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Nutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 2

Couple weeks ago I wrote about the first part of a multi-month announcement for NOS 4.1; and this is the second part of this announcement. If you missed the first part you can read it at Nutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 1.

NOS 4.1 delivers important features and improvements for the areas of resiliency, security, disaster recovery, analytics, supportability and management. The first article discussed the new Cloud Connect feature for cloud backup, the NX-8150 platform for heavy OLTP and OLAP/DSS workloads such as Exchange and Oracle databases, Data At Rest Encryption for secure environments that require compliance, which I complemented with an article describing how it works New Nutanix Data-at-Rest Encryption (How it works), and finally the One-Click Hypervisor and Firmware Upgrade.

In this second part I am focusing on smaller improvements that permeate NOS releases between 4.0 and 4.1, 4.0.1 and 4.0.2. These improvements are smaller and don’t make all the way up to the news, marketing or PRs, but they are equally important in improving performance and more importantly system usability and user experience.

 

NOS 4.0.1

  • Configurable remote Syslog forwarding enables you to send logs to a remote server using the TCP/UDP protocols. Syslog is a standard for computer message logging. It permits separation of the software that generates messages from the system that stores them and the software that reports and analyzes them. In Nutanix each log in /home/nutanix/data/logs/ is prefixed with the name of the module (for example, cassandra) generating the information.
  • Multi-cluster management feature (also known as Prism Central), now allow convenient and automated cluster NOS upgrades through a web console upgrade dialog. Automatic software alerts notify you of available upgrades, which you can install manually or automatically. This is in addition to the One-Click Hypervisor and Firmware Upgrade already support by Prism, enabling even more powerful multi-datacenter management. You can see a full demo of Prism Central at Nutanix PRISM Central Demo Video (multi-datacenter management).
  • Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) support for Hyper-V hosts. If you are interested on Hyper-V support roadmap I recommend reading this article by Tim Isaacs, Nutanix and Microsoft Private Cloud: We continue our journey with Microsoft. There’s a lot happening in the Hyper-V, SCVMM and Azure arena.

 

NOS 4.0.2

  • Improvements on the handling of NOS Oplog for better performance and stability. The Oplog is similar to a filesystem journal and is built to handle bursty writes, coalesce them and then sequentially drain the data to the extent store. You will find more tech info about OpLog and Data Path at The Nutanix Bible. The performance improvements will come with the official release notes and PR for NOS 4.1.
  • Simplified drive replacement procedure, making all HDDs and SSDs on all Nutanix supported platforms be hot-swappable for both local and remote disks. The drive replacement can now be fully monitored via PRISM GUI and nCLI. Additionally, it is possible to clearly identify via Prism and drive carrier LED the location of the failed drive.
  • The chassis LED now can be turned on or off from the Prism UI Hardware page in either the Diagram or Table view to help identify the correct Nutanix block in large data centers. In large data centers this a must have feature.
  • Support for Dell XC720xd series hardware, in accordance to Nutanix Announces Global Agreement with Dell announcement.
  • Shadow clones are now enabled by Default. When a vDisk is read by multiple VMs (such as the base image for a VDI clone pool), NOS caches the vDisk on all the nodes in the cluster. Nutanix Shadow Clones allow for distributed caching of a particular disk or VM data, which are in a ‘multi-reader’ scenario. This will work in any scenario, which may be a multi-reader scenario (eg. deployment servers, repositories, etc.). Read more about Shadow Clones at Nutanix Shadow Clones Explained and Benchmarked.

 

There are other even smaller features and improvements that in my opinion did not have merit to feature in this list. In the next part of this series I will unveil what I personally consider perhaps one the biggest Nutanix features since its inception. Keep tuned!

 

Keep tuned, Nutanix 4.1 Features Overview (Beyond Marketing) – Part 3 coming soon!

 

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

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