Cloning and Powering VMs on Nutanix with VAAI [Video]

I was given a Nutanix cluster to learn about the product, features and interoperability. During the installation and configuration process I recorded videos to demonstrate how simple and easy Nutanix really is.

While I believe Nutanix biggest features are the web-scale properties (I will discuss more later), such as true linear scale-out performance and shared nothing approach, I know that many people are also looking for features such as De-duplication, Compression, Native Disaster Recovery and Replication etc. Nutanix packs it all!

In saying that, it’s very important to know that Performance is there when your application and your users need it. I normally don’t like simple performance benchmark tests such as boot-storms and cloning because they prove nothing about how the infrastructure support real workload behavior. However, in this case there is something special!

The video you are about to watch was recorded in my lab environment using default Nutanix configuration. Using a PowerShell script I demonstrate how Nutanix supports VAAI for cloning 50 virtual machines using FLAT VMDK files (please note those are not Linked Clones or similar). After cloning, the script will power on all virtual machines.

For those not familiar with VAAI –  vSphere vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) allow Nutanix controllers to directly handle operations such as snapshot creation, clone etc. This cuts down provisioning time and capacity requirements.

During the test the Nutanix nodes, ESXi or CVM were highly available. However, vCenter Server quickly became the bottleneck impeding even better performance. I will probably soon run another test with vCenter with additional memory and CPU.

I also would like to highlight that this test has been done with standard Enterprise SSD (Intel S3700). No PCIe Flash accelerators such Nytro Flash Accelerator (~USD7000) or FusionIO cards have been used in this test. So be aware of results out there.

For now, have fun with this video!

Watch in 720P (HD)

In the first video of this series I demonstrated how I quickly switched Nutanix Hyper-V to vSphere. In the second video I demonstrated how to create a brand new cluster and how Nutanix uses IPv6 Neighbor Discovery Protocol (Bonjour) to identify nodes and blocks available to initialize a cluster. In the third video I demonstrated how to create a Nutanix Storage Pool and Container using the Nutanix PRISM UI, and finally on the fourth video I demonstrated how easy it is to expand a Nutanix cluster.


After changing the maxCostPerHost advanced setting to 24 in the vCenter vpxd.cfg file I re-run the test with 50 VMs. This resulted in total elapsed time for clone and boot of 1:43 seconds. That is 1 full minute less then the previous test.

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at


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    • Craig on 02/11/2014 at 9:42 pm

    Pretty similar results to what I get with my Tintri VMstore (I actually think I had fractionally better results but when you’re cloning and booting 50vms in a matter seconds, who really cares at this point!!?). Only difference is you can do it directly from the VMstore and not need to use powershell. VAAI has to be my favourite storage advancement. Period.

  1. Craig, in my 2nd run with Compression disable I was able to get even lower numbers (~20 seconds) but I could not be bothered to cut another video. However, as you wisely mentioned, when you cloning multiple VMs that will not make the difference. I did however have a vCenter performance issue and I will re-run sometime soon.

    • Michael on 02/12/2014 at 2:15 pm

    Do you share your script for Nutanix testers?
    Like your Videos!

  2. Hi Michael, thanks! I will soon be publishing the scripts.

    • Rob Huikeshoven on 12/08/2015 at 1:58 am

    Hi Andre, can you please share your Nutanix script with me? Love to do the same in my lab.

    • rob on 12/08/2015 at 2:22 am

    Already found it 🙂

  3. Good 🙂

  1. […] publishing the Cloning and Powering VMs on Nutanix with VAAI video I was asked if I could share the PowerShell scripts used for the demo. I want to thank […]

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