GAPCABIV
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Nutanix

Howdy all.  This thread goes out to all of you users of Nutanix.  Please no Nutanix employees need reply.

Well their solution has been available for what, 18 months or so now and recently version 3.5 was announced.  So I figure someone out there is using it but I only find it mentioned in 3 threads throughout these communities and there is very little other than their own marketing material that I can find online from actual users.

So who is using it and how?

I am being tasked with deploying a Nutanix block for testing in my datacenter and I am trying to figure out the best way to go about it.  I have a few options, one of which includes VDI, which is supposedly where they truly shine.

Here is what we have today and my options as far as testing goes:

VDI consists of:

ESXi 5.0&5.1/vCenter 5.1

2 HP DL380 G7's for our VDI support infrastructure systems.  DHCP servers, Domain Controllers, File / Print, MS SQL etc.

8 HP DL380 G7's for our VDI desktops.  All Windows 7, most non-persistent some persistent disks

All 10 of the above are fiber attached to an EMC VNX5500 storage array with a mix of NL-SAS and SAS with FAST Cache enabled using SSD and using about 10TB of storage for the server infrastructure stuff and 4.5TB for the desktops.

Everything above is live and in production.  There is no test environment.

Non-VDI (Servers) consist of:

ESXi 5.1/vCenter 5.1

7 HP DL380 G6's in a production cluster containing just about every kind of Windows server in an enterprise environment (except Oracle, who the heck can afford to license that in a virtual environment?) Web, SQL, DCs, GIS, File, Print, E-mail, Sharepoint etc

1 HP DL380 G6 in a test "cluster" containing a reasonable sample of the production systems

The prod cluster is also fiber attached the the same VNX as the VDI systems while the test cluster is fiber attached to our old HP EVA 6000

The prod and test clusters are in separate fiber connected datacenters

So here is what I would like to do as far as testing Nutanix is to setup a DR site in the datacenter with our test cluster and use a demo license of SRM along with vSphere Replication to establish a DR replica of most, if not all, of our prod systems.  I have used SRM before so I am comfortable in setting this up.  Then we can do test failovers and load testing in that DR environment without impacting production and if we get comfortable enough, we could always to an actual failover for production testing.  I also already have 10GbE available in the DC where the Nutanix Block will sit.

What the boss would like me to do though is to test it with our VDI workload.  This would involve migrating pretty much all 10TB server data data off of the VNX and onto the Nutanix for everyone to use and perhaps 500GB-1TB of desktops for the guinea pigs testers to use.  I will need to add more 10GbE in this DC if we go with this option.

The other option I have is to move everything over from my 1 test host to the minimum 3 nodes in a Nutanix block.  Right now those VMs are running on a host with 96GB of RAM and 8 cores of 2.8GHz power and about 3TB of storage.  To use these in my testing just seems like overkill to me.

Just to add, we also use CommVault's Virtual Server Backups for agentless backups of the servers so we would need to be able to continue that process.

So, who is using Nutanix today?

Are you using it for production workloads?

VDI, Servers or both?

Are you using for DR perhaps?

How are you backing up your VMs on your Nutanix block(s)

Good experiences / What do you love?

Bad experiences / What do you hate?

Ease / difficulty of use?

Monitoring and reporting capabilities?

Anything else you want to add?

I am going to the L.A. VMUG User Conference tomorrow and hope to find a few users to talk to as well.

Thanks for any and all replies.

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3 Replies
PeteSTDC
Contributor
Contributor

Hi GAPCABIV.
Caught wind of your question and would like to share our experiences with Nutanix from the little country at the bottom of the world - way in the South Pacific!

I am a client of Nutanix based in New Zealand - I'm the IT Manager at the South Taranaki District Council. You are welcome touch base for further discussion.

Just to be clear, I receive nothing but good will from Nutanix for the following.

We are using 6 nodes (1.5 blocks) of NX-3050 series for production servers and VDI.
Our first Nutanix block NX-2400 for Disaster Recovery. We have 200 VDI desktops (hint: Unidesk.com make managing virtual desktops an awesome experience).

We used to have EVA 6500 SANs (one production and one DR). The Production SAN had 75 disks served by 6 Blades and produced at most 4000IOPS. I stopped counting when I saw our NX-2400 hit over 20,000.
To get the Solid State drives for increased IOPS for VDI was going to cost us another $190,000 NZD - we got the NX-2400 for less than 60% of that figure which effectively made our SAN redundent.

So to answer your questions briefly:

Are you using it for production workloads?
Yes - full financials and property (tax/rating system), Mapping system (GIS) Document Management System and all Virtual Desktops - just over the 200 mark now - 100% of staff on board - even our Photoshop, GIS and Autocad users.

VDI, Servers or both?
Both - and it works very well.

Are you using for DR perhaps?
Yes - actually just going through an exercise now and through next week (STDC has a volcano in it's district and we are pretending it's going up in a regional civil defence exercise next week) to prove it works 

How are you backing up your VMs on your Nutanix block(s)
So we use VEEAM to replicate the VMs to our DR site. We will soon be using the Nutanix software for replication to our DR and have our backup still being done to our old EVA 6500 (only because they have value on the books and I can't replace them for another 18 months or so due to financial constraints). I suspect you are after a more detailed response, please reach out to me if this is the case as I'll need to get the right people to respond to you with the detail.

