Blog

Nutanix AOS 5.11 is Here!

By Mayank Gupta, Product Marketing Lead HCI Core

The Nutanix AOS 5.9 release back in October 2018 focused on data protection and resiliency with enhancements to software-based encryption to secure existing data in a cluster, enhancements to Availability Zones to handle rack failures as well as enhancements to NearSync for DR.

Since then, we at Nutanix have been diligently working on strengthening the core of the Nutanix HCI platform with releases of 5.10 and 5.11 for AOS. AOS 5.10 was released in December 2018 and we are excited to let you know that AOS 5.11 is here and available for you to download from the portal.

The releases together enhance the core AOS storage performance, storage capacity, data protection, security, and cluster lifecycle management. We are highlighting a few key capabilities in this blog. For a complete list of enhancements, please refer to the release notes.

Performance and Scale

Storage QoS

Nutanix AOS architecture already has built-in QoS capabilities that help protect against noisy neighbors. With AOS 5.11, we are allowing for end-user control of Storage Quality of Service (QoS), specifically Nutanix cluster admins can now rate limit (throttle) IOPS of selected virtual machines on their clusters.

Storage QoS in 5.11 addresses crucial Enterprise IT goals of Predictability and consistency for mission critical workloads. Rate limiting certain VMs helps prevent less critical workloads from affecting the performance of mission critical applications. For a service provider or a large enterprise that is consolidating workloads, QoS provides a consistent experience to all tenants or workloads to help define and meet business SLAs.

Autonomous Extent Store (AES)

There is considerable ongoing innovation in the core AOS architecture. One such innovation debuted with AOS 5.10 and further enhanced with 5.11, is Autonomous Extent Store (AES).

The Nutanix AOS architecture is generally well-known for the benefits of data locality. AES takes this concept further by introducing metadata locality and keeping copies of metadata in a faster to access local location. Metadata locality results in improved network utilization, reduced CPU utilization and reduced disk writes. The benefit to performance is significant in particular for workloads with sustained random write and random read such as those found in Databases with large working sets.

AES is part of a continuous innovation cycle in AOS as we gear up for new media technologies such as NVMe and 3D X-Point and larger capacity points.

Enhanced Storage Capacity

Speaking of larger capacity, with AOS 5.11, we are also introducing support for 120TB storage capacity per node. As you can see, AOS continues to become more versatile with enhancements in all-flash as well as hybrid and in performance as well in capacity.

Data Protection and Security

Business Continuity and Data Recovery

Nutanix Objects goes GA with AOS 5.11 for growing use cases for unstructured data. Nutanix Objects enables customers to use Objects as a target for their backup solutions such as Commvault, Veritas NetBackup, Veeam, HYCU, Unitrends and others. It’s designed with an S3-compatible REST API interface to handle terabytes to petabytes of unstructured data, all from a single namespace.

DR Runbooks

DR Runbook automation has been available out of the box starting AOS 5.10. To simplify data protection and recovery, we added protection policies and recovery plans to Prism Central with the 5.10 release. This helped you:

  • Automate Data Protection and Replication at scale
  • Provide assurance and predictability in Disaster Recovery readiness

Protection Policies are powerful constructs that enable you to define the business requirements for protecting your applications, such as Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and retention. Policies can be created using Categories in Prism Central – it’s as easy as tagging or labeling VMs.

You can also create Recovery Plans in the UI to control how to restart applications in the event of a data center failure or failover. Recovery Plans will contain information such as the boot order for your VMs, dependencies between groups of VMs as well as IP address mapping.

Finally, you can perform 1-click non-disruptive DR testing that helps provide assurance as well as may be required for compliance. In case of an eventuality, you can perform 1-click failover and failback. The best part is that DR Runbooks are supported for both AHV (5.10) as well ESXi (5.11) hypervisor.

Lastly, in-line with supporting a broad ecosystem, beginning 5.11, VMware SRM is supported with Nutanix’s NearSync replication capability.

Network Segmentation for Volumes

AOS 5.11 introduces the capability to physically isolate block storage (Volume Group) traffic external to a Nutanix cluster to a separate physical network. This allows customers to meet network security requirements as they can isolate certain traffic to specific ports on a cluster so that networking policies can be selectively applied.

Cluster Operations and Management

Intent-based Management for Prism

As modern web applications become richer and support more complex functions, the underlying information architecture and navigational mechanisms tend to become more complex. Search is a powerful tool to deal with this scale.

With AOS 5.10, search and navigation is merged into one seamless construct in Prism Central. While the click-based navigation is retained, a more efficient search-based method to access content is introduced. With this new approach, conventional click-based interaction with the system allows users to see their actions reflect through search and thus learn its capabilities.

X-Play (Cross-Play) for Prism Pro

Users of AOS are already familiar with Nutanix’s IT Operations tool, Prism Pro. In the past, Prism Pro’s machine learning based anomaly detection and just-in-time forecasting features, have given teams the simplicity and accuracy to achieve high productivity in IT operations.

With 5.11, we are introducing X-Play (cross-play) in Prism Pro, a task automation engine that empowers IT to automate remediation of common issues as well as automate routine tasks of performance and capacity optimization. Using X-Play, IT teams can create playbooks for common issues. These playbooks can be triggered automatically based on the alert policies.

To get you started, there is a pre-canned collection of design libraries for out-of-the-box actions for notification, VM management, reporting, and scheduling. It also includes the REST API and script actions that can connect to your existing tools and systems.

Enhanced AHV Image Management

As environments grow and the number of various workloads expand the needs for image management grows as well. We know our customers are building and deploying clusters for various mixed workloads and they are looking for better ways to ensure the disk images needed by those applications are always available in the right locations.

In Prism Central 5.11, the image service gets a new way to manage disk and application images with the introduction of Image Management Policies. These policies can be used to control image replication and cluster location. Using the PC category model that is being adopted by many policy-based features in PC, clusters and images can be grouped and those groups can be used to ensure images are delivered to the right locations. Additionally, there are new options for direct image uploads, enabling admins to quickly deploy images to any cluster.

Upgrades

Finally, significant effort has gone into AOS 5.11 to improve the upgrade experience and enhance upon the existing simplicity. Strengthening the core along with additional pre-checks and deterministic UI messages, both 1-click and Life Cycle Manager (LCM) ensure upgrades to both software and firmware is truly invisible.

Summary

With AOS 5.10 and 5.11, we continue to innovate on the core Nutanix Enterprise Cloud. The new capabilities help our customers run their mission critical workloads on an infrastructure that they can operate with efficiency and simplicity while ensuring compliance with SLAs and policies.

If you are new to Nutanix, please send us a note at info@nutanix.com. We can’t wait to introduce you to Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.

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