Chapter 3. System configuration, reference architecture, and systems management for Nutanix on IBM Power Systems – Implementing and Managing a High-performance Enterprise Infrastructure with Nutanix on IBM Power Systems

System configuration, reference architecture, and systems management for Nutanix on IBM Power Systems
This chapter describes the general requirements for Nutanix running on IBM Power Systems servers. It includes Nutanix features and how these features can help to address the deployment of virtual machines.
This chapter includes the following topics:
3.1 Starting Nutanix on IBM Power Systems
IT teams recognize the need and benefits of embracing the next generation of data center infrastructure technology. IBM with Nutanix is designed to give enterprise customers a scalable, resilient, high-performance hyperconverged infrastructure solution. This solution benefits from the data and compute capabilities of the IBM POWER architecture and the one-click simplicity of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.
3.1.1 Available configurations
This solution is offered in two models, as listed in Table 3-1.
Table 3-1 IBM CS-series models
Model
CS821 (1U)
CS822 (2U)
Server Compute
Two 10- core 2.09 GHz POWER81
Two 11-core 2.89 GHz POWER8a
Threads
Up to 160 threads
Up to 176 threads
Memory
Up to 256 GB
Up to 512 GB memory
Disk
Up to 7.68 TB flash
Up to 46.08 TB flash
Hypervisor
Nutanix AHV hypervisor
Supported operating system
Linux and AIX

1 These models are still available for ordering. IBM intends to support this solution on IBM POWER9 processors.
For more information about hardware specifications, see 1.3, “Nutanix on IBM Power Systems” on page 4, and Table 1-1 on page 5.
For information about the products, see the following announcement letters:
3.2 Build blocks: Nutanix on IBM Power Systems
In this environment, each node is called a block.
In this section, we describe the recommendations for production and non-production environments.
Figure 3-1 shows a reference for productive and non-productive environments.
Figure 3-1 Nodes for CS821 and CS822
The following initial deployment characteristics are recommended for CS821 or CS822 nodes or blocks:
Use 3 nodes minimum for non-production environments (Dev/QA workloads)
Use 4 nodes minimum for production environments (critical workloads)
To scale the environment, you must add nodes and grow linearly. The following features help to scale the environment:
No SAN bottlenecks
Pay-as-you grow (storage + compute)
Simplified management
Figure 3-2 shows workload examples of how to scale the environment.
Figure 3-2 Linear growth
Another configuration possibility for the environment is shown in Figure 3-3 in which you can see a multi-cloud solution with numerous scenarios and platforms.
Figure 3-3 Workload by platform
3.3 Nutanix web console: Prism Central
Nutanix provides an option to monitor and manage multiple clusters through a single web console. This multi-cluster view web console, which is known as Prism Central, is a centralized management tool that runs as a separate instance and consists of a single VM or a set of VMs.
From the web console, the Nutanix administrators can access the clusters and nodes by using a web browser to visualize and manage the content of their projects. The web console runs as an application on the CVM.
Figure 3-4 shows the Prism Central login window.
Figure 3-4 Prism Central login window
The home option in the Prism dashboard is the main menu where most of the tasks start including, for example, the creation of a VM. The Prism Central home dashboard is shown in Figure 3-5.
Figure 3-5 Prism Central home dashboard
The test lab environment is a cluster with three CS822 nodes. You can check the cluster and node configurations in Prism Central by clicking Prism Central → Main Menu → Hardware → Diagram.
Figure 3-6 shows the diagram of cluster with the three nodes or blocks.
Figure 3-6 Cluster diagram
For more information about the hardware diagram view, see this web page.
Prism Central main menu
The main menu, which is shown at the top of every window, provides access to the features of Prism Central. Figure 3-7 shows the menu bar and the main options in Prism.
Figure 3-7 Menu bar
The following numbers correspond the features that are high-lighted in Figure 3-7:
1. Cluster Name
2. Main Menu
3. Health Indicator
4. Alerts
5. Tasks
6. Search field
7. Help Menu
8. Settings
9. User options
 
Note: It is not the purpose of this book to provide a detailed summary of Prism Central’s features. Several links are provided throughout this section to help you find information about performing management and maintenance of the environment.
Table 3-2 list the available options in the main menu.
Table 3-2 Main bar options
 
