Creating VM networks on Acropolis hypervisor – AHV

If you are building a new Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) cluster there will likely be several networks that will need to be configured for VMs to consume. Also for existing AHV clusters, we all know that as environments mature and grow, typically additional networks are introduced. For these reasons a walkthrough on how to configure these networks on AHV is part of these series.

The Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) leverages Open vSwitch (OVS) for all VM networking. When creating a new AHV cluster the management and Nutanix CVM networking paths are configured automatically. On a newly created AHV cluster there are no VM networks created automatically, VM networks are configured through Prism or the Acropolis CLI (ACLI). When networks are created within Prism they are automatically configured on all AHV hosts within the cluster to ensure compliance.

 

Creating VM networks in Prism

The process to create a new VM network through Prism is a simple pop-up form to fill in with the network name and corresponding VLAN ID. Once a network is created, it will be available for assignment to existing and newly created virtual machines. To get started once in Prism there are two options for getting to the network config. The first is to click on the gear in the upper right and select Network Configuration. The other option is when you are on the VM screen in prism in the upper right there is a green button for Network Config. Both options are shown in the image below. 

network config

 

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Configuring HA on Acropolis Hypervisor – AHV

With any new hypervisor or one that someone has not worked with previously, high availability will be one of the early questions. What happens to the VMs running on a host that crashes for one reason or another. Acropolis hypervisor (AHV) is built on CentOS KVM, which does not offer HA natively. Nutanix has built additional functionality as part of AHV to offer virtual machine High Availability (HA) as a feature to ensure virtual machine availability in the event of a host or block outage. In the event of a host failure the VMs previously running on that host will be restarted on other healthy nodes throughout the cluster. There are three HA configuration options available to account for different cluster configuration scenarios.

By default, all AHV clusters will provide a best effort level of HA even when the cluster was not specifically configured for HA. Best effort HA works without reserving any resources. Admission control is not enforced and hence there may not be sufficient capacity available to start all the VMs from the failed host. What this means is that even when AHV clusters have not been configured for HA, clusters are still protected. Depending on how many compute resources are available within the cluster all or a subset of the affected VMs may be restarted.

When an Acropolis cluster is configured for HA, the process is accomplished through Prism and is enabled with a single click. Prism will examine the cluster and will configure the cluster reservation for a specific number of host failures or segment reservations. The reservation method decision is based upon the uniformity of the hosts configuration within the cluster and selects the method with the least amount of overhead.

Host reservations – With this method an entire host is reserved for failover protection. The least used host in the cluster is selected as a reserve node, and all VMs on that node are migrated off to other nodes in the cluster so that the full capacity of that node is available for VM failover. This is the default HA method when all hosts within the cluster have the same amount of RAM. Prism will configure the number of failover hosts to match the number of failures the cluster will tolerate for the configured Replication Factor (RF).

Segment reservations – This method divides the cluster into fixed size segments of CPU and memory. Each segment corresponds to the largest VM that is guaranteed to be restarted in case the failure occurs. The other factor is the number of host failures that can be tolerated. Using these inputs, the scheduler implements admission control to always have enough resources reserved so that VMs can be restarted upon failure of any host in the cluster.  This is the default method used when hosts in the cluster have different amounts of RAM.

As you add more blocks and nodes to you AHV cluster as part of the expand cluster function, Prism will configure the new AHV hosts with the same profile settings as other hosts in the cluster. This ensures that the new resources are added to the HA calculations for the cluster and any changes are made to all hosts.

How to configure HA via Prism

Configuring HA on AHV in Prism is one-click, just like many other functions that Nutanix has built so far. Once you are logged into Prism you click on the gear in the upper right, find the Manage VM High Availability choice and select.

setting up HA

 

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Who would be on your dinner invitation list?

This is not my typical post that I would write on here but it was something that I’ve thought about at different times and wanted to write something down. The question is if you could host a small dinner party who would you invite? Let’s keep the dinner small and limit the number of guests to three, but we are holding a number of dinner parties that will be focused on different topics to keep the conversation focused. It does not matter if the guests are living or deceased, this is a wish list.

I think this idea comes from weird interview questions that people get asked sometimes, but I think about this when I see or read about someone that I think that it would be cool to sit down and talk with. So I’m going to put down a few lists of my own and encourage others to do the same in comments, would be interesting to see who others might have on their lists.

Sports

There could be a million people that fall in the sports category that it might be cool to meet. I’m focused more about sitting down and talking sports and life for a few hours that shaking hands and getting an autograph from Michael Jordan.

