My first thoughts on Nutanix

Currently I’m working on a project designing a 3000 VMware Horizon View environment for a local government in the west of the Netherlands. When I started this job the hardware was already purchased by the project manager. Not the correct way (according to Prince2) but it’s a fact a have to deal with. Honestly I was very pleased to hear that the vendor chose was Nutanix. On the first day I got a tour in the datacenter and 1 19″ rack was almost fully filled with NX-3050  (8 blocks with 4 servers connect with 10Gb on a Cisco Nexus 5000).

I’m quite experienced with VMware vSphere an d View but not with Nutanix. So the first thing I did was Google for a Nutanix. I didn’t want to search the Nutanix website itself but a independent people who give there thoughts on Nutanix. One of the first website I found was was IT Blood Pressure and the website from Stevan Poitras. Stevan website contains a section called the Nutanix Bible. Really interesting stuff especially the section witch describes in detail how the controller VM handels the storage workloads. You can see that some really smart people developed this system.Looking at the profiles of both authors I discovered that the both work for Nutanix. Oke, that’s by the articles are so in depth and detailed. So maybe not as independent that I was looking for, but nevertheless really interesting stuff.

After reading a lot about Nutanix I posted a Tweet that I was working with Nutanix. The same day I was contacted by Raymon Epping (@repping) that if I have any questions I can contact him. This really enjoyed me. Although Nutanix isn’t a small company the aren’t that spoiled  that talk directly whit engineers. Of course Nutanix has a benefit if this project succeeds (and this is when the user is satisfied) the could think that the sold the hardware and it isn’t there concern anymore. That if I need more information I can go to a training a read the manual. Nutanix even went so far that I had Raymon Epping for a couple of hours for myself talking about how to design a Nutanix cluster. Great!

As far as I now can overlook Nutanix isn’t so difficult to setup. The manuals are really clear and on the Internet you can Google for a of information. But as whit most (large) implementation there are 2 way’s to implement/desing a environment. The way that it runs, and the way that it runs on it’s best and it’s manageable. In my course I often say that 60% till 70% is thinking about how to setup your environment. Think in what if scenarios. The last 40%  till 30% is just clicking your environment together. You cannot design a Nutanix cluster the same way as you would design a traditional cluster. Some stuff you have to think about is:

  • Is it wise to run vCenter on the same hardware because of the dependency of the controller VM?
  • How to size your storage cluster, 1 big one or multiple smaller ones because you have different workloads
  • What is the impact of the controller VM and what if the controller VM isn’t available (backup?)?
  • How do you setup your network (VSS versus VDS)?
  • How to setup time synchronization (because of the database Nutanix uses) and what if time ain’t available.

For sure I’m going to contact Raymon Epping about designing issues.

One thing I learned in a early stage. RTFM! 🙂


About Michael
Michael Wilmsen is a experienced VMware Architect with more than 20 years in the IT industry. Main focus is VMware vSphere, Horizon View and Hyper Converged with a deep interest into performance and architecture. Michael is VCDX 210 certified, has been rewarded with the vExpert title from 2011, Nutanix Tech Champion and a Nutanix Platform Professional.

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