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Nutanix Simplicity reaches Microsoft System Center

We recently wrote a set of blogs about our integration with Windows Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V and the Microsoft ecosystem. The first post detailed our integration with Hyper-V and the strategic value of our partnership with Microsoft. Our second post talked about our work covering several ecosystem elements like backup, DR, centralized management, non-disruptive upgrades and others. In the continuation of this series, we follow-up by discussing our integrations with System Center 2012 R2, releasing in the upcoming Nutanix OS (NOS) 4.1, and touch upon what the future has in store for us.

Microsoft markets System Center as a suite of manageability products for Windows server and desktops, Microsoft applications and Azure. The suite includes products like System Center Virtual Machine Manager, System Center Operations Manager, and others. Microsoft’s webpage details the different components of System Center.

Starting with 4.1, our integrations with System Center bring Nutanix management simplicity to Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager administrators. Datacenter operators may now monitor Nutanix infrastructure from the familiar and ubiquitous Operations Manager interface. With the express goal of empowering the virtualization administrator, our integration with Virtual Machine Manager will make VM storage management a no-brainer for the virtualization administrator.

System Center furthers the goal of operational simplicity through custom workflows across layers of infrastructure using System Center Orchestrator and Windows Azure Pack. Nutanix customers may take advantage of such workflows by writing orchestration logic using our simple REST APIs or equivalent PowerShell cmdlets, which may then be invoked through either Orchestrator or Windows Azure Pack. Empowered administrators and architects may create workflows themselves or leverage our continuously expanding community of scripts (next.nutanix.com).

Nutanix Management Pack for Operations Manager

Operations Manager is designed to be a monitoring tool for datacenter operators tasked with the overall health of the datacenter. Think of a datacenter with multiple vendors representing multiple software and hardware products. Consequently, Operations Manager was developed to be extensible using the concept of management packs. Vendors typically develop one or more management packs for every product they want plugged into Operations Manager. To facilitate these management packs, Operations Manager supports standard discovery and data collection mechanisms like SNMP, but also affords vendors the flexibility of native API driven data collection.

We developed two management packs representing Nutanix Logical and Physical objects (hardware):

  • Logical objects include the Nutanix cluster, Containers within a cluster, Nutanix Controller Virtual Machines, Storage pools, and Performance metrics corresponding to these objects
  • Physical objects include the x86 nodes, Fans, CPU, Disks, Memory and Power supplies

When problems or anomalies are arise, alerts are generated and passed into Operations Manager, creating a centralized dashboard representing Nutanix system health.

Terminology refresher: Nutanix containers correspond to datastores in ESXi and SMB shares in Hyper-V. Controller Virtual Machines are Nutanix virtual storage controllers deployed on every server node to stitch together the Nutanix Distributed File System.

The below 2 min video will walk you through the various screens available to monitor the Nutanix objects in SCOM:

Integrating into Virtual Machine Manager

Virtual Machine Manager relies on SMI-S, a SNIA storage standard as the mechanism to understand the underlying storage systems. The storage sub-system acts as a SMI-S provider. The idea is that once Virtual Machine Manager understands the capability of the underlying storage sub-system, storage may now be monitored and potentially managed from the Virtual Machine Manager interface. Our system presents itself as a file server and Nutanix containers or SMB shares are presented as managed file shares. A virtualization administrator may now manage Nutanix storage from the Virtual Machine Manager interface. This 2 min video will walk you through the file share discovery process.

In addition to the Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager integrations, we will also be releasing 1-click Hypervisor upgrades. This capability will allow software lifecycle management of the entire Nutanix + hypervisor stack – including the Nutanix OS, hypervisor and disk firmware – from one interface, using 1-click operations. Please read about this in more detail in upcoming posts.

Looking to the future

With Nutanix OS 4.1, our support for Microsoft Private Cloud (Hyper-V, Windows Server, System Center and Azure pack) is complete. The future will focus on richer integrations with Azure public Cloud to realize our Hybrid Cloud vision.

Imagine a world where customers may choose the most optimal place for an application – on premise, their primary cloud provider, and their secondary cloud provider – with the ability to seamlessly move the application from one place to another depending on a policy optimized for either cost, performance, proximity or something custom. Turing this vision into a reality isn’t far away!

We hope we gave you a flavor for Nutanix monitoring using Operations Manager and Nutanix storage management from Virtual Machine Manager. If you are interested in being an early access customer or want to setup a demo, then connect with us on twitter @nutanix or over email (info@nutanix.com) or contact your local Nutanix representative.