Oct 06

Acropolis Base Software 4.5 released


So today, 2015-10-06, Nutanix released Acropolis Base Software, formerly known as Nutanix Operating System (NOS) version 4.5 and there are some really awesome features included in the release.

  • MPIO Access to iSCSI Disks (Windows Guest VMs)
    • This means you can run e.g. a fully supported Microsoft Exchange solution on Acropolis Base Software + vSphere. I know quite a lot of potential customers that are interested in this solution.
  • Erasure Coding (EC-X) that will further help you to further increase the usable storage capacity of your Nutanix cluster. More information about EC-X can be found in this blog post
  • Install minor ESXi patches by using the VMware provided offline bundle and md5 checksum file. Nutanix still lets you upgrade major ESXi versions using the Nutanix JSON file.
  • Windows Guest VM Failover Clustering
    • Supported on Hyper-V hosts for in-guest VM iSCSI and SCSI 3 Persistent Reservation.
  • Virtual Machine High Availability for Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV) based clusters. This will make sure failed VMs, because of an AHV failure, are restarted on available AHV hosts in the AHV cluster.
  • Network mappings meaning you can specify a destination network for your disaster recovery protected VMs.

File level restore is available as a tech preview and as always, do not use tech previews in production environments.

These are just some of the enhancements that i believe you’ll find very useful but there are many more which you can read about in the official release notes here. The software can be downloaded here

If you are running AHV the latest version can be downloaded here and the corresponding JSON file can be downloaded here.

Apart from Acropolis Base Software Nutanix also released the following new product versions:

  • Prism Central 4.5 – Release notes available here and the software can be downloaded here.
  • Nutanix Cluster Check(NCC) 2.1 – Release notes available here and the software can be downloaded here.
  • Foundation 3.0 – Release notes available here and the software can be downloaded here.

Oct 05

Nutanix @ VMworld in Barcelona 2015


It just about a week until this years VMworld event 12-15 October at Fira Gran Via in Barcelona starts. Nutanix will be at the event as a Gold sponsor and can be found at both #G316. In the both you can:

  • Discuss how Nutanix can help you run your workload with the right performance, availability, scalability and cost in mind.
  • See demos of e.g. Prism, Metro & Data Protection, Cloud Connect
  • Learn why our existing customer base have switch to Nutanix for their workloads.
  • Participate in the daily Wally scooter raffle.
  • Talk about what made Nutanix number 1 in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated systems.

If you are interested in Nutanix 1:1 technical briefing you can use this link to sign up.

Apart from visiting the Nutanix both i recommend you to visit session SDDC6895: Nutanix Panel: Evolution from 3-tier to Hyperconverged Infrastructure at Tuesday, 13 Oct, 3:30PM – 4:30PM unless it is already included in your schedule.

I’ll visit the conference and i’m happy to meet up and discuss anything Nutanix, reach out to me via email or twitter if you’re interested. Apart from being at the Nutanix both i’ll participate in the general sessions, breakout sessions, labs and more since there is a lot to learn and a lot of great people to networking with during the event.

C U @VMworld

Oct 02

Apply for Nutanix Technology Champion (NTC) 2016


Last year Nutanix accounted the Nutanix Technical Champion (NTC) program which i blogged about here. Today i received a message that the applications for 2016 are open so if you’re a Nutanix expert that constantly contribute to the community you should apply via this link for NTC before October 26 2015.

The following are some of the criteria used by the panel members when they select the NTCs:

  • Technical expertise in e.g. Nutanix, web-scale, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, Dell
  • Nutanix and web-scale community contributions in social media including e.g. blogs, books, webinars, Next Community
  • Nutanix and web-scale education and support in the field
  • User group and community event leadership
  • Certifications

Of course there are benefits to be a NTC and some of them are:

  • Early access briefings about Nutanix products and announcements
  • Access to private beta programs and discussion forums on .Next Community
  • Insight into ongoing product development
  • Nutanix engineering teams meetings
  • Support and or mentorship for Nutanix certifications including e.g.:
    • Nutanix Platform Professional (NPP)
    • Nutanix Platform Expert (NPX)

The NTCs will be announced November 16 2015.

