solutions from different vendors that handle each of these failures. HW vendors provide redundancy at the HW level, hypervisors provide the ability to move VMs from one node to another in case of a node issue, back-up vendors provide ability to backup data to remote sites, cloud providers let you manage data in the public cloud and finally separate DR solutions are sold as bolt-ons to existing storage solution. What this results in is a vendor and management palooza. As you can imagine, associated Capex and Opex are extremely high as well.

Nutanix High Availability and Continuity – Impact on Ops

One of the added benefits of scale-out storage is the addition of multiple storage controllers. When you have more than 2 storage controllers and you lose one due to failure or maintenance like a rolling upgrade, you can do so with minimal impact.

Below are the results of 8-node cluster with 700 desktops running a Login VSI medium workload. One of the 8 storage controllers is shutdown to see the impact on the cluster. No desktops were rebooted or shutdown. IOPS dropped from 2,000 to 1,496 and latency had a brief spike from 4ms to 22.37 ms.

Things to think about for hyper-convergence?

* Is data spread out evenly that additional controllers will help?
* Do you have to vMotion VM’s to preform an upgrade? If so, can you meet your maintenance window?
* Will dependences on the Hypervisor management stack cause you to patch both your control and data plane?

New Nutanix Data-at-Rest Encryption (How it works)

Co-author: Anshuman Ratnani

In a previous article I published the first part of a multi-month announcement for NOS 4.1 (Nutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 1). As part of the announcement I disclosed the new Data-at-rest encryption feature.

Nutanix clusters are deployed in a variety of customer environments requiring different levels of security, including sensitive/classified environments. These customers typically harden IT products deployed in their datacenters based on very specific guidelines, and are mandated to procure products that have obtained industry standard certifications.

Data-at-rest encryption is one such key criteria that customers use to evaluate a product when procuring IT solutions to meet their project requirements. Nutanix data-at-Rest encryption satisfies regulatory requirements for government agencies, banking, financial, healthcare and other G2000 enterprise customers who consider data security products and solutions.

Choice: vSphere Licensing on Nutanix

Nutanix provides choice on what vSphere license you can apply to your environment. If your at a remote site, you can run vSphere essentials, if you have a high density deployment you can run vSphere Enterprise Plus. In short, the choice is left up to the customer on what makes sense.

It’s important to have flexibility around licensing because VMware can add\remove packages any time. For example, VMware announced a great ROBO license edition recently, VMware vSphere Remote Office Branch Office Standard and Advanced Editions. Now you can purchase VMware licensing per packs of VM versus paying per socket. Enterprises that have lots of remote sites but few resources running in them can take a look at the NX-1020 that has native built-in replication plus the appropriate licensing pack.

Nutanix Perfect for Remote Sites

Licensing can change any time, Nutanix provides flexibility to meet your needs. Check out this great video on why vSphere for Remote Sites.

The Consequence of Success – Competitive FUD

Nutanix has been very fortunate to have so many customers embrace our web-scale solutions.  With more than 800 customers across 43 countries, we are at the beginning of an exciting journey.

Success, however, seems to come at a price. Lately, we are attracting increasing attention and competitive FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). We normally shake off the misinformation and falsehoods – considering it the price of doing business in a competitive market. But when it misleads customers and causes them to make the wrong technology decisions, it’s not always wise to keep silent. In the spirit of staying professional and ‘above the fray’ we will refrain from naming the company disseminating false information regarding Nutanix solutions, but we do want to set the record straight on a few key points. 

