Managing VMs on Nutanix AHV
In this post I will take a quick tour through the process of managing virtual machines running on Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). This will touch on the basics and the most common tasks that admins are performing on VMs that already exist. All VM management tasks will be performed from within Prism the single management interface for Nutanix clusters. The VM view within Prism is where the majority of VM-based tasks are performed. A table based view provides an easy to consume method of finding and managing your virtual machines. When selecting a VM, just below the table will be a group of actions that can be taken. These are highlighted in the image below.
These actions are as follows:
- Enable NGT – Nutanix guest tools, provides VirtIO drivers, Nutanix VSS provider and other services. Similar to VMware tools for vSphere people.
- Launch Console – Opens a console session to the VM
- Power Actions – Power off, on, restart actions
- Take Snapshot – ad-hoc snapshot of the VM
- Migrate – Use to live migrate a VM to a different host
- Pause – pause a running VM
- Clone – Creates a new VM from the existing VM
- Update – Change VM settings
- Delete – Delete a VM
A console session can be opened to a virtual machine by selecting the VM and clicking the Launch Console action. The image below shows a sample of what the session experience is like. The upper right of the window provides options that can be executed while in the session. These allow for ctrl-alt-del key combination to be sent to the session, power actions and a screen capture. The screen capture option is a nice little feature that will capture an image of what is presented on the console session at the time of the capture. The output will be presented in a new browser window/tab and the image can be saved.
VM Power Actions
When selecting a VM from the table shown at the beginning of this post the power action will present an admin with the following options. This is pretty standard and allows for the VM to be powered off, on, reset or rebooted.
Once a VM has been created there will be a point in time that an admin may have to add, remove or change the configuration of the VM. This is done with the update action which allows for any setting to be updated for powered off VMs and a subset to be updated for a running VM. By using the update VM process admins are able to change the vCPU, memory, network, disk and other settings. Obvious routine tasks such as adding more memory, CPU or disk to a VM would be done in this way.
There are different methods that a snapshot can be performed on a VM within a Nutanix cluster. Using the snapshot action on the selected VM allows an admin to perform a one time ad-hoc snapshot on the VM. This will create a space efficient storage based snapshot that does not affect the VMs performance. This snapshot action would be useful for admins that want to preserve the state of a VM before OS updates, application updates or other possible destructive tasks that would allow for an easier recovery without having to restore the VM from a traditional backup method.
Once the snapshot is created it will be presented via the snapshot tab on in the VM view. If there are multiple snapshots they will all be presented in chronological order. From this view you are able to clone out the snapshot and create a new VM from the snapshot, restore the VM to the snapshot or delete the snapshot.
From this view you can see that the process of managing virtual machines on AHV has been simplified and presented in an easy to consume layout within Prism. Since AHV is a purpose-built hypervisor for the cloud generation the interface is modern and uncluttered with obscure legacy features. The actions covered in this post could also be performed via the Acropolis CLI or the REST-API.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design