Read the official Nutanix blog post about NTC applications for 2016 here.

Sep 30

Heads Up! – ESXi 5.5 Update 3 can crash VMs after snapshot delete

Updated 2015-10-06

VMware released a patch today that will fix this problem, KB available here


Updated 2015-10-01

Today VMware leased a KB 2133118  for the below described issue. No resolution included but a workaround.


Original post


Today i came across this VMware Communities thread that explains different scenarios where vSphere ESXi 5.5 Update 3 can crash virtual machines (VMs) when deleting a snapshot. I have not seen this myself so i trust the communities thread in this case and i thought it was worth a quick blog post.

The initial example states that the VMs were not placed in the datastore root folder, they were using subfolders but further down in the thread it seems that VMs located in the datastore root folder also crashes.

The thread also states that VMware support has acknowledge this as a bug and hopefully a fix and a KB will be released soon.

I’ll update this blog post when i have more information.

The following information has been seen in the ESXi host log files:

  • vcpu-0| I120: SNAPSHOT: SnapshotDiskTreeFind: Detected node change from ‘scsi0:0’ to ”.
  • vcpu-0| W110: Caught signal 11 — tid 35868 (addr 98)
  • Unexpected signal: 11. And [msg.panic.haveLog]
  • Caught signal 11 — tid 296089 (addr 6B13458)

Sep 25

Assign a Horizon View Desktop when using Cloud Pod Architecture

So the past weeks i have been involved in design and implementation of VMware Horizon Cloud Pod Architecture (CPA) for a customer. I will put toghter a blog post about the solution and the steps taken to implement CPA another time. This very short blog post will only cover one specific scenario we had to solve during the implementation.

All the Horizon View Desktop Pools are setup using dedicated assignments meaning a user will be entitled to a CPA Global entitlement via an active directory group that is mapped to a local Horizon View POD Desktop pool. When the user logs in he/she will be assigned a Desktop and next time the uses log in he/she will get the same Desktop.

This works for 99% of the users but a small number of the users have to be assigned to a Desktop before they logon time first time. Think important users that needs not only a pre-prepared Desktop in terms of software but some additional configuration and preparation compared to others.

Assign a specific Desktop to a user when running just Horizon View can be done via the admin UI or via CLI.

  • Admin UI.
    • Right click the Desktop and select assign -> Find your userid -> Click ok.
      • Since we moved away from Local entitlements and only using Global entitlements with CPA you will end up with the following confirmation question when performing the above steps:assign02
        The message is completely correct but not something we want to do.
        If we look at the Horizon Desktop pool where the Desktop below we can see the following
  • CLI
    • Use the following syntax to assign a Desktop to a user
      • vdmadmin -L -d “Dekstop Pool ID” -m “Desktop-name” -u domain\userid

I tried the Admin UI operation first and since that didn’t work i assumed, yeah i know assumptions are the worst, that the CLI didn’t work either. However, i created this VMware communities thread and thanks to dsiview i tried the CLI option and it all worked perfect.

So main take a way from this. When using CPA we configure Global entitlements but the per Horizon View Pod configuration tool vdmadmin can still be used for some actions e.g. assign a user to a Desktop.

