NPX – The Right Hypervisor

I was talking to some potential NPX candidates the other day and I was describing the strategy for selecting the correct hypervisors for the NPX Design Review (NDR). Nutanix is a hypervisor agnostic platform, you can use ESXi, Hyper-V, AHV (KVM-base) or Citrix (for Citrix VDI only). The NPX candidate needs to choose two hypervisors as part of the NPX application form, one hypervisor for the NPX design submission and the second hypervisor for the NDR design scenario and the NDR hands-on scenario (troubleshooting). You cannot use the same hypervisor for both parts of the NDR (with the exception of a multi-hypervisor design submission, then you can choose what you want – thanks to Artur for this clarification).

The NPX Link-O-Rama is a great resource for all things NPX, including this applicable list of articles in my VCDX Deep-Dive series (more than 90 posts).

The Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) has come a long way in the 5-years since it was released, including the Nutanix hybrid cloud products that have become available during that time (e.g. Nutanix Era, Karbon, Objects, Clusters, Calm, Flow, Files, Leap, Beam, etc.). With that thought in mind, my recommendation to anyone considering the NPX journey would use AHV as the hypervisor of choice for the design submission. The reason being, using a third party hypervisor with Nutanix is incredibly complicated and you have to worry about integrating and customizing the technologies of two vendors just to get the on-site SDDC functioning correctly.

For example, if you selected VMware vSphere as the hypervisor, consider the complexity of the design to address the advanced ESXi settings, the deployment of vCenter Server (Nutanix Foundation does not automate this, only the ESXi/AOS imaging process), the customization of vCenter Server, the use of NSX-T for micro-segmentation, the advanced operational procedures to capture that complexity, etc.

With Nutanix AHV, you do not have this problem, Foundation images the nodes with Prism included as an AOS service, Prism Central is a multi-cluster manager and advanced operations manager, Nutanix Flow provides micro-segmentation (as a Prism Central service) which AHV natively supports and so forth. Using this strategy would significantly reduce the complexity of the design and decrease the number of hours needed creating the submission documents. Which makes sense, because Nutanix is all about customer delight and simplicity.

If you follow this strategy, you still need to demonstrate mastery of the second 3rd party hypervisor during the NDR design and hands-on scenarios, however you only need to talk about it, not write about it; which is a big difference.


VCDX – The Zone

Have you ever been walking up a set of stairs and when you think about what your legs are doing, you stumble and have to grab the handrail to save yourself from falling? Defending VCDX is the exact same thing, on the day of the defense you want to be in “the zone”, going with the flow, thinking on your feet and making it happen. You want to let your subconscious take control and perform the task at hand.

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VCDX – Throwing Bones

In movies about courtroom dramas, you will commonly hear objections from the prosecution or the defence to the judge about leading the witness. That is, the witness has to think and speak independently without live coaching or prompting. The panel-based defences for VCDX, CCAr and NPX have the same premise.

DISCLAIMER: This article is completely based upon my experiences as an NPX Certified Examiner. However, my panel training was by former VCDX panelists and moderators.

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VCDX – Journey to Triple VCDX (with NPX)

This was a multi-stage journey I started in September 2012 with the VMware vSphere 5 ICM course and the subsequent VCP/VCAP exams for VCDX-DCV. Part of that expedition was to provide a roadmap to VCDX, which resulted in the VCDX Deep-Dive series. We all have opinions on what works and what does not; this chronicles what worked for me – if it adds value, use it, if not, ignore.

Continue reading VCDX – Journey to Triple VCDX (with NPX)