You probably heard about the latest initiative from Nutanix, Nutanix is releasing a Community Edition of their hyper-converged solution. Nutanix Community Edition (CE) is a free version of the Nutanix Operating System (NOS). NOS is the operating system that powers the Nutanix platform. With the Community Edition you can evaluate the solution on your own hardware. That’s pretty cool I think…
Currently I’m in a private alpha group to test the software, but a public beta will be available soon. More info on this at the end of this article.
Some background information and some system requirements
Nutanix CE comes as an installable image which you can copy to a USB drive or Disk on Module (DOM). You can run Nutanix CE as a 1, 3 or 4 node cluster, which makes it very suitable for your homelab. Required is:
- Intel CPUs with VT-x support, 4 cores minimum;
- A minimum of 16 GB RA. 32 GB is recommended. More memory = more fun;
- Intel based NICs are supported;
- You will need at least one SSD drive with a minimum capacity of 200 GB used for the hot-tier;
- For cold-tier storage a maximum of 3 disks is supported, this can be HDDs or SSDs;
- Total number of drives is 4;
- One USB drive or DOM to run NOS.
Because you can just use an USB drive, your lab/test setup is interchangeable with an existing ESXi setup on USB. Just switch the USB drive and you’re ready. Don’t forget to take care of the internal SSD and HDD drives you use for the Nutanix CE installation.
Note that Nutanix CE is running the KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) hypervisor. This means things work differently and you will need some time to get used to KVM if you’re a VMware or Microsoft virtualization person.
My personal lab setup
I’ve installed Nutanix CE succesfully on my lab server which is a HP Z800. Installation took me only half an hour and I didn’t face any serious issues.
- HP Z800;
- 2x Intel Xeon E5520 quad core proc @ 2.27 Ghz;
- 72 GB RAM;
- 3x HP 250 GB HDD;
- 1x Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB;
- 1x Kingston DataTraveler Micro 16 GB;
After the installation you can logon to the web-interface of CE, complete the configuration and start to deploy some VMs! Because I only have one lab server available I cannot test some of the distributed features which is a pity. What remains is still a pretty interesting Nutanix CE based environment.
How to join the Nutanix CE Beta
If you also want to start working with Nutanix Community Edition you can now join the public beta. The public beta will become available on the first day of Nutanix .NEXT conference, which is on June 8th…that’s next Monday. Just register on the Nutanix CE beta website to get a hold of the software.
If you want to learn more about the Nutanix platform I have some suggestions for you:
- The “Nutanix Bible” website by Steven Poitras, including some very good background information on how NOS and Nutanix file system NDFS works;
- The nu.school, the education platform of Nutanix;
- The nu.school YouTube channel;
- Nutanix documentation.
I think Nutanix is certainly making their technology available to a greater audience with the release of CE. After you’ve find your way around in NOS and KVM, you can have a lot of fun with the product and learn how this hyper-converged solution works.
That’s all for now, stay tuned through twitter for more information on Nutanix Community Edition.