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Cormac_Hogan
Posted by Cormac Hogan
Technical Marketing Architect (Storage)

For those of you who don't know about Nutanix, these are the folks who won a gold award for desktop virtualization at VMworld 2011 last year. Their complete cluster product is both a hardware and software solution that delivers compute and storage to run virtual machines and store your data. Their other stance is that you no longer need a SAN to achieve enterprise-class performance, scalability and data management.

Nutanix achieves redundancy and availability in their platform by replicating between paired Nutanix NFS controllers on adjacent ESXi hosts. They also monitor VM data placement, moving associated data to new destinations based on operator-invoked or automated live migrations (using vSphere features like vMotion and DRS). It also keeps data local to the ESXi hosts & VMs. Nutanix has multiple tiers of storage, including SATA-attached SSD, SATA-attached HDD, and Fusion-IO PCIe SSD.  Nutanix's Heat-Optimized Tiering (HOT) automatically moves the most frequently accessed data to the highest performing storage tier.

Nutanix recently announced a number of additional vSphere integration features in their recently released Nutanix Complete Cluster version 2.5. I had a discussion with Lukas Lundell, my technical marketing counterpart at Nutanix, and these are the vSphere integration features that he highlighted:

  • Support for NFSv3

Nutanix are releasing their own distributed NFS implementation, but are still keeping a localized data path between the VM and the ESXi host and storage controller. More about this implementation should be appearing soon.

  • NFS VAAI

Nutanix have implemented the VAAI NFS Full Copy & File Clone primitives in this release. Nutanix/VMware VDI customers will be able to leverage VMware's upcoming VMware View Composer Array Integration (VCAI) feature which is in tech preview for VMware View 5.1.

  • Datastore Creation Wizard

Nutanix now provides seamless integration with VMware's datastore creation workflow.  You can create VMware NFS datastores directly from the Nutanix web console in just a few steps.

  • Avoidance of VMware iSCSI "All Paths Down" condition

Added support for VMware's PDL (Permanent Device Loss) SCSI sense codes so that the "All Paths Down" condition can be avoided when a device is removed from an ESxi host in an uncontrolled manner.

  • High Availability for Nutanix Storage Controllers

Nutanix will now automatically reroute storage requests to an active Nutanix storage controller in the event of one controller failing.  Interestingly, this feature can also be used to support rolling upgrades for VMware's ESXi and minor releases of the Nutanix cluster software.

 

Other features include additional management enhancements, a new proactive alert system for hardware failures and performance, and a new tuning of the cache configurations and algorithms for real-world VDI work-loads.

Looks like the guys at Nutanix have a real nice integrated solution solution to offer. Find out more by visiting the Nutanix web site.

 

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About the Author

Cormac Hogan

Cormac Hogan is a Senior Staff Engineer in the Office of the CTO in the Storage and Availability Business Unit (SABU) at VMware. He has been with VMware since April 2005 and has previously held roles in VMware’s Technical Marketing and Technical Support organizations. He has written a number of storage related white papers and have given numerous presentations on storage best practices and vSphere storage features. He is also the co-author of the “Essential Virtual SAN” book published by VMware Press.