Nutanix was founded in 2009 and left the stealth mode in 2011. Their Virtual Computing Platform combines storage and computing resources in a building block scheme. Each appliance consists up to four nodes and local storage (SSD and rotating rust). At least three nodes are necessary to form a cluster. If you need more storage or compute resources, you can add more appliances, and thus nodes, to the cluster (scale out). Nutanix scales proportionately with cluster growth. The magic is not the hardware – it’s the software. The local storage resources of each appliance are passed to the Nutanix Controller VM (CVM). The CVM services I/O and storage to the VMs and is running on each node, regardless of the hypervisor. You can run VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM on the nodes. Although the Nutanix Distributed File System (NDFS) is stretched across all nodes, I/O for a VM is served by the local CVM. The storage can be presented via iSCSI, NFS or SMB3 to the hypervisor.
Over the time I found some very useful stuff about Nutanix. A good start is “Software-Defined Storage for Dummies – Nutanix Special Edition“. It’s a free eBook, which can be downloaded after a simple registration. If you want to get deeper, the Nutanix Bible written by Steven Poitras is an excellent source. Steve (@StevenPoitras) is Solutions Architect and Technology Evangelist at Nutanix. Sometimes it’s nice to get your hands dirty. Unfortunately Nutanix doesn’t ship their appliances for free. So you have two options… mmh… maybe three options: Get hired by Nutanix (if you’re VCDX the chance is high to get hired…), sell your innocence to the man with the window-less van or try the interactive Nutanix Web Console GUI. It’s not the real Web Console GUI, but it will give you a good overview how the PRISM UI looks like. The mock-up was created by Tim Federwitz, Sr. Systems Engineer at Nutanix. Another good source of information is the Platform Administration Guide for NOS 3.5. Last but not least there are a lot of great blogs, e.g. Michael Webster (@vcdxnz001, VCDX #66), Josh Odgers (@josh_odgers, VCDX #90), Derek Seaman (@vDerekS, VCDX #125), Bas Raayman (@BasRaayman) and many more.
If you ever have the chance to get your hands on a Nutanix block, then I recommend you to take advantage of this opportunity. I think that Nutanix vision of a hyper-converged datacenter will change the way how we will run applications workloads in the future.
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