To continue on my last blog post on Exchange...
As I mentioned previously, I support SE’s from all over the world. And again today, I got asked what are the best practices for running Exchange on Nutanix. Funny enough, this question comes in quite often. Well, I am going to help resolve that. There’s a lot of great info out there, especially from my friend Josh Odgers, which has been leading the charge on this for a long time. Some of his posts can be controversial, but the truth is always there. He’s getting a point across.
On February 16, 2016, Nutanix announced the Acropolis NOS 4.6 release and last week was available for download. Along with many enhancements, I wanted to highlight several items, including some tech preview features.
As always, I try to blog on questions I get from the field and recently, I helped some colleagues and customers build a DAG on Nutanix 2 times last week ;). The process is pretty straightforward, but there are some best practices that everyone should follow to ensure a healthy DAG environment.
To continue NPP training series here is my next topic: How does it work – CVM – Software Defined
If you missed other parts of my series, check out links below:
Part 1 – NPP Training series – Nutanix Terminology
Part 2 – NPP Training series – Nutanix Terminology
Cluster Architecture with Hyper-V
Data Structure on Nutanix with Hyper-V
I/O Path Overview
To give credit, most of the content was taken from Steve Poitras’s “Nutanix Bible” blog as his content is the most accurate and then I put a Hyper-V lean to it. Also, he just rocks…other than being a Sea Hawks Fan :).
As mentioned before (likely numerous times), the Nutanix platform is a software-based solution which ships as a bundled software + hardware appliance. The controller VM or what we call the Nutanix CVM is where the vast majority of the Nutanix software and logic sits and was designed from the beginning to be an extensible and pluggable architecture. A key benefit to being software-defined and not relying upon any hardware offloads or constructs is around extensibility. As with any product life-cycle, advancements and new features will always be introduced.
By not relying on any custom ASIC/FPGA or hardware capabilities, Nutanix can develop and deploy these new features through a simple software update. This means that the deployment of a new feature (e.g., deduplication) can be deployed by upgrading the current version of the Nutanix software. This also allows newer generation features to be deployed on legacy hardware models. For example, say you’re running a workload running an older version of Nutanix software on a prior generation hardware platform (e.g., 2400). The running software version doesn’t provide deduplication capabilities which your workload could benefit greatly from. To get these features, you perform a rolling upgrade of the Nutanix software version while the workload is running, and you now have deduplication. It’s really that easy.
Similar to features, the ability to create new “adapters” or interfaces into Distributed Storage Fabric is another key capability. When the product first shipped, it solely supported iSCSI for I/O from the hypervisor, this has now grown to include NFS and SMB for Hyper-V. In the future, there is the ability to create new adapters for various workloads and hypervisors (HDFS, etc.).
And again, all of this can be deployed via a software update. This is contrary to most legacy infrastructures, where a hardware upgrade or software purchase is normally required to get the “latest and greatest” features. With Nutanix, it’s different. Since all features are deployed in software, they can run on any hardware platform, any hypervisor, and be deployed through simple software upgrades.
Until next time, Rob…
Exchange Server 2016 is here and available to download!!!
What sets this version of Exchange apart from the past, is that it was forged in the cloud. This release brings the Exchange bits that already power millions of Office 365 mailboxes to your on-premises environment. And deploying Exchange 2016 on Nutanix, you can truly create the ultimate email web-scale environment.
Email remains the backbone of business communication and the one that workers consider the most essential tool for getting things done. Because of this, it’s vital to have a modern messaging infrastructure that meets today’s business expectations of scale. With the volume of email and other communications continuing to grow, people need tools that help them focus on what’s most important in their inboxes, schedules and interactions with others at work. And as the quantity of email data grows, so do the demands on IT to manage, preserve and protect it. This is why Web-Scale so important in an Exchange 2016 environment.
To help you meet these challenges with Exchange Server, Microsoft has deepened the integration between Exchange and other Office products, so your organization can be more productive and collaborate more effectively. They’ve made it easier to manage your email with new ways to focus on what’s important, work more efficiently, and accomplish more with your devices. Microsoft has also simplified the Exchange architecture and introduced additional recovery features.
Exchange 2016 builds on and improves features introduced in Exchange 2013, including Data Loss Prevention, Managed Availability, automatic recovery from storage failures, and the web-based Exchange admin center.
- Better collaboration: Exchange 2016 includes a new approach to attachments that simplifies document sharing and eliminates version control headaches. In Outlook 2016 or Outlook on the web, you can now attach a document as a link to SharePoint 2016 (currently in preview) or OneDrive for Business instead of a traditional attachment, providing the benefits of coauthoring and version control.
- Improved Outlook web experience: Continuing our effort to provide you with a first class web experience across devices, Microsoft has made significant updates to Outlook on the web. New features include: Sweep, Pin, Undo, inline reply, a new single-line inbox view, improved HTML rendering, new themes, emojis, and more.
- Search: A lightning-fast search architecture delivers more accurate and complete results. Outlook 2016 is optimized to use the power of the Exchange 2016 back-end to help you find things faster, across old mail and new. Search also gets more intelligent with Search suggestions, People suggestions, search refiners, and the ability to search for events in your Calendar.
- Greater extensibility: An expanded Add-In model for Outlook desktop and Outlook on the web allows developers to build features right into the Outlook experience. Add-ins can now integrate with UI components in new ways: as highlighted text in the body of a message or meeting, in the right-hand task pane when composing or reading a message or meeting, and as a button or a dropdown option in the Outlook ribbon.
- eDiscovery: Exchange 2016 has a revamped eDiscovery pipeline that is significantly faster and more scalable. Reliability is improved due to a new search architecture that is asynchronous and distributes the work across multiple servers with better fault tolerance. You also have the ability to search, hold and export content from public folders.
- Simplified architecture: One Role…! Exchange 2016’s architecture reflects the way we deploy Exchange in Office 365 and is an evolution and refinement of Exchange 2013. A combined mailbox and client access server role makes it easier to plan and scale your on-premises and hybrid deployments. Coexistence with Exchange 2013 is simplified, and namespace planning is easier.
- High availability: Automated repair improvements such as database divergence detection make Exchange easier than ever to run in a highly available way. Stability and performance enhancements from Office 365, many of which were so useful that Microsoft shipped them in Exchange 2013 Cumulative Updates, are also baked into the product.
That’s just quick list of highlights; I encourage you to get a full view of what’s new by reviewing the Exchange 2016 documentation on TechNet.
Or, if you are in the mood for something more bite-sized, check out these short demo videos in which a few members of the Exchange team show off their favorite features:
- Better Collaboration
- Outlook on the Go
- Architecture and Security/Compliance Improvements
- Smarter Inbox
Exchange 2016 will follow the same servicing rhythm as Exchange 2013, with Cumulative Updates (CUs) released approximately every three months that contain bug fixes, product refinements, and selected new investments from Office 365. The first CU is expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2016.
Until next time, Rob….