Launched in December 2020, the latest release of Nutanix Life Cycle Manager (LCM) 2.4 enhances the simplicity of IT operations (ITOps) with improved infrastructure upgrade performance, a generally available API specification, and updates to hypervisor, platform, and component integration.
Nutanix Life Cycle Manager is software used to upgrade software and platform firmware in customer infrastructures. Designed for simplicity and scale, LCM provides a single method for the upgrade of infrastructures at-scale, regardless of platform vendor or infrastructure location. With patch dependency management built-in, upgrades are completed with Nutanix one-click simplicity and without service downtime or requiring dedicated maintenance windows.
LCM 2.4 introduces Redfish protocol support to streamline BMC and BIOS firmware upgrades. With a RESTful API interface for integration, upgrades are performed via a virtual USB NIC. This integration eliminates all required reboots for BMC upgrades and reduces BIOS upgrades to a single reboot. When compared to the older Phoenix ISO-based upgrade process, LCM now completes these upgrades in under half the time.
|Legacy BIOS Method||Redfish BIOS Method|
|Update Time||# of Reboots||Update Time||# of Reboots|
|BMC||~23 mins||2||~10 mins||0|
|BIOS||~40 mins||3||~14 mins||1|
Nutanix architected LCM as a non-disruptive, whole infrastructure stack upgrade solution that makes “maintenance windows” unnecessary, allowing organizations to upgrade their cloud infrastructures during business hours without any business-impact. For organizations choosing a more traditional approach by completing upgrades during evenings or weekends, faster firmware updates enabled by Redfish integration in LCM 2.4 will help complete the process much more efficiently.
This new integration is currently available with Nutanix NX G6 (Intel Skylake) and G7 (Intel Cascade Lake) platforms, and future OEM integration is under development with OEM vendors. The minimum support requirements are shown below, with LCM reverting to the legacy Phoenix-ISO procedure for BMC and BIOS upgrades on unsupported platforms:
The LCM REST APIs, first included for non-production use in LCM 2.3, are now generally available for integration and use with production infrastructures. These v4 APIs were defined in Swagger, enabling easy navigation and testing via the Swagger API Explorer (as shown in the screenshot below) and which can be leveraged by your preferred orchestrator, including Chef, Puppet, and Terraform, in addition to Nutanix Calm.
Above: Screenshot from the Swagger API Explorer showing the LCM ‘Status’ API
Early adopters are already integrating LCM APIs into large scale solutions. The example shown below demonstrates how a Nutanix customer has created a Calm blueprint to automate the deployment of infrastructure at remote office, branch office (ROBO) sites.
Above: Calm blueprint portion highlighting LCM integration for one-click infrastructure deployment and upgrades
This one-click solution manages the initial infrastructure deployment and configuration of a Nutanix cluster at a remote or edge location, integrating it into existing customer infrastructure systems such as directory, time, and name services, and carrying out any required upgrades, fully automatically and without the need for IT administrators at the remote location.
Hypervisor and Platform Enhancements
The Nutanix LCM engineering team is transitioning to delivering update modules as release-independent Repository Image Modules (RIM), rather than as a payload associated with an LCM release. This separation from the core LCM product enables Nutanix and OEM vendors to expedite the release schedule for module updates and to not be dependent on the LCM product release cycle.
To see a complete list of modules delivered as RIM images, see Independently Delivered Modules.
Furthermore, the LCM 2.4 introduces inventory and update support for VMware ESXi™ 7.0 and Microsoft Hyper-V 2019 hypervisors. The recently launched Nutanix NX-1120S-G7 appliance is also now supported for future firmware upgrades.
As IT teams seek to streamline ITOps processes for datacenters and remote and edge network sites, LCM provides one-click simplicity for hyperconverged infrastructure software and firmware entity upgrades with automatic dependency management and without workload downtime. This non-disruptive method for Nutanix infrastructure upgrades takes the pressure off IT administrators, saving time, IT resources, and budgets.
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