Sep 22

Meet NPX 007 – Michael Webster


  • Name: Michael Webster
  • NPX Number: 007
  • Employer: Nutanix
  • Blog URL: http://longwhiteclouds.com
  • Twitter: @vcdxnz001 and @WebScale007
  • Virtualisation background: 15 years of virtualizing business critical applications and Unix to x86 migrations. VMware since workstation beta. Specialty in Monster VM’s. Mainly in large enterprise environments.
  • Storage Background: I’ve designed and implemented storage solutions from most of the main vendors including IBM, SUN/Oracle, EMC,  HP, Dell, HDS, NetApp, covering FC, FCoIP, FCoE, iSCSI and NFS protocols.
  • Hyper Converged Infrastructure background: I lead the Business Critical Apps team as part of Nutanix Engineering / R&D, prior to this I was a Senior Solutions and Performance Engineer, I started researching and working with Nutanix about 2 years ago in June/July 2013
  • Future of HCI and other emerging technologies: Done right Hyperconverged Infrastructure should drastically simplify the datacenter and allow for unlimited scale and ease of management. It should enable the customers to go home early, spend more time with their family and have their weekends back. This is because it’s build to self heal, be upgraded during the day non-disruptively, and be incredibly simple to manage, to the point the infrastructure becomes invisible. It should put the control and the leverage back into the hands of a customer. The customer should be able to easily choose between on premises or public cloud and be able to change easily. VM’s in a hyper converged context are as easy and as quick to spin up and schedule as containers, with very low overhead. But containers and their management frameworks needs to be managed as first class citizens as well. Again, giving the power back to the customer, their developers, and their teams to manage the environment as they see fit. Programatic control of the infrastructure allows developers to be much more productive and give far more consistent results when rolling releases through the development lifecycle to production. Ultimately the infrastructure should be invisible and self managing allowing the customers to focus on their applications and higher value added activities. There is definitely still a place for Monster VM’s in the context of HCI, but we need platforms that can support some level of scale up, in addition to the ability to support unlimited scale out. But you should not have to sacrifice the predictability, consistency of performance and the quality of services that are inherent in the platform just to cater to a small number of high performance VM’s, all of the necessary QoS should be automatic. This is where localization of data and choice of high end nodes in the distributed cluster comes into play. But we should not just think of data localization in terms of nodes in a cluster but also points of presence in a public cloud as well. For cloud to be embraced to the fullest extent either network bandwidth needs to become unlimited and cheap, or the cloud nodes need to move closer to the cloud consumers. This is only possible with a highly modularized and miniaturized platform that can scale and be very simple to manage, even across hundreds or thousands of sites. These are just some of the things that will shape consumption of IT and consumerisation of IT over the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Value of NPX: The value in the NPX comes from having to put together and defend a design to meet a customers business requirements and form an end to end solution on multiple hypervisors, with an eye on the future of technology so that the underlying design does not have to be drastically modified. This is then packaged up into a fully enterprise class project delivery package that is then defended in front of a panel of examiners. Some of the key aspects are also the low risk and efficient migration from the source systems and having to have a deep knowledge of existing three tier architecture in addition to what changes are necessary in a hyper converged world. Operational readiness and managing the organizational change is important given that many customers are coming off physical platforms, let alone changing their underlying infrastructure operations model. Nutanix makes the infrastructure and platform simple, but the enterprise organizations are still complex and so are the applications and systems that need to be deployed upon the platform. NPX addresses all of these requirements. It addresses them for multiple hypervisors, clouds and emerging technologies. It is completely unique in the context of enterprise architecture certifications as a result of this. We expect every candidate to know the full breadth and depth of their design in detail and all of the supporting technologies, and the implications of their decisions and the alternatives. The bar has been set very high due to the need to have multi-skilled multi-disciplined architects that can sit across complex business solutions and simplify them to the fullest extent possible to address customers pain points. Complex is competent, simple is genius. NPX should be able to take complex situations and solutions and make them as simple as possible.
  • What made you go for NPX: I was part of the original team that helped create the certification. We saw a gap that wasn’t being filled for enterprise architecture expertise and the ability to change from legacy architecture to more modern architecture in a low risk way, while supporting multiple hypervisors. Having been through other expert level certifications we knew some of the areas we wanted to address in this new certification. Knowing one hypervisor or cloud is not sufficient if you have to migrate from one to the other. I saw the opportunity to learn a lot in a short period of time and learn some completely new technologies that I hadn’t covered before. I was very used to migrating from physical to virtual, even from Unix to x86, but from one hypervisor to another creates new challenges as the entire ecosystem and management frameworks need to be considered. Sometimes the business risk of moving just isn’t justified. Having to weigh up all the different aspects and learn to the same detailed level all of the different options and then defend it, was an exciting process. It was very tough, but was also very rewarding. I have learned a lot in the process and I’ve become a better architect as a result. I would say it’s a similar learning curve to other expert level certifications, as we expect the knowledge of the alternative hypervisor to be equivalent to that level. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of the initial bootstrap group for the certification and be an examiner for other candidates when we hope to produce many of the worlds best architects in the future to help this whole industry grow. Having NPX will allow me to work on even more very interesting projects at customers all over the world.
  • Advise to people looking into the NPX track: My advice would be to get started with Nutanix Community Edition, download the NPX application, read all of the requirements thoroughly. Work on a design with a real customer or convert a real customer design. Wholly fictitious designs will not be accepted. If you have mainly experience with VMware then VCDX is a good starting point on the way to NPX. With Microsoft the Private Cloud Certification is a good start. RHCE or RHCA for RedHat and CTP and other certifications for the other vendors. While these are not prerequisites for NPX, they are a great start to build upon to get the foundational knowledge that is required. If you are interested in achieving NPX get in touch with Nutanix and if you have a design ready to go and you are able to go in front of the examiners in the short term they can pair you up with a mentor and will organize preparation workshops. The longest journey starts with a single step, just get started.
  • Other: NPX 007 – Licensed to Simplify, favorite drink, Vodka Martini, Shaken Not Stirred.

