You wanted the best and you got the Best! – Nutanix on UCS

Today marks a proud day for Nutanix and our customers. As we further extend our lead in the hyperconverged space, it is now fully supported to deploy the Nutanix platform on Cisco UCS servers. Customers now have an additional hardware option to choose from. The current options are NX on Supermicro hardware, XC on Dell hardware as OEM relation or HX on Lenovo hardware as OEM relationship. Outside of these Nutanix currently offers software-only deployments on Crystal ruggedized hardware, open compute project (OCP) hardware and now Cisco UCS.

KISS-cover

The hottest platform in the world, Nutanix on UCS!

Offering the stability, reliability and performance of the Nutanix platform on Cisco UCS has been a regular request from many of our large customers and partners. Customers no longer have to accept other hardware platforms if they are heavily invested in UCS or deploy half-baked or immature HCI solutions that were previously available on UCS.

 

Nutanix on Cisco UCS

Starting today customers can deploy Nutanix on UCS through a meet our meet in the field process. This allows customers to purchase Cisco UCS servers through their normal channels and maintain their Cisco UCS relationships. The hardware and software will be deployed at the customer’s location using the standard Nutanix procedures. The foundation process has been updated to support UCS hardware.

In this initial phase of UCS support, Nutanix will be supporting the C220 and C240 rack mount servers. There will be two models of the C240 to allow for the use of 2.5″ or 3.5″ drives. Also we support deploying with or without Fabric Interconnects (FI), this allows maximum flexibility. These models and config to order flexibility will cover the vast majority of existing use cases. Nutanix will take first call on all support issues and if determined it’s a hardware issue can open a support case with Cisco for customer via TSAnet. Hardware alerts, we can open CiscoTAC cases via TSAnet for customers.

ntnx-ucs-models

 

When deployed with Fabric Interconnects, the foundation process will auto create the necessary identify pools, service profile templates and templates to allow for the normal automated Nutanix deployment process that has been available for years on other hardware platforms.

 

Misc. Faqs

Here are several more details about the release that I won’t dive into at this time.

  • Hypervisor Support ESXi 6.0/5.5, AHV and Hyper-V
  • Regular and self-encrypting drives supported on C240 with 3.5″ drives
  • Haswell and Broadwell CPU’s supported

 

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

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Rubrik install process walk-through

 

To get things started I used a VM on the same network as the Rubrik nodes were on. I installed Bonjour from Apple and made sure Google Chrome was installed for HTML5. Once that was done I wrote down all of the interface address from the back of each of the nodes and tried to ping one of them to make sure I could reach them. You simply use the “interface-address.local” to reach them.

rubrik-install-1

 

Next up I opened up Chrome and entered one of the .local addresses. You can connect to any of the nodes in the cluster to setup or manage them. You are shown that it will be creating the “admin” user and asked to enter an email address and the password.

rubrik-install-2

 

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

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Rubrik unboxing and hardware details

A recent entrant into the data protection market is Rubrik. You can find out more about Rubrik and their background here. You can also learn a little more about Rubrik from a post that Eric Shanks just published following his visit to Virtulization Field Day. I was recently presented with the opportunity to install one of their brik’s into a lab environment to get some hands-on time with the product. I already have a list of follow-on blog posts planned. I’m not going to dive into how it all works in this post, I’ll save that for one of the other ones. Once the brik was racked and cabled it really did only take about 15 minutes for the total install process to complete, and I immediately configured my first VM for protection. Kudos to Rubrik on delivering on that fast install process.

The first picture is of the front of the Rubrik brik with the bezel on. You may have noticed this is not the nice white looking one currently being shown on their website. I was told that this is the original face place and would be replaced when others become available. The chassis that Rubrik is using, is a Supermicro that contains 4 server nodes. On the front mounting flange on each side there is a pair of power buttons and lights that match to each of the nodes.

rubrik-front-w-bezel

 

The next picture is the front of the brik with the bezel removed. This exposes 3 disk drives per node. The drives for each node are stacked vertically. The model that I was testing is the one currently available and each of these drives is a 4TB drive.

rubrik-front-no-bezel

 

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

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Atlantis goes HyperScale and enters the Hyperconverged market

In a move that might surprise some and not others, Atlantis is announcing the availability of a hyperconvered appliance. I like this move from Atlantis and I think it will offer a more appealing solution for many customers.

This HyperScale product is marrying a hardware appliance-based approach with their USX software defined storage solution. The appliance will be all flash based and come initially in two difference storage capacity options. This new offering brings a simplified and fast deployment process and single call support from Atlantis for the full stack.

To start Atlantis will support VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer as hypervisors. One can only speculate on how soon they may offer support for others, such as Microsoft Hyper-V. The small group of XenServer users will rejoice as there is finally a hyperconverged offering for them.

atlantis1

 

What’s the Hardware?

So there will be a hardware appliance, what are the details and who builds it. Atlantis is taking an approach that is being taken by some other vendors lately. They are not just offering a single hardware option. Instead Atlantis is going to be offering HyperScale options on Lenovo, HP, Cisco UCS and SuperMicro hardware. There will be a tightly controlled number of models from each vendor and their specific configuration.