Item
Description
1
Cluster name
Use to see the cluster name and change some data, such as cluster name and Cluster Virtual IP Address.
For more information, see this web page.
2
Main menu options
The primary menu option is Home. The following menu category names also are available:
Health
VM
Storage
Network
Hardware
Data Protection
Analysis
Alerts
Tasks
Settings
Self Service
For more information, see this web page.
3
Health indicator
This view helps you check and monitor event activity across the registered clusters.
For more information, see this web page.
4
Alerts
The Alerts dashboard summary view displays a list of alert messages across the registered clusters.
For more information, see this web page.
5
Tasks
The icon shows current tasks (running or completed within the last 48 hours). The icon appears blue when a task runs normal, yellow when a warning is generated, or red when the task fails.
For more information, see this web page.
6
Search field
You can search for information about entities or actions by entering a string in this field.
7
Help menu
The web console includes online help documentation that you can access at any time.
For more information, see this web page.
8
Settings
This option helps you configure several system services.
For more information, see this web page.
9
User options
This option helps you change passwords, update profiles, and sign out.
For more information, see this web page.
For information about these options, see the Web Console overview at the Nutanix Portal link.
3.4 Verifying and preparing the environment for deployment
This section explains a few verification checks to follow before deploying new virtual machines (VMs).
3.4.1 Cluster details
Each node features a CVM and Prism installed, including its own IP address. You can also create a cluster virtual IP address to access an available management console, even if one of the cluster nodes fails.
You can add a cluster name or virtual facing IP address by clicking Login in Console → Prism Central → Cluster name.
Figure 3-8 shows where to add or change a cluster name or virtual facing IP address.
Figure 3-8 Cluster details
3.4.2 Image configuration
The goal is to deploy VMs. To complete this deployment, you need operating system images.
You can import and configure operating system ISO or disk image files by using the web console. Click Login in Console → Prism Central → Main Menu → Settings → Image Configuration → Upload Image.
Figure 3-9 shows the image configuration settings window .
Figure 3-9 Image configuration window
To create an image, you must enter a name and choose the type of image (ISO or disk), storage container, and image source (this source can be a URL or downloaded file).
Figure 3-10 shows the window that is used to create an image.
Figure 3-10 Create Image window
Figure 3-11 shows the window that is used for the images update.
Figure 3-11 Update Image window
For more information about image configuration options, seen 6.1, “Deploying AIX by using a cloud-ready image by way of Prism” on page 68.
For more information, see the Nutanix Portal.
3.4.3 Network configuration
The second item you need is a network. After creating an image that you use in later steps, you must create and configure your network.
For clusters with Nutanix virtualization running AHV, you can configure network connections by using the web console. Each VM network interface is bound to a virtual network, and each virtual network is bound to a single VLAN.
To create the network, click Login in Console → Prism Central → Main Menu → Settings → Network Configuration → +Create Network.
Figure 3-12 shows the window where you find the network settings.
Figure 3-12 Network configuration
Figure 3-12 shows the following fields and the details that must be provided:
Name: Enter a name of the network.
VLAN ID: Enter a number for the VLAN.
Enable IP Address Management: Select this option.
Network IP Address/Prefix Length: Enter the IP address of the gateway for the network and prefix with the network prefix (for example, 10.8.0.0/24).
Gateway IP Address: Enter the VLAN default gateway IP address.
 
Note: If you do not enable the IP address management option when a network is created, you cannot enable it.
Figure 3-13 shows the basic settings to create a VLAN.
Figure 3-13 Create network (VLAN) window
Figure 3-13 shows the following fields and the details that must be provided:
Configure Domain Settings: Select this option.
Domain Name Servers: Enter a DNS Server.
Domain Search: Enter a domain.
Domain Name: Enter the VLAN domain name.
Figure 3-14 shows the basic information to configure the domain settings.
Figure 3-14 Configure Domain Settings window
 
