Return of the home lab!



Back in January this year, I was lucky enough to attend an NPX bootcamp hosted at Nutanix HQ in San Jose. The week-long course is certainly the most intense course I have ever taken, leaving me feeling physically and mentally tired at the end of each day. It’s also the only course that is free (to external Nutanix people too) and the only course I have taken skills away from that I use in my job daily.

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Anyway, at the end of this bootcamp, I was hungry to progress with the NPX certification track, and even promised Michael Webster I would defend at .NEXT Europe in November. Now, I’m not one to make up excuses, I have failed in this goal, and fallen way behind in my preparation, so have reset my expectations to defend NPX in CY19. I’ve even put it in writing for all to see, so I’m committed.

Whilst we are extremely lucky to have access to a number of different environments within Nutanix, sometimes only a home lab will do when you are looking to further enhance skillset, and need to document an environmental setup. With Nutanix CE being free and having all the functionality and performance I will ever need this ticked the first box of choosing what to run, the second was the hardware. Nutanix CE will pretty much run on anything with a few requirements, all of which can be found here. The setup doesn’t need to be the most powerful in the world, for those requirements, I would use lab kit we have access to internally, but needed to be small and quiet. I choose, therefore, the Intel NUC, which is a very popular platform for CE, however, is restricted to 32GB RAM (on the model I’m using) but this is fine with me.

I’ve got 3 NUC’s so will create a 3 node CE Cluster. After completing the simple install which is all documented here I wanted to reduce the overall RAM in use by the CVM, down from 16GB to 8GB to free some more of the limited RAM I have available. To do this, you need to complete the following:

– SSH onto each CE host you will add to your cluster
– Obtain the CVM name by typing ‘virsh list –all’

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– Shutdown the CVM with the following command ‘virsh shutdown CVM_NAME‘, where CVM_NAME
is the name of the CVM obtained from the last command (in my case NTNX-8adf9350-A-CVM).
– Set the memory to 8GB (the minimum you can get away with) with the following command ‘virsh setmem –size 8GB –config CVM_Name (again where CVM_Name is the name of your CVM)
– Set the max memory the CVM can use to 8GB with the following command ‘virsh setmaxmem –size 8GB –config CVM_NAME
– Start the CVM ‘virsh start CVM_Name
– Validate the change has taken place ‘virsh dominfo CVM_NAME

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Once this is done, I was ready to create my CE cluster. NOTE – The process to reduce the RAM assigned to the CVM can be done post cluster creation, you must simply stop the cluster or have the resilience to take down CVM.

To create your cluster, SSH to any CVM IP address and login as the ‘nutanix’ user and issue the following command, ‘cluster –s cvmip,cvmip,cvmip create’ (where cvmpip is the IP address of your CVM’s. Also, note there are no spaces between the commas.

That’s all there is to it! Now I’ve got a fully functional 3 node CE cluster!