The latest release of the Nutanix software, Acropolis 4.5, is now available to all our customers. This release, coming just a couple of months after the previous one, is packed with significant enhancements to several existing features. Acropolis 4.5 also introduces new storage and virtualization capabilities designed to meet the needs of the most demanding applications and critical datacenter infrastructure requirements. This post provides an overview of new features and enhancements in this release. These features are also covered in greater detail and technical depth in other posts.
Cloud Connect for Microsoft Azure
Last August, Nutanix unveiled Cloud Connect technology that provides a way to seamlessly integrate Nutanix on-premise infrastructure with public cloud services. Cloud Connect gives Nutanix customers the ability to backup and replicate their virtualized workloads to the public cloud in addition to one or more remote Nutanix sites. The initial release focused on Amazon AWS as the target for backup. With this release, customers can now also use Microsoft Azure as a cloud-based backup target as well. Backup and replication workflows are seamlessly integrated into Nutanix Prism, allowing customers to manage everything from a single pane of glass without requiring cloud-specific management tools.
Self-Service File Restore (Tech Preview)
The Time Stream feature in Nutanix Acropolis provides the ability to schedule and store VM-level snapshots on the primary cluster and configure retention policies for these snapshots. Administrators were able to restore the state of a VM with a single click from within Prism. A new feature (in tech preview) in the 4.5 release provides the ability to restore individual files from a previously created snapshot without requiring administrator involvement. In situations where users accidentally delete or corrupt files, for example, this self-service granular restore capability lowers system and admin overhead and speeds up recovery.
VM Flash Mode
Nutanix systems automatically place data in either the flash or HDD storage tier and move data between the tiers depending on how “hot” the data is. This Intelligent Data Tiering capability yields the fastest possible performance while optimizing capacity in the cluster. For applications that require consistent, fast storage performance with no penalty regardless of data access, Nutanix now provides the ability to override Intelligent Data Tiering on a selective basis and keep the data in virtual disks in the cluster-wide SSD tier for highest performance regardless of data access. VM Flash Mode provides the ability to mix IOPS and latency sensitive workloads such as tier-0 databases with regular workloads in the same Nutanix cluster without creating resource silos. Customers can enable and control this feature at VM or virtual disk granularity, providing fine-grained control over storage performance in a hybrid cluster.
The previous release of the Nutanix software, NOS 4.1.3, introduced erasure coding as a tech preview. In addition to capacity optimization techniques like deduplication and compression, Nutanix has introduced a custom, distributed erasure coding solution (called EC-X). Based on the patent pending Bronnikov-Gill algorithm, EC-X helps customers keep same level of data and cluster resiliency while reducing the storage footprint by as much as 70%. You can read more about the release here. This feature is now generally available in the 4.5 release.
At the inaugural Nutanix .NEXT User Conference earlier this year, we announced a bold vision to make datacenter infrastructure invisible, freeing IT to focus on applications and services. To deliver on this vision, we announced two products, Nutanix Acropolis that natively converges compute, storage and virtualization into a turnkey solution, and Nutanix Prism that delivers one-click simplicity to infrastructure management and operations.
We believe that compute virtualization is an important component or capability of the infrastructure stack, but need not be a separate product. We also believe in giving our customers flexibility and choice when it comes to runtime environments on which to run their applications. To that end, Nutanix Acropolis has built-in enterprise-class virtualization that is simple to deploy and manage, built on the same web-scale foundation as the rest of Nutanix, and is part of the most secure infrastructure platform in the enterprise today.
New built-in virtualization features include the following:
VM High Availability
One of the most adopted features in virtualization, VM high availability is now available through Nutanix Acropolis for our Acropolis Hypervisor. Now Acropolis automatically restarts virtual machines on available nodes in a cluster when a node or host goes down because of a system failure, delivering high degree of resilience and uptime. Nutanix makes the process of setting up and managing VM HA simple, bar none. Best effort HA, where the system tries to bring up a VM automatically when a host goes down, is enabled by default. Assured HA with VM resource reservation can also be enabled with a single click.
For customers that want to migrate their workloads from ESXi to the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV), Nutanix provides a couple of tools to make the process easy and risk-free. The Acropolis Image Service allows customers to import, convert formats and manage images on their Nutanix clusters using the Prism management interface. A Virtio driver installer automates the process of installing drivers required for AHV paravirtualization in Windows guest VMs.
In addition to these features in storage and virtualization, this release also includes significant improvements to the Foundation tool that allows customers to install hypervisors of their choice on a Nutanix cluster during setup and cluster expansion. Foundation is now built into the controller VM and can be used from within Prism. This simplifies the process of installing the target hypervisor on new nodes to the point that customers can do it themselves.
In addition to the important features that this blog covers, Acropolis 4.5 also has ongoing improvements to product performance, stability and usability. So how can you get your hands on all this goodness? Simple. Current Nutanix customers can upgrade to Acropolis 4.5 non-disruptively with a single click.
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