Category: Nutanix

NutanixCE: Live Presentation of a Nested Lab!

I haven’t been blogging for long and I’m not great with “web stuff” in general. The main reason I started was to share my experiences, meet new people and learn new things. I’ve heard that it can be a difficult thing to do: keeping up with content, taking the time to write it, getting views and generally keeping yourself out there and motivated. I understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that these things take time…

The amount of support I’ve already received from many communities has been astounding. It seems that since I started this journey things have progressed very quickly and it has been amazing to experience; notably, being selected to be one of the official VMworld USA Bloggers!

When I thought things couldn’t get any better, I was contacted by a guy by the name of Angelo Luciani (@AngeloLuciani) via the Nutanix Next forum, informing me that he had seen my earlier blog posts and wondered if I’d like to participate in an online hangout where we would demonstrate how to set up the lab, live! Now, I’ve not really done much public speaking before and I’m fairly new to the whole “put yourself out there” mentality so I was both very interested and apprehensive at the same time! Angelo was friendly and very understanding, as well as being an top bloke. I’d like to thank him (again) for giving me the opportunity and for sharing the experience with me!

For D-Day, we got in touch early and ran through some tests, using Google Hangouts to broadcast – which is actually a really good tool. After a little time getting cameras/mics/screen sharing to work we were ready and scheduled in for Wednesday 19th August at 21:00 GMT to do the broadcast. Angelo focussed on running the hangout and media and I had my lab up and tested (several times to avoid embarrassment).

The whole thing went by very quickly. I was nervous at first but then as the lab started and I got into it a bit more and settled down. Thankfully I had no issues with the lab, which is testament to the software and also my own pre-broadcast checks. The video is available on YouTube via the magic of Hangouts, which can be viewed here:

As I say in the broadcast, I’m a lover of technology.

I’m not the best at everything neither do I ever pretend to know it all – every day is a school day! Nutanix interested me because it is a great SDDC technology and I wanted to try it in a home lab as I didn’t have the opportunity anywhere else. I am also a big fan of VMware VSAN and have used it in several production environments and believe that both have their merits. I urge any IT Infrastructure advocate to get involved with a range of technology as it helps you understand more and enables you to form your own opinions and broaden your knowledge, making you a better technologist overall!

Starting a blog or presenting to a user forum of technical peers might seem a daunting task but it is actually good fun. If you enjoy your subject matter then this hopefully shows to your audience and everyone benefits from it. I’d recommend to anyone thinking of doing it to take the plunge, I’d always be happy to answer any questions from people who are thinking of getting involved in any shape or form!

NutanixCE: Cluster Creation Error – Could not discover all nodes

This is just a quick post to detail something that I have come across today. I decided to rebuild my NutanixCE virtual cluster as there was a new version released on 16/07/2015 and my old cluster was failing to connect via Pulse. (A known bug apparently).

When I tried to create a cluster, as per my previous guide, I saw the error:

“Could not discover all nodes specified. Please make sure that the SVMs from which you wish to create the cluster are not already part of another cluster”

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I found this a little odd, as these were brand new nodes on a fresh install. All I’d done is follow my previous guide! So I checked each node and tried to see if I could create a single node cluster on each manually using the command:

This failed on two of my three CVM nodes with the following error:

“WARNING: genesis_utils.py:512 Failed to reach a node where Genesis is up. Retrying….”
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After some googling, I found that someone had suggested to restart genesis service and check the logs to find out what was happening.

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So it seems that the CVM is trying to contact the host KVM and being unsuccessful. Sure enough, if I tried to ssh to my KVM host from the CVM box, it was also failing with the error:

FIPS mode initialized
Read from socket failed: Connection reset by peer

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After some futher searching I found that someone on the forum that had fixed the issue by regenerating the SSH keys on the KVM host – they didn’t explain how to do this and I’m a bit of a novice with Linux/KVM but the process is easy on an ESXi host. After a quick dig I found “sshd-keygen” in the /bin folder which I ran.

I then tried to SSH from my CVM to KVM again, and this time it prompted me for a password! Success!

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I repeated this process (sshd-keygen and then SSH from CVM) on my other broken node. I then retried my cluster creation and it also worked!
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I thought it would be interesting to document as I came across the issue and a combination of forum posts and a little digging from myself paid off. I hope this helps anyone with this issue!

How to create a nested virtual NutanixCE cluster

In my last post, I configured a Nutanix CE cluster node running on a single nested VM on Workstation. My intention was to create a 3 node cluster but unfortunately I was unable to because I built the single node cluster and then extra nodes separately.

NUTANIXCLUSTERIt appears that CE behaves the same way as the full version in that if you are adding extra nodes to a cluster (expansion), the default behavior is to automatically check for an Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) that is usually built into the main board of your Nutanix Supermicro hardware. Given that my nodes were all virtual, it was a little hard to work around this issue! (I did search long and hard!).

I spoke to @Joep and took his advice on posting on the excellent Nutanix Forum. AdamF helped me out and suggested that I tear down the cluster and start again, but this time – build the cluster at the start with all nodes present. So, here is how I did it in my environment:

NutanixCE Cluster node – build and configuration

1) Quite simple, follow my previous post up to step 10. Ensure that your VM has been built, configured with networking and running KVM and CVM. Then repeat and build three other nodes.

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2) Once they are powered up, check that everything is running by using the following command on each node:

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3) At this stage, I performed a little maintenance and reduced the overhead that the CVM would have on my limited resources, I shutdown the CVM’s on each KVM host by doing the following:


4) Once the VM was shutdown I modified the settings of the VM to only use 6GB RAM instead of 12GB:

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Using VI editor, amend the memory sections to reflect the new allocation:
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5) Ensure that the configuration is saved (:w!) and then you can start the VM, repeat these steps for all three CVM virtual machines:

6) Now it is time to create the cluster, login to one of the CVM machines via SSH and enter in the following:

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7) Now the cluster is built and running enter in the ncli prompt to setup a few things:

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8)  As the cluster is started and configured, I then logged in to the master node (Zeus Leader) via the Web Gui. (Step 13 onwards in my previous blog post).

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Safely shutdown and start up cluster nodes

I found out that it is not wise to just shutdown your KVM nodes through VMware Workstation, it can have pretty disastrous consequences! Therefore I’m just going to quickly run through shutting down the cluster when you are finished.

1) Using Prism, make sure you have any non-system VM’s shutdown across the cluster.

2) Login to any CVM node that is part of the cluster (I logged into the master, I do not believe it matters). Stop the cluster:

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3) At this stage, it is safe to log in to each CVM node and run a shutdown command.

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4) When all of the CVMs are shut down, it is safe to shut down the guest O/S through Workstation (Shutdown the KVM hosts).

5) Starting the cluster is easier. Power on each KVM virtual host and wait a few minutes for the CVM and services to start. Once services are up, start the cluster!

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That is it really, I hope to post further articles about running some nested VMs within the nested environment and more about the Nutanix platform and how to use it! Hopefully that will come in time as I gain more exposure to it.

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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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6) Select the language and proceed on the setup screen

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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!