Nutanix first experience

Hi all,

This will be a post about the first things I have noticed about Nutanix in my home lab.

First thing is that the GUI looks amazing and feels quick and smooth, so a positive first encounter with this.

Overview

When that is said the GUI also seems to be lacking some of the usual information that I find in a vCenter or XenCenter. For instance, how can I set up a management NIC and team up other NICs, these steps might not be needed on a Nutanix cluster, but that is something I need to read up on to make sure. Another thing that I find a bit weird is that not all information on the overview (Home) page are links but some are, why not make them all links so the information links to the resources? An example is “VM Summary” right now that is telling me that I have 6 VMs, but I can’t click anywhere to get a list of those VMs. When I need to manage a VM you need to go the “VM” page, click on “Table” and then you can see a list of VMs, that is also quite a long way I think.

Another thing that sort of bothers me in the GUI is when you create a new VM you need to add a disk and network card each time, these two should be standard since a VM without network and disk seems kind of useless to me. When you do add a disk to the VM the “Create VM” wizard jumps down to the bottom so added another disk or mounting an ISO requires me to scroll up again to do so. These might be small things, but they could probably be fixed quite easy.

After a few “bad” things, lets focus on some of the good things. As I first said the GUI looks amazing and it is easy to find what you are looking for. The menu items all makes sense so even for a first-time user creating a VM won’t take long. It is also cool that you can see some key performance indicators right on the VM table view like shown below.

VM Overview

If I shift focus a bit and talk about the performance I get out of my new home lab with Nutanix I must admit that I am impressed. Everything feels fast and nice and the possibility to remote control a VM directly from the webpage is awesome. I haven’t done and specific performance tests, but the feeling of the whole system is great. I have still a lot to dig into about the Nutanix CE edition and I hope to have the time for it as well now with Synergy coming up soon.

The last thing I want to mention in this post is Powershell for Nutanix. The download of the cmdlets is easy since it is placed on the web portal for Nutanix CE, and the MSI file installed without any issues. After installation, I got a new icon for Nutanix cmdlets, but I didn’t do anything for me, a short blink is all I got. When going into my normal Powershell prompt I could go to the folder and find a file that said install cmdlets. After changing my execution policy, I could get the import done and as it turns out it is a PSSnapIn and not a module. For me the PSSnapIn is pretty old so I don’t get why vendors haven’t shifted to modules yet. Citrix is also a vendor that has been a long time doing the shift, but most Citrix software haven’t been converted to Powershell modules instead of snapins. The help files for the cmdlets could also use a brush up since there are no examples and the descriptions could also be a bit better.

After writing this post you might think that I don’t like Nutanix, but that is far from the case. I really like using it and for normal hypervisor tasks it works excellent, running VMs and providing performance data is something that really seems to have been a priority from Nutanix and that is something I really appreciate. I also expect that the more I use Nutanix the easier it will also get to find my way around in the GUI and Powershell cmdlets.

I hope that this post can be useful for others and please comment here or via twitter if there is something I am wrong about or if you just have a something I need to look at.

/Martin

 

Home lab – Part 2

Hi all,

So, part two of the blog series about my home lab was intended to be about installing Nutanix Community Edition, but because of my choice to go with an AMD Ryzen CPU that wasn’t possible since AMD isn’t a supported CPU for Nutanix.

It was possible to bypass the CPU checks and get Nutanix CE installed, but running any Microsoft OS newer that Windows Server 2008 R2 wasn’t possible. I did get a 2008 R2 server running and a new Ubuntu server, but that doesn’t really suit what I need in a home lab so I had to find something else to run my home lab.

The next thing I tried was to install Citrix XenServer 7.1. XenServer installed just fine and I could also install Windows Server 2016 without any issues. After creating my domain controller and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) server I thought it was time to get my Citrix NetScaler imported so I could do some remote access to the home lab. The import of the VPX appliance went without any issues, but the configuration failed from the start. I could not get passed the getting started wizard. I tried with three different versions of the NetScaler VPX, two 11.1 versions and one 10.5 all got stuck at the license step. I couldn’t upload a license and nor was it possible to skip the step and do it later. So once again I needed to find something else to run my home lab.

The obvious next step was to install VMware ESXi 6.5 on the server so that is what I did. The install went smooth and first thing I tried after it was up and running was to test out the NetScaler VPX appliance. This time everything went well with the import and configuration so I thought I was home safe with running VMware for a bit. Next step with the VMware setup was to get a domain controller up and running, but here is where the next odd thing shows up. Installation of Windows Server with client mapped ISO was slow so I aborted that after 20 mins where the installation still wasn’t completed. I then tried to upload the ISO to the datastore but this was also slow and failed at 73% and a reboot of the host didn’t give a new result. I then decided to upload the ISO with WinSCP and that went fast but the installation of Windows Server 2016 still takes over 1 hour to completed on a SSD disk.

Thinking about all the issues and bumps I have seen over the last four days, it seems that my new home lab server just isn’t up for the job. It might change if any of the hypervisors gets support of the Ryzen CPU, but given that it is a consumer CPU I won’t hold my breath for that.

For now, I think I will make the Ryzen a gamer PC for my kids and then get a new motherboard and CPU for the home lab sometime after Citrix Synergy. Maybe a good night sleep with get me to try and return the Ryzen CPU and the motherboard, and if so I will keep you posted.

 

New home lab – Part 1

Hi all,

For my first post on the new home lab, I thought I would start with the hardware I have purchased and show you how the assembly is done.

The hardware:

Motherboard: MSI B350 PC MATE Bundkort – AMD B350 – AMD AM4 soc

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Wraith Spire CPU – 3.6 GHz – AMD

Case: AeroCool Aero-500 – Kabinet – Miditower – Hvid

Power supply: Inter-Tech Energon EPS-650W Strømforsyning – 650 W

SSD: Crucial MX300 SSD 2.5″ – 525GB

HDD: Two older HDD on 1TB that I already had at home but didn’t use.

RAM: HyperX Savage Black XMP 64GB [4x16GB 2666MHz DDR4 CL15 DIMM]

All the hardware except for RAM was bought at www.proshop.dk

Picture of the hardware:

IMG_0378

The assembly was done like shown below.

The case:

IMG_0390

The power supply installed:

IMG_0381

CPU and CPU cooler installed on motherboard:

IMG_0382

IMG_0385

 

Disks installed:

IMG_0387

The RAM installed:

 

Picture of the server started and booted into the BIOS settings:

 

Next blog post will be on installing Nutanix on the server.

/Martin

 

 

Welcome

Hi all,

So since I just ordered some new parts for the home lab I thought it might be the time to start blogging. The first blog series will be about installing and configuring my new home lab, and it will probably be two or three parts in the serie.

A small teaser for the upcoming serie is that the hardware is AMD based and will have 64GB RAM and both SSD and HDD disks.

Hope you will follow me here.

/Martin