Large enterprise infrastructures can pose management challenges due to their complexity. The problem is especially relevant when you need to ensure that multiple data centers in different locations work together smoothly and seamlessly. Hyperconvergence helps to solve this problem.
In this post, we describe the what, why and how of Nutanix – one of the leaders in the market of hyperconverged infrastructure solutions.
What Nutanix Is
Since 2009 when Nutanix was founded, the company has transformed into a well-known virtualization vendor enabling clients to create scalable, flexible and efficient data centers. Nutanix is known for its software-defined storage and cloud computing services. It’s virtualization product, Nutanix AHV, relies on Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is the technology that relies on.
What Is Hyperсonverged Infrastructure (HCI)?
To build a hyperconverged IT environment, one needs a complex software-defined solution that consists of resources for:
To make the hyperconverged infrastructure work, all resources get integrated into hardware box that a single software vendor supports. In such systems, storage, and virtualized and server components function as a system at all times from the moment they are installed and set. The unified structure enables managing the entire system with the use of one dashboard, increasing efficiency compared to other data center infrastructure models.
Benefits of a hyperconverged infrastructure
Converged and hyperconverged infrastructures differ significantly in the relationship between their software and hardware components. A “simple” converged infrastructure consists of building blocks, which are hardware components that you can detach from a system and use on their own. On the other hand, hyperconverged environments are defined by software, where the particular software technology integrates with the storage, computing, networking and virtualization components and cannot operate independently.
The benefits of hyperconverged infrastructures include:
- Lower operating costs. Resource utilization efficiency that is possible with hyperconverged infrastructures allows organizations to save funds on equipment and maintenance.
- Productivity boost and management streamlining. Automated workloads in hyperconverged infrastructures are simpler to manage and can work more efficiently.
- Scalability. A hyperconverged infrastructure is node-based, meaning that it is easily scalable horizontally or vertically whenever an organization needs. You just add or remove nodes on demand without breaking the infrastructure’s functionality.
- Management overhead reduction. A single dashboard enables you to monitor and maintain the infrastructure faster and with less effort.
- Data protection support. HCI supports third-party data protection solutions, enabling you to build a reliable security system for the entire environment in a couple of clicks. Whenever a disaster strikes an organization’s infrastructure, the suitable solution helps recover crucial apps and data, ensuring stable uninterrupted operations.
What Is Nutanix AHV: Solution and Main Components
Nutanix has a pack of software solutions that support each other to enable clients to build highly flexible hyperconverged infrastructures. The operating system that enables you to create those environments is Nutanix Acropolis. The Nutanix OS also provides a proprietary Nutanix hypervisor called AHV.
AHV is built on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology, which is open-source. AHV is compatible with VMware, Hyper-V and XenServer hypervisors, too. Additionally, the use of Nutanix AHV coming together with the Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure platform is free.
Again, HCI is based on nodes. Every node in Nutanix includes a hypervisor (Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESXI or Citrix XenServer) and a controller VM that runs on top of that hypervisor. That controller VM is there to manage the software and hardware components of the system. Additionally, the VM can monitor the I/O operations. Every controller VM can connect with VMs of that type on other nodes to optimize virtualization processes and performance and manage storage resources more efficiently.
You can also use other software and turnkey appliances by Nutanix, such as:
- Nutanix Sizer. Use this solution to design a Nutanix infrastructure that you can build with the resources you have. To do that, find out the quantity of users and workloads in the organization, the amount of RAM, CPU and other metrics for each virtualized workload you need to include in a future environment. Thus, you can familiarize yourself with different deployment options that depend on particular requirements of your organization.
- Nutanix Calm. This is part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform ensuring native app orchestration and lifecycle management.
- Nutanix Prism. With this tool, you can automate daily workflows and optimize virtualization processes with the use of machine learning algorithms. Consequently, you can manage and monitor all your virtualized or mixed environments from one dashboard. Moreover, you can use Prism not only with the Nutanix hypervisor but also with those by VMware (ESXi), Microsoft (Hyper-V) and Citrix (XenServer).
Basically, Nutanix AHV is an enterprise-grade, built-in, and license-free hypervisor that you can use to construct a flexible data center environment that is scalable up and out on demand.
Nutanix Backup Solution: NAKIVO Backup & Replication
Whenever a hyperconverged infrastructure is built and functioning properly, the organization’s operation and production continuity becomes heavily dependent on the stability of that environment. Losing the infrastructure, and, what’s more important, the data that an organization’s workloads store and process, can threaten the very existence of an organization. Therefore, coming up with a reliable backup and recovery strategy is critical to ensure an organization’s continued operation.
NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a reliable agentless solution for Nutanix backup that helps you create incremental app-aware backups of Nutanix AHV virtual machines. Using the solution, you ensure transactional consistency of the app data inside your backups. Incremental backups of AHV VMs are possible with the native integration of the Nutanix Changed Regions Tracking (CRT) technology. That technology allows NAKIVO Backup & Replication to locate and copy only the data blocks that have been changed since the last backup session to the repository, optimizing resource usage and shortening backup windows.
In addition, NAKIVO Backup & Replication has multiple features to optimize the use of hardware storage space and network resources. See a short guide on how to back up Nutanix AHV VMs using the solution from NAKIVO below.
How to back up Nutanix AHV VMs with NAKIVO Backup & Replication
To launch and complete a Nutanix backup workflow with NAKIVO Backup & Replication, do the following:
- Add a Nutanix AHV cluster to the solution’s inventory. To do that, hit Settings and choose Inventory. Then, Hit Add New to add a new cluster.
- On the Platform page, select Virtual > Next.
- On the Type page, select Nutanix AHV > Next.
- On the Options page, you can name your cluster and provide the required credentials, as well as an IP address or a hostname.
- To add the cluster, hit Finish.
Note: To enable Nutanix backup and recovery for VMs in the cluster, you need to have a Transporter deployed in the same cluster. The Transporter is one of the three main backup solution components responsible for data transfer.
- When you have the new cluster added, go to Settings > Transporters and then start creating a new Transporter by hitting Deploy New Transporter. Choose Add Existing Transporter if you already have a Nutanix AHV appliance created.
- Choose the target cluster, storage container and the virtual network. Then, click Deploy to begin deployment.
- When you have successfully added a Transporter, hit Jobs in the left panel. There, hit Create and choose Nutanix AHV backup job.
- In the New Backup Job Wizard, you need to pick the VMs you that you want to back up and hit Next.
- Choose the backup repository you would like to use as a storage for your Nutanix backups.
- Then, you can schedule backup workflows. NAKIVO Backup & Replication enables you to come up with many schedules for one backup job and to set those schedules daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
- Set and customize the retention policies by configuring the number of recovery points to store and the retention period.
- Finally, you can adjust the options for the backup workflow, such as enabling app-aware mode, network acceleration, bandwidth throttling, change tracking and encryption. The default settings can also be applied to save your time. To complete configuring the new backup job, hit Finish.
Building a hyperconverged infrastructure can help you lower operating costs, boost productivity, streamline management, ensure system scalability, and simplify data protection. To ensure the stability and continuity of your organization, you need not only to build a hyperconverged infrastructure but to protect workloads and data. With NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you can back up and recover Nutanix AHV VMs efficiently. Use the guide provided in this post to create and adjust a new workflow to run incremental app-aware backups of virtual machines with a schedule or on demand with the NAKIVO solution.