  1. Herman (Herm) Edwards – Herm is a past football player and coach and now an ESPN analyst. I think he is just an interesting guy, I like his no bullshit approach to sports and life. He talks about taking ownership of your actions and hist famous “you play to win” rant.
  2. Chris Carter – Like Herm, Chris also works for ESPN and is a former player for one of my favorite teams the Minnesota Vikings. He is not without his issues on past substance abuse, but he cleaned himself up and turned into one of the best receivers of all time. He also has a no BS take on things.
  3. Joe Maddon – He is the recent coach of the Chicago Cubs that seem to be taking the next step under his leadership. In the past he coached the small market Tampa team to two world series. Joe is a damn smart baseball man and seems to have endless methods to keeping his players interested and motivated is a great skill. He is also typically a great interview when I’ve heard people get enough time from him.

 

Music

Here I don’t care about one hit wonders and pop sensations, was looking for interesting people. This might have been one of the harder categories for me as there are a number of different people and it was hard to narrow down.

  1. Stevie Ray Vaughan – For me probably my favorite music artist and hands down one of the best guitar players ever. That statement can be debated forever by many, but that’s how I feel. He was taken from the world too early and I would have loved the opportunity to see him live. He just seemed like a cool cat that had no agenda and just wanted to play guitar and entertain people. He broke down barriers and blew people’s minds, what else is there to say.
  2. Johnny Cash – I don’t like all of his music as he went through different periods in his career. He also was a son of a bitch to many people that knew him, but he was a great talent and is still very interesting.
  3. Metallica – I was not sure about my third choice but the guys from Metallica are sure to not disappoint. I’ve always been a big fan of the music, but their fight against Napster and music streaming services would sure to drum up some good conversation at the dinner table.

 

Technology

There have been a few great front men that have led companies that created cool things in history, these people come to mind first. But this category could include inventors of things and really anything tech related.

  1. Steve Jobs – This choice is probably very predictable, but I think it would be interesting to get a few unfiltered hours from the evil genius. He was very driven and did things a different way than others and while people were scared of him or hated him, he lead an organization that created some of the coolest gadgets in history.
  2. Elon Musk – Much like Steve he is considered to be a bit of an evil genius, only time will tell on if he is just evil or a genius. I think that he is either a really great idea man or just good at cultivating and finding other people’s ideas, but I’m sure it would make for an interesting conversation.
  3. Kevin Mitnick – I don’t care much about hacking, but his use of social engineering and just the creative thoughts it took for his approaches is interesting.

 

Politics

I’m not a big politics person, but I do like history so that is probably why my choices are all from the past.

  1. John F Kennedy – Not being a big politics person JFK is one of the few people that sparks any interest.
  2. Teddy Roosevelt – He has some ties to South Dakota my home state along with being an interesting story puts him on my list.
  3. Winston Churchill – He lived and ruled through some very interesting events and points in time.

 

Don’t be shy now, go ahead and share your list in the comments with others. If you have ideas for other categories go ahead and make those up also.

 

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Hows the food on the vendor side, time for a change

I was unsure on whether I would even write one of these posts, but in the end landed on yes. Much like I did about 5 years ago I have decided to make a career change and shake things up. I felt like I needed to try something new and challenge myself. I had spent the last 4.5 years working for a great partner based out of Chicago called Ahead. During my time at Ahead I have grown tremendously both personally and technically. In this stop of my career path I was able to polish my presentation and architecture skills and work with some great customers and coworkers. The time was excellent and I would have changed very little about it, but in the end I was too comfortable and felt a new challenge was needed.

Having never worked for a vendor on the product side I felt this was something that I really wanted to try. During my time at Ahead I was able to work closely with the team at CloudPhysics on adding functionality to their product that allowed me to get a feel on what working for a startup vendor might be like. To say the least, I was hooked and this only help to escalate my time frame for finding the right vendor. As I talked to different people that I know and prospective vendors I set a question that I needed to be able to answer yes to without any hesitation to really consider a prospective vendor.

Can I wake up every morning and be truly happy and excited to talk about and support the product that I would be supporting?

I found that this question was harder to answer yes to than I expected. This question had to be answered first before any talk about the role, benefits and salary. Without answering yes to this the other questions would all be meaningless. In the end the list of vendors that I would be able to answer yes to was very short.

Enough with my ramblings, I have accepted the role of Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and will be starting on the 12th. This choice has mostly been met with positive feedback from those that I was able to discuss with in advance. They saw that this would be a good move for me and left politics out of it, there were a few jokes about geez isn’t another VCDX going to Nutanix a cliche.

