Nutanix XCP Deep-Dive – Part 1 – Overview

You have been given the task of bringing a brand new Nutanix Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP) solution online.  However, you are used to traditional server and storage infrastructure (eg. HP, IBM, EMC).  If you are asking yourself, “What is hyper-converged infrastructure? How do I configure this thing?” Then this series of posts is for you.

This will be a multi-part series, describing how to design, install, configure and troubleshoot an advanced Nutanix XCP solution from start to finish for vSphere, AHV and Hyper-V deployments:

If you have just heard about Hyper-Converged infrastructure and Nutanix, read my Tech101 – Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform article.

First point, Nutanix has just announced the name change of their Virtual Computing Platform (VCP) to Xtreme Computing Platform (XCP) with the release of Acropolis and their new “Invisible Infrastructure” paradigm during the Miami .Next 2015 conference.

If you are not a Nutanix Customer, Partner or Employee, it is going to be very challenging getting your hands on their technology, KB articles and documentation.  They have released the Nutanix Community Edition to get you started, but it will provide limited value for their Enterprise platform.

Nutanix need to update their policies on who can access their binaries, KB articles and documentation.  Particularly if they want non-customers to investigate and become familiar with their technology.  I have been informed they are trying to fix this.  For example:

  • If you take the Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform Administration 4.1.1 course for NPP, some of the training material links to Nutanix documents that require a valid support contract.
  • You must be a Nutanix Partner or Employee to download the Foundation and Phoenix binaries.

The Nutanix documentation (HTML, EPUB or PDF) you want to get your hands on for NOS 4.1:

  • Setup Guide (publicly available)
  • Advanced Setup Guide
  • Field Installation Guide
  • Hardware Administration and Reference
  • Upgrade Guide
  • Web Console Guide (publicly available)
  • vSphere Administration Guide (publicly available)
  • Acropolis Virtualisation Administration Guide (publicly available – previously “KVM Administration Guide”)
  • Hyper-V Administration Guide (publicly available)
  • NOS Advanced Administration Guide
  • Nutanix Cluster Check (NCC) Guide
  • Command Reference (publicly available)
  • API Reference (HTML only – publicly available)

General observation, Nutanix documentation is very well written with an elegant font and format; very easy to read and understand.

The Nutanix Portal areas (HTML, EPUB or PDF) you want to checkout (if you have access):

  • Knowledge Base Articles
  • End of Life Bulletins (& Policy)
  • Field Advisories
  • Security Advisories
  • Support (for Support Request creation and management)

General observation, Nutanix support is very prompt and helpful, even for low priority requests.

The Nutanix hardware, software, binaries and licences you will need to start your journey:

  • Nutanix XCP block (any model), even as a PoC for a few months
  • Foundation (2.1 at time of writing) with the embedded Phoenix images for ESXi, KVM and Hyper-V
  • Nutanix Installer Package (2.1.3 at time of writing)
  • Prism Central (4.1.3 at time of writing – separate Hyper-V and ESXi versions)
  • Professional/Ultimate Edition Licences for your Cluster (for advanced features)
  • Nutanix Cluster Check (NCC – 1.4.1 at time of writing)
  • Nutanix Community Edition (with whitebox hardware or nested virtual)
  • Nutanix supported version of ESXi ISO image from my.vmware.com
  • Nutanix supported version of Hyper-V ISO image from microsoft.com
  • Nutanix KVM Hypervisor upgrade bundle
  • Various Tools and Firmware (eg. SCVMM Clone AddIn, SCOM Management Pack etc.)

What can you do to get started:

nutanix_portal

Other Resources

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