The HyperScale appliances will only be available through Atlantis channel partners. When the partner makes the sale they will order the specific server vendor SKU with maintenance. They will then also sell the customer the Atlantis HyperScale SKU and maintenance. The products will be built by the channel partner and delivered by the customer. This approach can allow customers to take advantage of existing pricing they might have with their approved server vendor.

The Lenovo, HP and Cisco hardware options will be based on 1U rack mount servers. The SuperMicro option is using the Twin Pro, which is a 2U four-node configuration used by other hyperconvered and storage vendors.

 

How does support work?

Atlantis will offer one call support for the HyperScale solution. This means anything from the hardware to the hypervisor and of course the USX storage layer. The server hardware support will be covered under the server vendors maintenance, Atlantis will have the ability to fill service requests to have hardware replaced on behalf of the customer. This allows for a single call to cover the solution without needing to call HP to get a drive replaced for example. This hardware maintenance approach allows Atlantis to immediately take advantage of the global service coverage that these server vendors have built out already, saving Atlantis from a long expensive process of building out support capacity themselves.

 

What are the configurations?

Initially there are two different storage capacity options. There will be 12TB and 24TB sizes available to start and possibly a 48TB option in the future. The 12TB model has 4x 400GB flash drives and the 24TB has 4x 800GB drives. You might be saying how are they arriving at those capacity numbers with so few drives? Atlantis is basis the capacity calculations on a 4 node configuration and factoring in a data reduction of 70% to achieve the published capacities. They are offering a capacity guarantee for the HyperScale offering. If customers are unable to achieve this level of data reduction, Atlantis will work with the customer to license or provide additional capacity. The flash drives are Intel S3710’s. The link below is to a PDF that explains the storage guarantee.

Atlantis_PN_HyperScale_Storage_Guar_0415_web

All of the server options will offer dual socket servers that will use Intel E5 version3 chips. The 12TB option offers memory options of 256 to 512GB of memory and the 24TB offers 384 to 512GB. A pair of 10GbE and 1GbE network connections will be available for each node.

In the initial offering, the minimum configuration will be 4 nodes. That’s one SuperMicro chassis or 4 1U servers from the other vendors. The unit of scale will be 4 nodes at a time to start. Atlantis will offer single node scaling after the initial minimum deployment as a roadmap item some time in 2015.

 

My Point of View

I like this move from Atlantis. The USX software defined storage option was attractive, but I always like the appliance-based approach much better. Vendors that tkat an appliance approach to these offerings are able to provide and better deployment, scaling, upgrade and operational story for their customers.

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

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What does Converged Infrastructure mean to you?

Over the past several years I have been in countless discussion around Converged Infrastructure (CI) and what it is and the benefits that it provides. The one thing that I keep noticing is that there is a large variance in what CI means to different people. So I thought that in effort to get feedback from others and provide some of mine I would write this post to get the discussion started.

There are a number of vendors in the market today, that are selling some form of a converged infrastructure product or solution.

My definition of Converged Infrastructure

In my mind I think that for something to be considered CI it must do two things. It must converge at least two hardware or infrastructure pieces, such as compute and networking or server and storage. I think that it must also do a good job of converging the management of these converged pieces in a single place. For example Cisco UCS converged compute with network and storage networking. UCS manager is a single point of management to setup and maintain this type of CI. UCS has dramatically changed the server market over the past few years and laid the foundation for what others consider CI in the next section.

Under my definition I think that Cisco UCS, VMware EVO:RAIL, Nutanix, Simplivity and a few others are doing this effectively today. They may call it different names but it comes down to converging hardware and making it easier through software. I will attempt to explain through the image below. The following van is an elegant solution created at the factory that was purpose built and fully integrated. Each part of this vehicle was built to be one solution, there are no out of place windows, radios and tables. Everything was considered when designing it for the purpose.

Roadtrek_Introduces_SS-Agile_on_New_Style_Sprinter_Van_50

 

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

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VCE is caught in the middle of a War of the Roses

I always enjoy trying to connect things in life to something that others can relate to. Often this is something like a movie, book or music. In this case it’s the War of the Roses movie that comes to mind when I think of the current state of VCE and its founding members. I’m going to only reference information, articles and rumors that are publicly available. I’m sure to catch a lot of crap for this but I know others are asking the same questions.

The summary of the movie plot is listed below. I think you can insert the players names here for the VCE story and get the point I’m making. Is each company wondering what it might be like without the other?

The Roses, Barbara and Oliver, live happily as a married couple. Then she starts to wonder what life would be like without Oliver, and likes what she sees. Both want to stay in the house, and so they begin a campaign to force each other to leave. In the middle of the fighting is D’Amato, the divorce lawyer. He gets to see how far both will go to get rid of the other, and boy do they go far..

From the sounds of things lately I think we can assume that the part of Oliver is played by Cisco and Barbara is EMC/VMware. The part of D’Amato will not be played by Danny DeVito but VCE. I don’t like it when Mom and Dad fight…

thewarofroses_zps5b61fca5

 

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

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