Good experiences / What do you love?
Love the way Nutanix hardware meets the expectations that Nutanix (the company) talk about. We asked them to put their money where their mouths were by sending one all the way down here to NZ to try on a sale or return basis - we allowed three weeks for testing and putting it through it's paces (we based that time frame on our usual experiences with the other main vendors - HP etc). We actually found we were running production servers on it in three days.

Bad experiences / What do you hate?
I was nervous to start with given they are new to the industry and we would be their first customer in NZ, however I must say that they have not given us cause to regret making the jump to Nutanix for one moment. My biggest regret was purchasing the HP kit only a year before finding Nutanix.

Ease / difficulty of use?

Very easy - my Senior Systems Engineer was able to install and have it up and running within hours of unboxing it - including applying the lastest updates from VMware and Nutanix etc..
Monitoring and reporting capabilities? Good - and getting better - quick and easy to use.

Anything else you want to add?
I know the hype machine can get peoples attention which gets a bit repetitive, however our experience is one total satisfaction. I'm a much more relaxed IT Manager with Nutanix on board that I've ever been. But the reality is we are able to far more with Nutanix at a massive saving (I have demonstrated a 40% reduction in my CapEx for data centre costs for replacement in the 2015/16 financial year - this is in addition to the cost saving from the VDI (which sees around a 20% operation cost saving for hardware and support).
A number of NZ and Australian councils have taken up our virtual strategy and more seem willing to follow. so while we maybe an earlier adopter, that others are following our lead is very reassuring 
Serious about the Unidesk management for VDI has made our user adoption and IT management so easy - with Nutanix the performance is great!
Please don't hesitate in contacting me. We are proud to be a Nutanix site and as we are in the public sector, we are able to share our experiences without worrying about maintaining a competitive advantage.

Best.
Pete

Message was edited by: PeteSTDC to correct the spelling mistakes!

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joshsinclair
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I was at the LA VMUG, too bad I didn't catch this post a few months ago.  I just caught your post searching for other Nutanix users.

So, who is using Nutanix today?

I use Nutanix on projects to support a variety of customers.  About 5000+ VDI users and 100ish application servers.

Are you using it for production workloads?

Yup.

VDI, Servers or both?

VDI and Servers.

Are you using for DR perhaps?

I plan to.  I upgraded my vCenter environment to 5.5 and installed SRM 5.5, but the SRA provided by Nutanix only supports 5.1.  They promised me that they would release the SRA for 5.5 this month, so until then I am stuck with vSphere replication.  I did test their replication to do a one time migration from one site to another and all I can say is it works!

How are you backing up your VMs on your Nutanix block(s)

Veeam

Good experiences / What do you love?

Way easier to set up than SAN+Servers+Networking.  You don't need a dedicated SAN administrator who knows how to configure fibre channel.  I can add nodes in a few minutes.

Bad experiences / What do you hate?

So much cabling!  Each node takes (2) 10Gb SFP+ cables + (1) RJ45 jumper for IPMI.

The bonjour autoconfigure seems to work awesome on a Mac, not so much for a Windows client.

If you lose more than one node, your entire environment shuts down.  We made the mistake of installing nodes into an environment where power was not stabilized yet.  We knew we were shooting ourselves in the foot, but it makes it more painful when everything comes to a halt instead of a couple servers.

Ease / difficulty of use?

Easy enough for anyone familiar with setting up vSphere environments.  Also see Networking below.

Monitoring and reporting capabilities?

SMTP alerts.  Also their storage controller tracks the same metrics as vCenter.  The Nutanix control panel is also VM aware, as in it knows where a VM lives, how much storage it consumes in both space and IO.

Anything else you want to add?


Networking

You need to be careful when designing your IP schemes as each node consumes 3 IPs.  We figured this out the hard way and there is no way to re-IP everything except to do a cluster destroy and start over.  Each node requires an ip for: IPMI, Hypervisor, Storage Controller.  They communicate with broadcasts so they must all be in the same subnet.  This also effectively limits the ability to scale to: (Available IP Space / 3).  You technically don't have to put the IPMI in the same subnet, but you will get warnings in the Nutanix control panel.

Also the Nutanix Storage controller uses an internal vSwitch on the 192.168.5.0/24 subnet, so that will not be able to be used elsewhere in your network.

VDI

I have done other VDI projects using SAN and Nutanix is much easier.  With a SAN it took a week of racking and stacking, cabling, zoning switches, configuring WWNs, carving LUNs, before I could even power on servers and install vSphere.  With Nutanix, you literally take it out of the box, plug in the power and network cables, turn it on, run the autoconfig, and then install vCenter.  I haven't done a speed trial but I can safely say you could do it in under an hour.

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muqeethrahi7
Contributor
Contributor

Hi GAPCABIV. I am looking for reviews on Nutanix solution currently. Did you test this and what is your recommendation?

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