I’ve recently had the opportunity to deploy a VDI solution utilising Nutanix Virtual Compute Platform at one of our customer sites, and wanted to discuss some of the benefits it brings to virtualised solutions. Nutanix is a converged infrastructure solution … [More]
By Darren McDonagh 215 0
I’ve recently had the opportunity to deploy a VDI solution utilising Nutanix Virtual Compute Platform at one of our customer sites, and wanted to discuss some of the benefits it brings to virtualised solutions. Nutanix is a converged infrastructure solution that consolidates the compute (your virtualisation hosts) and the storage tier into a single appliance. I’m personally quite impressed with this technology and the capability it brings not only to VDI solutions, but virtualised solutions as a whole.
BackgroundYou will often read about failed VDI projects, the two main reasons for failure comes down to cost and performance. In the main, these issues are closely related to storage. Lots of high performance storage is costly, so if you don’t provide enough performance to cater for peak usage during IO storms and high usage periods, the solution will underperform when under load. To address the gap in the market, Storage Optimisation has stepped in, with multiple vendors providing very differing solutions. These solutions range from Flash only arrays, VM-aware storage appliances and storage in memory, a handful of these solutions are also able to optimise local or older storage. One of my colleagues recently published this blog post with his experience of Storage Optimisation using Tintri. At the higher end of the scale, you also have larger consolidated platforms such as VCE’s Vblock and IBM’s PureFlex. These are all great solutions and remove some of the cost and performance barriers detailed above. However, when you add a layer of optimisation or select a large consolidated platform you can also start to add complexity and ultimately lose flexibility, see my blog post 'Sorry we don't do average IOPS' for more information.
Back to NutanixThe Nutanix solution offers combined compute and storage in a single box. Starting with just three nodes you can scale upwards to cater for many thousands of workloads with many Nutanix nodes and multiple Nutanix clusters if required. Like many other solutions, Nutanix optimises the local storage attached to each node, but with BIG differences:
- The management of the local storage is all “underwater”, The Nutanix Operating System (NOS) takes care of this for you
- A central administration console provides true centralised management, even down to data store mounting
- NOS ensures that the Virtual machines are stored on the local storage of the hosts where they’re running, therefore ensuring that the majority of IO is local to each node
- If one of the controller VMs goes down, the “Auto Pathing” feature ensures that another controller takes over
- There are SSD drives and SATA drives on each node, all tiering is controlled by NOS (you also have the option to go for ‘storage heavy’ nodes with larger SATA disks)
- The Shadow Clone feature (GA in v4 of NOS, early preview in earlier versions) ensures that shared base images (for Citrix XenDesktop MCS and VMware View Composer linked clones) are automatically recognised and stored on the SSD tier
- The storage is presented as shared storage (NFS) to your virtualisation hosts
- As you add additional nodes, you automatically add more storage