Sep 18

Heads Up! 3D graphics enabled on ESXi 6.0 U1 can cause PSOD


So this issues was brought to me by my former colleague Toni Lindberg meaning i have not seen this myself. However, i thought it was kind of critical so i wanted to share it with you.

So Toni’s customer runs vSphere 6.0 U1 (upgraded from ESXi 6.0 GA with latest patches), Horizon View 6.1.1 and the environment is pretty graphic intensive using NVIDIA K2 cards. They utilize both the built in 3D feature and vGPU.

After upgrading to ESXi 6.0 U1 they saw problems with ESXi purple screen of death which have never occurred for this environment in the past.

The following errors were found in the ESXi host vmkernel and vmkwarning log files:

  • ESC[7m2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu19:111396)WARNING: Heartbeat: 781: PCPU 13 didn’t have a heartbeat for 21 seconds; *may* be locked up.ESC[0m
  • ESC[31;1m2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu13:219369)ALERT: NMI: 681: NMI IPI recvd. We Halt. eip(base):ebp:cs [0x343a63(0x418034e00000):0x43940749b890:0x4010](Src0x1, CPU13)ESC[0m
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu19:111396)World: 9729: PRDA 0x418044c00000 ss 0x4018 ds 0x4018 es 0x4018 fs 0x0 gs 0x0
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu19:111396)World: 9731: TR 0x4000 GDT 0xfffffffffc60a000 (0xffff) IDT 0xfffffffffc608000 (0xffff)
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu19:111396)World: 9732: CR0 0x80050031 CR3 0x6de47f4000 CR4 0x42668
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu13:219369)0x43940749b790:[0x418035143a63]Printf_WithFunc@vmkernel#nover+0x6b7 stack: 0x3f00000002
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu13:219369)0x43940749b890:[0x418035144093]vsnprintf@vmkernel#nover+0x33 stack: 0x1
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu13:219369)0x43940749b8b0:[0x418034e9b922]vmk_StringFormat@vmkernel#nover+0x72 stack: 0x43940749b920
  • 2015-0X-YYT06:16:18.341Z cpu13:219369)0x43940749b920:[0x418034e8f3b6]Util_FormatTimestampUTC@vmkernel#nover+0x9a stack: 0x417f00000010
  • 2015-0X-YYT07:31:13.652Z cpu32:146698)WARNING: VmMemPf: vm 146115: 654: COW copy failed: pgNum=0x290f42, mpn=0x3fffffffff
  • 2015-0X-YYT07:31:13.652Z cpu32:146698)WARNING: VmMemPf: vm 146115: 654: COW copy failed: pgNum=0x290f42, mpn=0x3fffffffff

A non maskable interrupt is sent because a pcpu has locked up. In both cases the PCPU is handling the vmx-svga module at the time of the failure, this relates to graphics.

