Hi Everyone…I love to show off the cool Microsoft integrations that Nutanix has and most recently Nutanix released System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 R2 Fast Clones plug-in.
With NOS 4.1.3, Nutanix has released a Fast Clone plugin for SCVMM. The plug-in has the ability to provide space efficient, low impact clones from SCVMM and quickly. The plugin is a wrapper around Nutanix powershell commands for Fast Cones. The plugin does need proper access rights to the Hyper-V hosts and SCVMM and already should be setup for most environments that have Nutanix with Hyper-V deployed. You will need to install the plugin on the SCVMM host along with the Nutanix powershell command-lets.
Once you have the SCVMM Fast Clones plug-in installed, you can start creating Fast Clones right away. Installation is quick and easy and creating clones is just as easy as shown below.
To create VM clones using the Nutanix Fast Clones wizard, follow the below steps:
Start the SCVMM
Navigate to the Nutanix hosts.
Select a host and then select the VM to be cloned.
To invoke the wizard, do one of the following: Click the “Nutanix Fast Clone” button on the top menu-bar. Right-click the target VM and select “Nutanix Fast Clone” from the pop-up context menu:
In the Introduction screen, read the instructions and then click the “Next” button. NOTE: On start of the wizard, it makes a connection to the VMM to be able to communicate with it to run SCVMM PowerShell cmdlets to gather information about the selected VM.
The “Identity” screen is displayed. The “Source VM Name” and “Source VM Host Name” is prepopulated, enter the following information and then click the “Next” button:
Clone Type: Click the “Clone One Virtual Machine” radio button and enter a name for the clone when creating a single clone or click the “Clone Multiple Virtual Machines” radio button and enter the following information:
VM Prefix Name: This is the root part of the new VM name.
Beginning Suffix: a number to start the numbering of the new VMs
Number of Clones: a number between 1 and 100.
In the Authentication screen, enter the Prism and VMM Service Account user names and passwords in the appropriate fields, and then click the “Next” button.
In the “Select Path” screen, select the destination path and then click the “Next” button. Leave the default path “as is” or change it to a new path as needed by clicking the “Change the default path” box. Click the Browse button to select a destination path for the clone VMs. This is the path where virtual machine configuration files will be stored. The path must be on the same Nutanix SMB share as the VM configuration file.
In the “Add Properties” screen, click the appropriate radio button to either power on or not power on the VMs after cloning and then click the “Next” button.
In the Summary screen below, review (confirm) the settings are correct.
Clicking the “View Script” button displays the script to be executed:
Clicking the “Enable Verbose Messages” displays detailed log messages as the VMs are being created.
When the settings are correct, click the “Create” button to create the cloned VM(s). An hour glass is displayed and progress messages are displayed.
After the clones are created, click the Finish button to close the wizard and you just created VM’s at lighting speed.
If you want to check out Fast Clones for your environment, you can download Fast Clones from the Nutanix Portal at https://portal.nutanix.com.
Below is a demo video shows traditional cloning vs Fast Clones that my buddy @mcghem created. It shows the awesome benefit of Fast Clones.
As always, if you have any questions please post a comment.
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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.
The Nutanix platform is composed of the following high-level components:
Key Role: Distributed metadata store
Description: Cassandra stores and manages all of the cluster metadata in a distributed ring like manner based upon a heavily modified Apache Cassandra. The Paxos algorithm is utilized to enforce strict consistency. This service runs on every node in the cluster. Cassandra is accessed via an interface called Medusa.
Key Role: Abstraction layer
Description: Medusa is the Nutanix abstraction layer that sits in front of the cluster’s distributed metadata database, which is managed by Cassandra..
Key Role: Cluster configuration manager
Description: Zeus stores all of the cluster configuration including hosts, IPs, state, etc. and is based upon Apache Zookeeper. This service runs on three nodes in the cluster, one of which is elected as a leader. The leader receives all requests and forwards them to the peers. If the leader fails to respond a new leader is automatically elected. Zookeeper is accessed via an interface called Zeus.
Key Role: Library interface
Description: Zeus is the Nutanix library interface that all other components use to access the cluster configuration, such as IP addresses. Currently implemented using Zookeeper, Zeus is responsible for critical, cluster-wide data such as cluster configuration and leadership locks.
Key Role: Data I/O manager
Description: Stargate is responsible for all data management and I/O operations and is the main interface from Hyper-V (via SMB 3.0). This service runs on every node in the cluster in order to serve localized I/O.
Key Role:Map reduce cluster management and cleanup
Description: Curator is responsible for managing and distributing tasks throughout the cluster including disk balancing, proactive scrubbing, and many more items. Curator runs on every node and is controlled by an elected Curator Master who is responsible for the task and job delegation. There are two scan types for Curator, a full scan which occurs around every 6 hours and a partial scan which occurs every hour.
Key Role: UI and API
Description: Prism is the management gateway for component and administrators to configure and monitor the Nutanix cluster. This includes Ncli, the HTML5 UI and REST API. Prism runs on every node in the cluster and uses an elected leader like all components in the cluster.
Key Role: Cluster component & service manager
Description: Genesis is a process which runs on each node and is responsible for any services interactions (start/stop/etc.) as well as for the initial configuration. Genesis is a process which runs independently of the cluster and does not require the cluster to be configured/running. The only requirement for genesis to be running is that Zookeeper is up and running. The cluster_init and cluster_status pages are displayed by the genesis process.
Key Role: Job and Task scheduler
Description: Chronos is responsible for taking the jobs and tasks resulting from a Curator scan and scheduling/throttling tasks among nodes. Chronos runs on every node and is controlled by an elected Chronos Master who is responsible for the task and job delegation and runs on the same node as the Curator Master.
Key Role: Replication/DR manager
Description: Cerebro is responsible for the replication and DR capabilities of DFS(Distributed Storage Fabric). This includes the scheduling of snapshots, the replication to remote sites, and the site migration/failover. Cerebro runs on every node in the Nutanix cluster and all nodes participate in replication to remote clusters/sites.
Key Role: vDisk configuration manager
Description: Pithos is responsible for vDisk (DFS file) configuration data. Pithos runs on every node and is built on top of Cassandra.
Next up, Data Structures which comprises high level structs for Nutanix Distributed Filesystem
I get asked this all the time….and here is my answer. Microsoft’s virtual hard disk format, VHDX, has some important advantages over the legacy VHD format, as this VHD vs. VHDX comparison shows.
The release of Windows Server 2012 brought many new virtualization improvements, but one that caught the eye of many IT pros was the introduction of the VHDX file format. Windows Server 2012 supports the new format but also lets Hyper-V administrators use the legacy VHD format. With two virtual hard disk formats to choose from, let’s take a minute to talk about VHD vs. VHDX.