Reduce Rack Space

Nutanix Cluster Helped Reduce Rack Space

Chris Farmer Nutanix

Reduce Rack Space

Reduce Rack space using Nutanix

Reduce rack space usage can help save money, whether you are use a Co-Lo Data Centre or you have an internal Server room. Reducing your rack usage obviously can help reduce your running costs, be it Data Center charges (Cab space/Power/etc) or local Server room (Power/Air Con/etc.)

Last week I helped a customer reduce rack space by installing a Nutanix cluster. The Nutanix Cluster helped reduce rack space, from ~24U to 4U.

They originally had a NetApp with SAS and SATA shelves and a Dell Blade system, with 8 Blades. The NetApp and Dell Blades are using at least 24U of rack space. The two blocks of Nutanix, each with 3x NX-1065 nodes within uses only 4U and helped reduce rack space usage.

Each of those blocks could contain 4 nodes, so they have space to simply slide in another 2 nodes and all that would require is 4 network connections. As each block already has two power supplies already connected, as providing redundancy.

The data held on the SATA shelves, which was for remote office backups, are now being located on a separate 2U storage device. Also within the Rack was some other iSCSI storage that was used to hold backups (Microsoft DPM) and Archive Data from both email and file.

The Nutanix and a StorSimple has helped reduce rack space for the customer from  a single 42U rack, crammed to the brim to a new rack with only 6U.

The Nutanix nodes require 10 Gigbit infrastructure and this is being provided by a couple of NetGear switches, mounted in a 0U configuration within the rack, which also helped reduce rack space usage and rather than have SFP+ connections are using 10Base-T.

The physical installation within the rack was completely tool-less and only took a few minutes to complete.

Installing NOS and Hyper-visor

Once the Nutanix Hardware was in, the customer cabled the new Nutanix NX-1065-G4 into their new 10Gb NetGear switches, this took a little longer, as they wanted to ensure that they know what was going where.

The Nutanix NX-1065-G4 came factory installed with NOS 4.1 and we wanted to use the latest version, NOS 4.5.1.2.

The NX-1065-G4 where isolated from their network, as they don’t have DHCP, so we created a DHCP server on a laptop. Once all the Nutanix NX-1065-G4 nodes had powered on, plus they had been left for a few minutes, the installation of NOS and a Hypervisor began.

Simple wizard

If the Nutanix NX-1065-G4 Nodes had had NOS 4.5.1.2, the installation would have been very simple and quick.

Unfortunately, NOS 4.1 meant that I had to use the Nutanix Foundation VM to perform the installation.

It was still a simple process. The Software recognised the all the nodes and proceeded through a wizard, which asks for individual IP address or IP ranges for each of the components.

Once the wizard is complete, the installation software performs all the necessary action, including installing VMware ESXi 6 updated 1a and configuring all the IP Address. So it was time to grab a coffee and some Ginger nuts.

Final Configuration

Once the installation of NOS and Hypervisor had been completed, it was now time to get those Nutanix Nodes (ESXi Hosts) into vCenter.

There are some tweaks that need to be done, within vCenter when creating cluster to hold all of the Nutanix NX-1065-G4 nodes, but these are simple and well documented in the Nutanix Field Guide.

Once the cluster has been sorted, it is now just a simple procedure to add your new ESXi Hosts into vCenter. You might prefer to do this using the ESXI Host Name rather than IP Address, so this requires a little bit on manual DNS entries.

You can then create a Container in the Nutanix Prism GUI, which is automatically mounted to all the Nutanix Nodes (ESXi Hosts).

Complete and ready for Migration

Now that the ESXi Hosts (Nutanix Nodes) are in vCenter you can start to migrate the VMs.

This can be done Live, if those VMs use vDisks and have the correct CPU. To do this does need a little more configuration, which I won’t go into here.

If you have RDMs, then some further planning needs to be done.

Rack Space Saved

The blog was really to show that technology has moved on and therefore space and power saving that can be had.

The old 3 tier storage architecture is an outdated idea. Not only does it take up vast amounts of space and use lots of power, but in certain business have entire departments that solely look after the hardware.  I’m sure that there are some applications that require a traditional SAN, but with Nutanix Storage Node, NX-6035C and new vendors like Cohesity entering the market, the traditional 3 Tier solutions are look outdated and compromised.

Web-Scale & Distributed

Companies like Google and Facebook founded the idea of distributed files system and localised compute.

They have built empires around this technology and Nutanix, among some others, have brought this technology and allowed businesses of any size to gain access to a technology that does really bring ease of use and total scalability or Web-Scale to us all.

Final Word

I’ll leave with a quote from the Customer, as I think it says it all.

“On the Nutanix migration front we now have 32 VM’s over and the system is working fantastically, we love it!!!”IT Infrastructure Engineer - Environmental Consultancy
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