— by Kathryn Averyheart, Jim Dacey and Dan Shoultz

The CDW data center team has become accustomed to seeing advance after advance in technology from the Nutanix team. It’s great to watch them, year after year, changing the technology conversation at so many of our customers, and generally making running and growing business easier and more reliable.

Based on the notes we’ve seen, the Nutanix engineering team is still listening – and developing – based on customer need. This is Nutanix’s third major release in under a year.

The Acropolis 5.0 release blog includes features and updates, a summary of bundled features, the compatibility matrix, supported browsers for Prism, Install & Upgrade notes, resolved issues, controller memory configurations, supported versions for encryption, supportability matrix by hypervisor, and release notes for NX – Series Hardware.

Some of the most impactful updates we’re seeing so far in 5.0 are the self-service portal and upgrades for the Prism platform and Advanced File and Block services.

But there are a lot of good things in the new release and we suggest you check it out and contact your account manager and data center architect to talk though what these changes mean for you.

Enhancements to AHV (Acropolis Hypervisor)

Nutanix continues to develop its included hypervisor – AHV. While Nutanix gives you your choice of hypervisor (ESX, Hyper-V, AHV, Xenserver (tech preview), AHV is included and ships with every node. It is not just another hypervisor, but is tightly integrated into the Nutanix DNA. Customers are catching on as it accounted for 17 percent of all Nutanix nodes shipped last quarter.

  • VM anti affinity: Used often to keep active/passive or clustered servers off the same physical node in case of a node failure. Example: databases and primary/secondary domain controllers
  • VM host affinity: Designed to keep servers together on the same node that would benefit from locality for a licensing or certain performance scenarios.
  • Dynamic Rebalance: This allows monitoring of the cluster for hotspots in node activity and creates a migration plan and moves VMs to balance the workload out as needed.

AFS and ABS – File and Block Services

AFS (File services) was released earlier in 2016 as a tech preview feature. With 5.0, it is now General Availability. This means native clustered file services can easily be spun up in typical easy-to-use Nutanix fashion! With the GA release ESX, replication, snapshots and ABE are now supported alongside your virtual environment or as a standalone file services cluster.

ABS (Block services) expands the capabilities to block services. While already GA, the use cases and features get expanded. ABS is now available for more operating systems (RHEL, Oracle Linux, CentOS, Windows), enhanced CHAP and dynamic load balancing.

Prism Enhancements

ESX management is now built into Prism. No more going to vCenter for basic management tasks! Prism’s just-in-time forecasting includes advanced runway forecasting. Prism now includes capabilities for “what-if” analytics.

  • Just-in-time forecasting (Prism Pro): Model data center needs before an application is even deployed. Model the prospective application workloads on top of the workloads running on the Nutanix cluster to see how they affect your current resource allocation.
  • Network visualization: View of the Nutanix networking topology from TOR to VM NIC. Quickly troubleshoot common networking issues.
  • Search: The search functions inside Prism go beyond just displaying accurate results. Search allows you to act against a set of virtual machines or quickly filter out VMs that meet certain conditions (IE IOPS>400).

Self-Service Portal

Available on AHV exclusively, this is a game-changing feature that allows IT to further provide a public-cloud-like experience on Nutanix running in the customer’s data center. This portal allows users to provision and manage virtual machines based on a menu of pre-designed workload options built by the customer’s infrastructure team. It allows administrators to set up roles and permissions, reducing IT’s workload and allowing for the cost of virtual machines and administration to be associated to the appropriate business unit.

Both a technology and business improvement, self-service is the key to IT operating as part of the business and being able to show profit, as opposed to simply being a cost center. Metrics included in reporting include: usage statistics per project, virtual machine and project member. Dashboards make analysis quick and easy.

There are a lot of features in Nutanix’ new release and we look forward to chronicling them as the release moves to GA. Please contact your account manager and solution architect team for a comprehensive conversation about Nutanix and the new release.

Learn more about the CDW-Nutanix partnership.

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