Note: If you need it, you can also create a range of addresses for automatic assignment of virtual NICs. This option called Create Pool.
Figure 3-15 shows the following fields options to consider and configure as needed:
Override DHCP Server: Select this option if you have a DHCP server.
DHCP Server IP Address: Enter an IP address in the DHCP server IP address. Click Save.
Figure 3-15 Override DHCP server window
Now you are ready to deploy a virtual machine by using the downloaded operating system images.
For more information about network configuration for VM interfaces, see the Nutanix Portal documentation that is available at this web page.
3.5 Deploying a virtual machine
This section describes the steps to create a VM. If you did not yet create an image or network, see “Image configuration” on page 19, “Network configuration” on page 22, and 3.4, “Verifying and preparing the environment for deployment” on page 18.
Figure 3-16 shows the VM main menu dashboard.
Figure 3-16 Create VM - Dashboard
The dashboard (see Figure 3-16) includes information about existing VMs that. For more information about the VM dashboard, see this web page.
To create a VM, click Login in Console → Prism Central → Main Menu → VM → +Create VM.
Figure 3-17 shows the Table window.
Figure 3-17 Create VM: Table window
Figure 3-17 shows the information in a table format that is available about the existing VMs. For more information about each field or function, see this web page.
The following fields are available in this window:
Name: Enter a name of the VM.
Description: Enter a description that helps to identify the VN; for example: Application Type, Server Role, or Operating System.
vCPU: Number of virtual CPUs to allocate to this VM.
Number of Cores per vCPU: Number of cores that is assigned to each vCPU.
 
Note: Do not click Save until you completed all of the steps.
Figure 3-18 shows the general fields that are required to create a VM.
Figure 3-18 Create VM window: General Configuration fields
Figure 3-19 shows the second part in the process to create a VM. In this window, you set up the amount of allocated memory (in MBs) to this VM.
Figure 3-19 Create VM window: Set memory, Add New Disk
Then, click + Add New Disk.
The following important fields are shown in Figure 3-20 on page 31:
Type: CD-ROM.
Operation: Clone from image Service.
Image: Selects the operating system image that you can deploy.
Figure 3-20 shows an example of adding an image to install an operating system (in this case, Red Hat Linux).
Figure 3-20 Create VM (Add Disk window): Image
The following configuration fields are shown in Figure 3-21:
Type: Disk.
Operation: Allocate on Storage Container.
Storage Container: Choose the Storage Container that is available. This option is presented only when DISK is selected in the type field.
Size: Disk size in GBs.
Then, click Add.
Figure 3-21 Create VM - Add Disk - Storage Container
Figure 3-21 shows an example of creating a disk. This disk is used to receive the operating system installation.
Then, click Add.
Figure 3-22 shows the last step you must perform before creating a VM. Click +Add New NIC.
Figure 3-22 Create VM: Add New NIC
Figure 3-23 on page 34 shows an example to create a NIC. The following fields are presented:
VLAN Name: Choose a VLAN.
Connected: Select this option.
IP Address: Choose a valid IP address for the server as the VLAN mask.
 
Note: The IP address entry is optional. If left blank, the next available IP address is picked and used automatically.
Figure 3-23 Create VM: Create NIC window
Then, click Add → Save.
When you click Save, a task is created. You can track the status of your tasks. If something went wrong, you can check and start the creation process again. From the dashboard menu, as shown in Figure 3-7 on page 17 (item numbered 5), click Tasks → View All Tasks.
Figure 3-24 shows the window that includes of all recent tasks that were run or are still running.
Figure 3-24 Create VM - Tasks pane
You now see in a table view the VM that was created. The state of the server is stopped, as shown in Figure 3-25.
Figure 3-25 Create VM - Table - Status
Now, you can start the VM by selecting the VM Created and then clicking Power ON  Launch Console → VNC.
Figure 3-26 shows the options that can be run for the created VMs.
Figure 3-26 Create VM: Power On
You can now install an application, set up a database, and perform any action similar to a physical server.
For more information about all of the fields and options for creating a VM, see this web page.
Figure 3-27 shows the monitoring of a Red Hat Linux installation on a VM by using the VNC Launch Console.
Figure 3-27 VM Created window: Installing the operating system
For more information about managing VMs and other related functions with Nutanix’s Prism Central, see this web page.