Nutanix Cluster, Storage Pool and Container setup

During my first month at Nutanix I have been doing quite a few Nutanix presentations for potential customers and consultants. I have received a lot of questions during the presentations but also questions via email including, but not limited to, e.g. setup, management, snapshot, disaster recovery, availability, Controller Virtual Machine (CVM), performance.

Even though there is a lot of information available around these topics I have decided to publish blog posts instead of writing emails. For those of you familiar with Nutanix knows we supports the following hypervisors:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • KVM
  • VMware ESXi

The hypervisor I’ll use in my blog posts initially is VMware ESXi 5.5 and Nutanix Operating System (NOS 3.5.4).

The first blog post will cover the initial Cluster, Storage pool and Container setup and this implies that you have received your Nutanix Nodes installed with VMware ESXi.


Follow the below step to setup your Nutanix cluster:

  • Access any available CVM via ssh.
  • Use the following syntax “cluster –cluster_external_ip “Cluster-External-IP_Address” –cluster_name “Cluster-name” –cvm_ips “IP_addresses of 3 CVMs” –svm_login “login-name-for-the-CVMs” create” for the cluster create command e.g:
    • cluster –cluster_external_ip –cluster_name vcdx56-01 –cvm_ips,, –svm_login nutanix create
      Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.43.07
    • The output should list status for all CVMs, which should be “up” and report “Date Time INFO cluster:Cluster-Number Success!” at the end e.g:
      Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.27.08

Storage Pool and Container

Now the Nutanix cluster is created and you are ready to let the VMware ESXi hosts start using its resources. To make that happen you need to access the Nutanix PRISM which is the Nutanix user interface (UI).
You can access any CVM available in the Nutanix cluster via its Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) and/or IP address, http://CVM-FQDN-or-IP_address.
The login page includes a background video which can be bypassed if you want by accessing the following CVM URL:

  • https://CVM-IP_Address:9440/console/#login?novideo=true
    Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 13.13.20

We need to create one Storage pool and one Container where the Container is the Nutanix construct which will be reflected to as a Datastore, more specifically a NFS Datastore, for your ESXi hosts. If/when using Hyper-V the Container will be accessible via SMB and when using KVM the Container will be accessible via iSCSI.

After logging in to the Nutanix Prism User Interface (UI) you end up in the Home screen which gives you information about e.g Hypervisor version, Storage Summary, VM Summary, Performance statistics, Alerts, Hardware Summary.
Follow the below steps to create your Storage Pool and Container and also mount it to your ESXi hosts:

  • Click the Create link in the Storage Summary section to create your Container.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 13.13.48

  • Since we don’t have a Storage Pool yet we have to create one by clicking the plus sign next to “No Storage Pool”
    Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.29.58
  • Type a name and click save.
    I used all unallocated capacity which is the default configuration.Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.30.17
  • Type a Container name, in my case “vcdx56-container-01”.
    If you have more than one Storage Pool you must select the Storage Pool in the “Storage Pool” drop down.
    I wanted the Container to automatically be mounted to my ESXi hosts included in the Nutanix Cluster so I used the default value of “Mount on all hosts” under the “NFS Datastore” section.
    Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.30.39
  • There are Container advanced settings available if clicking the “Advanced Settings” button.
    Replication factor is always 2 when creating the Nutanix Container via the UI, I left reserved capacity to 0 and I didn’t want to enable either compression or deduplication for this Container.
    Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.30.49
  • Click the Save button and you are finished.

The Prism Home page will now reflect the storage available and when going to the Storage page you can get more information.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.31.29 Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.31.45

By clicking the Diagram link in the Storage page Table link in the Storage page you will get information about e.g. Capacity, Storage Pools, Containers.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.31.56

By clicking the Table link in the Storage page you will get additional information about e.g. number of disks backing the container, Free Unreserved Capacity, How much capacity is in use and some statistics as well.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.32.10

 When creating the Container I selected the option “Mount on all hosts” meaning the Container will automatically be mounted as a NFS Datastore without any further interaction.

Below is a print screen from the vSphere Client (the ESXi host is not connected to a vCenter Server) connected to on of the ESXi hosts and there you can see that the container i created is mounted as a NFS Datastore.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.35.36



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