False Claim #1 – Nutanix does not provide inline deduplication, and does not deduplicate all data

Bringing “Value” back to your customers – and in “VAR”

So far, 2014 has been an incredibly exciting time for Nutanix. From kicking off the year with announcing our Series D funding round to closing out multiple strong quarters to now announcing to the world that we have over a $2B valuation, this has been a ride that is unforgettable so far. We have also led me to think about what is really important to our partners, and we can sum it up in a few bullets:

  • Bringing Value through differentiation: One of our engineers recently made a statement that has stayed with me, “Customers want to know where the ‘V’ and the ‘A’ in VAR went?” He went on to explain that many customers have gotten to a point where they see some partners as quote generators for a legacy server/storage vendor in a traditional 3-tier architecture because if someone is partnered with ‘storage company E’, the only differentiator is that the other partners are aligned with ‘storage company N, P, and/or N2’. It becomes purely an exercise in pricing/discounting because the only thing each different solution provides is a different route from the same problem to a similar solution.

Mark Brunstad joins Nutanix

I am very pleased to add my welcome to @MarkBrunstad who joined Nutanix today as Manager, Curriculum Development, nu.school – Educational Services function within Nutanix Global Services. Mark is well-known in the virtualization industry for building VMware’s vaunted VCDX program. I first met Mark at VMworld 2013 in San Francisco, and I spoke with him over the weekend about his new role at Nutanix:

What is it that drew you to Nutanix?

The VCDXs going to Nutanix really caught my attention. I know just about everyone in the program, and the extraordinary skills they have. When they started flocking to the company, I started digging into it. The technology is amazing and there’s world-class engineering talent driving the products. There’s also a lot of transparency, which is refreshing. The leadership really values experience, innovation, and agility. They will listen to your ideas, and they make it clear that people and their passion are the biggest assets.

The baton is passing

The 5 yr journey

 Nutanix will be exactly 5 years old in another month, since its incorporation in September 2009. In this time, we’ve raised $13.3M (July ’10), $25M (Aug ’11), $33M (Jul ’12), and $101M (Dec ’13) in a journey from Series A through D that had us join forces with world-class investors. Today, we are raising another $140M at a valuation greater than $2 billion — through an exclusive sale of preferred shares to two of the world’s largest institutional investors, who are Boston-based and manage around $3 trillion in combined assets. The baton is being shared between VCs on Sand Hill Road, world’s largest investment banks who invested in Series C and D, and now public market investors in Series E. The list of friends who want us to succeed is growing. While our well-wishers have always been long-term holders of stock, the newest investors are really (really) long investors.

Best Ways to Engage with the Community at VMworld SF ’14

Are you looking for a chance to kick back and join the community conversation at VMworld, but there’s so much happening that it’s hard to streamline your schedule and maximize your fun? In addition to the sessions that stand out to you and the vendor booths that you want to visit, here’s a snapshot of the in-person community activities that I highly recommend you attend throughout the week: 

  • Sun, Aug. 24 (two sessions: 10am-12pm & 2-4pm) – Nutanix is hosting a VCDX Study Lounge at the Palace Hotel near Moscone! If you’re working on your VCDX application and/or planning to defend in the future, you WON’T want to miss this workshop! There will be an open discussion with existing VCDXs to help you learn more about the program and what goes into a successful VCDX submission. If you are already a VCDX, we encourage you to drop by, as well, to contribute to the community, show your support, and engage with your peers. Check out John Troyer’s blog post for more details. As of now, there is room for a couple more at our afternoon session. Register here!

Pay-As-You-Grow with Nutanix and VMware Horizon 6

Dwayne Lessner
Technical Marketing Engineer, Nutanix

As an end user of VMware End User Computing (EUC) products since 2008 when the product was called Virtual Desktop Manager 2.1, it’s been a great journey to see how VMware Horizon 6 with View has morphed into a full fledge application delivery platform. The latest version of Horizon offering the ability to deliver virtual desktops and hosted applications with Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Services arms businesses with the right deployment method based on use case and cost.

Today customers can take VMware’s EUC strategy and deploy with the same speed and approach of Public Cloud Providers with the security and control over SLA’s in the comfort of their own datacenters. Nutanix with the support VMware is proud to release our latest Reference Architecture on VMware Horizon 6 with View that showcases benefits of pay-as-you-grow infrastructure.

Some of the highlights include: