How to Setup NutanixCE on VMware Workstation 11

Since a visit last week from Nutanix to my place of work, I must say I’ve suffered from a technological itch that I’ve needed to scratch!!

The twittersphere has recently gone mad with #NEXTConf and the buzz around this hyper-converged superpower is loud! Investigation had to be done…


At this point, I’d like to thank @dawoo for his presentation and for providing a NutanixCE Beta Key (Apply here) all of which was found through his blog post.

I also need to mention @jpiscaer and his superb post about nested NutanixCE. That helped (a novice like me) get going! A fair bit of what you are about to read has been taken from his blog but I’ve dumbed it down to my level as it took me a while to get it all working. Hopefully it will help someone else out there who is interested in the product!

With the honorable mentions out of the way, here’s what I did:

Prepare You Environment

As Joep mentions, you need to meet specific requirements for the CE. You can run a single node in a nested environment. I wanted to build a “proper” 3 node cluster but it couldn’t be done as you need an IPMI. This is what I’m building my node on:

– 250GB SSD (Samsung Evo 840)
– 32GB RAM
– Intel i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz
– VMware Workstation 11

When you deploy the VM, you are deploying a Linux KVM Hypervisor with a nested “control” VM (CVM) inside that. The recommended minimum spec for this is 4vCPU, 16GB RAM and 200GB+500GB Disks.

1) Make sure you have signed up with Nutanix for the CE beta and downloaded the software (and unzipped the .IMG).
2) Renamed the .IMG to a .VMDK
3) Downloaded Joep’s disk descriptor file, renamed that too a .vmdk and store it with step 2. (As documented in Step 1 of his blog post).

Build A Nutanix Node

1) First thing to do is create a VMware Workstation 11 VM with custom properties. I’m not going to list this off in detail, I’m just going to spam some pictures here as they’ll speak 1000 words.











2) The important part here is that for the first disk of the VM, attach an existing SATA disk. Select the image/disk descriptor file created in the above section.



3) At this stage, I powered on the VM to check that the NutanixCE boot screen appeared. Once it did, I shutdown the VM and set the following up.


4) I also noticed this prompt, I selected “Yes”.


5) When booted, follow the instructions and type install at the login.


6) Select the language and proceed on the setup screen


7) The system then checks your disks for performance. I passed all the tests because everything is virtualised on an SSD!


8) At the prompt, enter two static IP addresses from your subnet. One for your KVM host, one for your CVM. Read/accept the EULA and Start.


9) Allow the system to build out the hypervisor and CVM.


10) When complete, you should see Success! Press Enter and get to the KVM login prompt.


11) You can then SSH to the CVM that has been created (U: nutanix P: nutanix/4u). Create a cluster by running the following command.


12) Then setup Google as a name server for DNS.(This is for later when you have to validate your Nutanix account).


13) You can then navigate to your CVM via IP address provided in step 8. The first PRISM prompt is to change your admin password.


14) After this, login to PRISM using the new details. Then login with your NEXT Account credentials with which you signed up for the BETA.


15) You are then into PRISM, controlling your single KVM host and single VM.


Once you are logged in you can see the HTML5 GUI and drive the console around and create a VM if you so wish. Pretty cool stuff! It turns out I can’t create a cluster because I don’t have an IPMI address which is sought after when you try adding extra nodes!

I have now made a new post about building a nested virtual cluster which elaborates on this one!


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  2. Ahmed Moseb

    Hello Ryan,

    First your post is really awesome.

    I am facing some issues when i try to install the Nutanix Community edition.

    I am getting a message

    INFO: No GigE or 10GigE network devices found.

    Can you help me with this?

  3. Ryan Harris
    Ryan Harris

    Hi Ahmed, thank you for your kind words! I really appreciate feedback and I’m glad this post is helping you.

    Are you running Nutanix CE on Workstation just like in my post?

    Can you check the configuration of your CE VM, as per STEP 3? I build the VM without a network adapter but then I make sure I add one (and the extra virtual disks).

    • Wes Prather

      Replying to my own post, for the future readers… For shutting down the CE one-node cluster, I have to SSH to the CVM IP using nutanix credentials, then do “cluster stop” and wait for it to complete. Then I issue a “shutdown -P now” command to the CVM. After that’s done, I connect to the console (node) and issue a “shutdown -P now”, and it powers off. After subsequent power on, I need to connect to the CVM via SSH and issue a “cluster start”, then all is working across reboots without CVM corruption. Hope this helps someone… -wes

  4. Sofiane

    Thank you for this post I am nstallation Nutanix on Workstation 10 i followed all the steps but when i start the VM i got the Operation Systems not found error ,
    can you help me

    • Ryan Harris
      Ryan Harris

      Hi Sofiane,

      As long as you have the correct media attached .ISO then it should work. However, I mention “3) At this stage, I powered on the VM to check that the NutanixCE boot screen appeared. Once it did, I shutdown the VM and set the following up.”

      I think before adding the extra disk/cpu/network options, I power on the VM with just the CD/.ISO image. Try removing all disk devices and testing first. I think the VM might be confused with the boot options of your IDE/SATA devices.

      • Wes Prather

        In the VM bios screen you need to make sure the SATA device is the HDD it uses. The SCSI one was the default on my Workstation 12.1…

    • Ryan Harris
      Ryan Harris

      It is mandatory to have an SSD disk to setup Nutanix. However, it is possible to bypass the checks that it performs to ascertain SSD speeds.

      In my blog posts, I was using a home lab which was all on a 256GB SSD, therefore automatically passing the checks of the virtual disks configured on my nodes.

  5. Carlos

    Hello everyone,
    my setup went fine except once the cluster comes up I can’t see my HDD’s… SSD’s show up fine (which are actually ssd’s) but not the HDD’s, it shows 0. Tried a lot of combinations of IDE, SCSI, etc. with no luck. Last install gave all SSD’s (200+500) on each node and the combined available storage on the container is ~730GB… weird.

    • Ryan Harris
      Ryan Harris

      Hi Carlos,

      Just a thought, have you tried adding another vSCSI controller to the node and adding in the “HDD” disk there?
      Also, are you configuring for workstation? If so, are your SSD .vmdk files on physical SSD storage and your HDD .vmdk files on physical spinning drives?

      If you boot into the BIOS of the VM, can you see the disks attached?

      • Carlos

        thx Ryan, was just about to add a second controller…
        I’m using workstation 12. 200GB disks are on a SSD RAID0 and the 500 GB HDD’s on a HDD RAID0. Booting into the BIOS yes they are all there, if IDE they show IDE, if SCSI they show SCSI. Also, I can see the disks in the hosts using fdisk -l, so I know they are there, they just don’t show up as part or able to be part of a pool.

    • Carlos

      It shows 0 as available to create a storage pool. No option for adding capacity. The disks were part of node deployment and they show in the installation process (pre-install checks). I’m doing the 2 controller right now and revert back

  6. Carlos

    host installed with 2 controllers, HDD on the second one. disk -l shows the disks, the HDD is GPT.
    Has disk label type:gpt
    no disk Identifier like the other 2 (SSD and ce image) which are both disk label type: dos
    What I don’t know ATM is if the node install would format BOTH SSD and HDD or leave the HDD to be added to the pool. I’m almost done with the other nodes….

  7. Carlos

    Ok another thing during the install that I just noticed,
    it said something like :
    sda assuming drive cache
    sub assuming drive cache

  8. Carlos

    no luck. Still no HDD’s… showing as 0 although they show up everywhere else (during install, command line, BIOS…)

  9. Ryan Harris
    Ryan Harris

    I’m not entirely sure what the issue is, however, when the node builds it checks the capability of your devices. I’m wondering if the check is resulting that your physical drives are performant enough to be classed as SSD’s and therefore adding them as cache devices rather than capacity.

    Can you add in drives after the fact and reboot the node to see if it picks them up? Beyond that, I would probably ask in the Next forums on the CE section to get someone who knows better than I at this stage…

    • Carlos

      I also thought about that since it kind of implies that both devices will be used for cache BUT then, I only see capacity of the SSD’s and not from the HDD’s. I’ll add disks now and see if it picks up. Other than that, thank you, I’ll follow up in the CE forum.

  10. Carlos

    I got it to work, sort of. Removed the HDD RAID and gave disks to the KVM hosts, directly from each physical HDD, formatted in MBR, not GPT, and the capacity showed up, not with the option to create more storage pool but in the storage pool that was already there. They all show as SSD’s…. even with the HDD’s there.

  11. Teru

    I am also have the issue that no HDD is shown. Just I nested with ESXi. I also tried all the combination. The Nutanix CE can detect the HDD and recognised as non SSd but the capacity is not shown. Anybody get it resolved?

      • Teru

        I did not try but I guess that will be OK for single node cluster but still not perfect for multiple node cluster. I have posted a thread in CE forum. I think the issue is because for some reason the HDD is formatted as GPT partition which make this issue

        • Carlos

          Hey Teru,

          I also think that is the reason. But still, I see no HDD although the capacity is showing but it’s all in the SSD’s (even the real HDD’s). I’ve even added more capacity from several HDD’s to my 3 nodes. It shows up… as SSD. I wish it was true eheheh.

          • Teru

            Hi Carlos,

            For my case, I found that even I added multiple virtual harddisk (whatever The physical disks are SSD or HDD), finally only 1 X virtual disk is used by nutanix CE, other virtual disks can be seen in fdisk with correct capacity but are not used in nutanix CE, is your case the same?

            Thanks a lot for your information.

          • Carlos

            Hi Teru,

            I could see them all in fdisk, only the real SSD’s were formatted when installing, not the HDD’s. I could not even add them because they did not show in Prism. I did multiple installs, after showing as MBR and with another virtual controller (worked with SATA, SCSI and IDE) the HDD started showing but as SDD. So in PRISM I see only SSD’s although with the capacity from SSD’s AND HDD’s. And it shows immediately as part of the pool, no chance to add or create a new pool or container.
            Ryan, sorry for hijacking the thread…

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  13. Carl

    Hi there, can you run Nutanix CE nested on Hyper-V(Win10)? I can get the Nutanix VM to boot in Hyper-V (converted vmdk to vhdx) and turned on vm virtualisation extensions to enable nested virt, however it doesn’t appear to recognise the additional drives (210GB 510GB). I’ve tried these as SCSI attached and IDE but no joy. Nutanix start-up exits to emergency console and warning displayed /de/disk/by-uuid/1dd681e7-979a-4073-b841-81761cbd320d does not exist.

  14. Vitalogy

    I’m trying to do this in our vCenter environment through a normal VM. I’ve got it working and can ping the Nutanix Host IP but I can’t seem to be able to ping the Nutanix CVM IP. When the install completes successfully, it shows the IP I gave it, but there’s no network connectivity.

    I’ve tried using a single NIC or dual NICs for the VM and its not helping.

    Any ideas?

    • Ryan Harris
      Ryan Harris


      In my setup I only used one NIC and put both host and CVM IP address on the same /24 subnet (The network I defined in Workstation for this). Did you do the same or are you using different networks?


      • Vitalogy

        Ya, I’ve tried with both a single NIC and with dual NICs in the same /24 subnet. I wonder what the differences would be from Workstation to vCenter

  15. Ryan Harris
    Ryan Harris

    Workstation is a little different as it is possible to predefine the networks in the virtual network editor where you can specify the subnet and IP range that you are using on that network.

    With vCenter it will entirely depend on what you have setup on your virtual switches, hosts and physical network. I believe someone has set up a post for Nutanix on vCenter/ESXi – rather than workstation. Mike Webster has a great explanation for it here:

  16. Clement Addoh

    Hi, thank you for this post,

    I am nstallation Nutanix on Workstation 12 i followed all the steps but when i start the VM i get the boot message “Failed to insert module ‘autofs4′”.

    The boot screen progress bar (white) moves to the from beginning to end and just sits there.

    Can you help me?



    • Ryan Harris
      Ryan Harris


      I’m not entirely sure with this issue. What version of CE are you trying? Is it possible to downlaod the latest version of the image and install again?

      Failing that, I’m not much of an expert in later versions, I’d recommend looking at the Nutanix Community forums and posting in the CE edition there for assistance. Sorry I can’t help!


  17. Rodrigo

    I am trying to install CE, however we don’t have file .vmdk as all documentation from community explain via this file. Is there any another way to keep with this installation?

  18. Ravishankar

    Dear friends, i am not able to setup on VMware workstation 15 Pro. anyone can help what is the exact settings for compatibility 11, 12? or just v15?

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