A VMware SR was opened and the support responded that they are aware of the problem and will release a fix for it in second half of Q4. The PSOD is related to the internally known issue and is caused by heavy usage of vmx mapped memory (3D) and relates to a problem with the retry logic.

The NVIDAI card was not the problem root cause, it’s using the ESXi 3D feature that causes the problem.


Sep 18

Zerto – a new VCDX56 sponsor

I’m happy to announce that Zerto has decided to become a VCDX56 blog sponsor.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 14.58.50

Short Zerto presentation:
Zerto is committed to keeping enterprise and cloud IT running 24/7 by providing innovative, simple, reliable and scalable business continuity software solutions. Through the Zerto Cloud Continuity Platform, organizations can seamlessly move and protect virtualized workloads between public, private and hybrid clouds. The company’s flagship product, Zerto Virtual Replication, has become the standard for protection, recovery and migration of applications in cloud and virtualized data centers, and won numerous awards, including Best of Show at VMworld 2011, Best of VMworld Europe 2014, as well as 2011, 2012 and 2013 Product of the Year Awards for its innovative hypervisor-based replication approach. For more information, go to www.zerto.com or download a free trial here.

Sep 17

Nutanix Operating System 4.1.5 released

It has not even been two months since Nutanix Operating System (NOS) 4.1.4 was released and yesterday, 2015-09-16, Nutanix released a new NOS version, 4.1.5. This is a dot dot release but includes enhancements/news/updates in the following areas:

  • Nutanix Cluster Check (ncc)
  • Prism Central
    • Version 4.1.5 released and release notes can be found here.
  • Acropolis and non-Acropolis VMs
  • SyncRep for Hyper-V Clusters Update/VSS Support
    • This is something i have seen a few requests for so it’s a nice thing.
  • Data Protection Enhancement

Tech previews available in this release includes:

  • Windows Guest VM Failover Cluster
  • Erasure Coding
  • Acropolis High Availability
  • Acropolis Volume Management

Important: Do not use these features on production systems or storage used or data stored in production systems.

The release notes can be found here.

Sep 17

vSphere 5.5 Update 3 released

Yesterday, 2015-09-16, VMware released vSphere 5.5. Update 3 which includes new versions for:

  • vCenter Server
  • ESXi

I have identified at least two problems i have seen that are now resolved in vCenter Server

  • Defined permissions behave differently in vSphere Client and Web Client
    • Moving VMs between the folders is disabled in the Web Client when permission are defined only at the folder level and displays an error similar to the following:
  • vpxd service is unstable and it fails with an error
    • The VirtualCenter Server service (vpxd) causes service instability and fails if it encounters an unknown type of controller in a virtual machine.

Updates for ESXi includes e.g.:

  • Support for PVSCSI adapterwith MSCS, core clustering and applications including SQL and Exchange.
  • Supported Kerberos communication encryption between ESXi and Active Directory is AES256-CTS/AES128-CTS/RC4-HMAC.

Issues are resolved in the following areas for ESXi:

  • API
  • Backup
  • CIM
  • Configuration
  • Installation
  • Network
  • Security
  • Storage
  • Upgrade
  • VM
  • Client issues
  • HA
  • vMotion and Storage vMotion
  • VMware Tools

The vCenter Server release notes can be found here and the ESXi release notes can be found here.

Two additional software updates were released yesterday:

  • VMware vCenter Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3. Release notes can be found here.
  • vSphere Replication 5.8.1. Release notes can be found here.

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