There were a number of things that drew me to Nutanix and the process was a very long one that I only gained more respect for the company as the process had its ups and downs. First as a product I was very interested about two years ago when I got my first chance to get some hands on with the product. This allowed me to get the full experience, before this I was exposed to some of my customers that had already deployed Nutanix and spoke highly about the product. Secondly I was very impressed at the rate that Nutanix was innovating and moving their product forward. There was a constant and face pace of new features and performance improvements and this kept my attention.

The senior and mid-level leadership that I was exposed to during the process and through other avenues was very impressive. They communicated their vision and always handled themselves professionally even when things looked like they would not work out. Some of these same people have been labeled incorrectly due to their interaction publicly when battling with competitors, but how they handled our interactions and more importantly how they have worked with other employees that have been there for years is what really mattered.

The fact that Nutanix already has a large number of other VCDX’s employed already had no positive effect, in reality it probably caused me to look at them more closely. While I highly respect the VCDX certification, I tend to look at the quality of the people and talent over a certification label. Also the fact that me having my VCDX never came up in our discussions along the way was also a positive, I never felt like Nutanix was trying to collect numbers for some artificial reason.

Beyond all of this it was some sage advice that my loving wife offered me that really got the ball moving. She had heard discussion over the past year and had noticed that when I worked on projects or assisted with sales campaigns that involved Nutanix that my excitement was elevated. This along with paying close attention to the recruitment and interview phase she knew it was the right place for me to go new. Also leaving one day to pick the kids up from school she noticed that she was wearing a Nutanix hoodie, carrying a travel mug and phone charger all with the Nutanix brand made the statement that hell I already advertise enough for them you should just work for them.

I can say that I’m very excited to take on the new challenge of tech marketing and learning everything that I can about the inner workings of the Nutanix platform and helping the team reach its full potential. I don’t expect the content that I write about to change much here, but the product reviews that I’ve done on DataCenterZombie.com will be affected by this move to a vendor. I will probably be looking for other types of content to write about there that does not conflict with my day job.

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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

 

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Whats new in Horizon 6.2 and why should you care

Today at VMworld 2015, VMware announces the Horizon 6.2 release and the updates that will be available later this week. That’s right my fellow EUC nerds, we will not have to wait long to take advantage of these new little goodies. As great of an EUC story that VMware has built already, they have had multiple little things that plagued them when being compared to Citrix for certain customer requirements. This new release is going to help with several of these items and hopefully we won’t have to wait long for more to be released.

RDS Application Updates

Ever since VMware added the RDS functionality to Horizon in 2014 for shared desktops and application presentation I have been excited about the possibilities. They have improved on functionality in short bursts in the last 12 months, but even with that at times it felt like they were not closing gaps fast enough.

The Horizon 6.2 announcement today is going to close several of what most would can required gaps.

RDS Apps with Cloud Pod

I have to admit I’m not a big supported of the Cloud Pod architecture that is offered from VMware as a multi-site architecture, but the face that it was only for desktops in the past was silly. In the 6.2 update the Cloud Pod offering now supports global entitlements for applications and the associated placement and load balancing that has been available for desktops.

rds cloud pod

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CloudPhysics adds more features and Sexy Dashboards

This weeks major announcements form CloudPhysics focus on changes in your VMware environment. Often it is a change that brings about an adverse reaction such as a crash or performance issue. Without good insight and control admins are often left wondering what might have caused the issue they are battling at that moment. When fighting the fire thinking about recent changes can be the last thing that someone might be thinking about.

They struggle to understand whether changes — intended or accidental — result in performance disruptions and availability issues waiting to ignite. Further, when things go wrong, there is an inability to replay the changes over time to correlate events or trends that caused the current problem.

To help illustrate these changes and continue to build on their maturing performance reporting capabilities, CloudPhysics will be showing offer their new dashboards. In the previous versions of CloudPhysics data was presented in very focused details through their card’s which were similar to reports. The cards will still be available and a major part of the platform, but dashboards are taking their super metrics to the next level.

I’ve seen great products with ugly interfaces in the past, but getting the look of the product is critical. I think that these new dashboards from CloudPhysics are some of the best looking ones that I’ve seen from any tools vendor. The sample dashboard below is focused on showing performance and capacity details. The sections can be changed to show different data and time periods.

CloudPhysics dashboard

 

The second dashboard sample shown below is focusing in on CPU Rdy time a very important stat for admins. It is also showing the changes that have taken place in the environment along with when and who executed them. These are some great details and they are presented in an easy to consume and good looking interface.

CloudPhysics exploration mode

 

I would like to congratulate the CloudPhysics team on another great update to their product. I look forward to testing these new features out very soon.

 

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