Install Nutanix Community Edition in your home lab

In this article we are going to explore the steps on how to install Nutanix Community Edition on VMware. In particular in this step we are configuring the Nutanix Operating System (NOS). This is a follow up article and also part of the series on how to deploy Nutanix CE nested into a VMware environment we can use in our home lab.

The overall installation procedure is pretty quick and text based. In my case it took about 20 mins from back to back.

It is important to make sure the prerequisites are in place before commencing the install phase. Reason being is the installer script includes calls to check the performances and available hardware resources. If they don’t meet the minimum specs the the installer will abort. From this perspective it is possible to “tweak” the minimum specs but is not recommended as it will degrade the overall performances. I’m planning to to dedicate a separate article on this topic as I would like to test multiple Clusters using Nutanix Prism.

It is worth mentioning the default Nutanix CE image is shipping with the Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). Of course it is also possible to run VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V as standard hypervisors across the Nutanix nodes. In a dedicated article we’ll explore the steps on how to add support for these two hypervisors along with a comparison list.

 

How to install Nutanix Community Edition

As per configuration steps in the previous article we are now ready to install Nutanix CE. The installer will quickly offer the option to boot from the standard image or the “rescue” one. For some reason the standard image bring a recurring warning message with “dracut”. I have tried on both VMware Workstation and vSphere with the same result. Booting from the “rescue” image works just fine. I will investigate at a later time about the warning messages.

This is also the time where we can edit the install parameter editing some script files. Will cover this in more detail on a separate article.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware

As soon as the “init image” is loaded at the login we just issue the “install” command to proceed.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware install wizard

We are now in the main wizard to install Nutanix Community Edition. First let’s choose the appropriate keyboard layout.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware keyboard

If correctly detected the installer will now show the available drives for Performance and Capacity. Namely sdb and sdc since they are connected to SCSI(0:1) and SCSI(0:2). If they not appear here let’s do a step back and confirm the settings.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware disk

The install wizard script will now detect the performance of the hardware.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware disk performance

At this point we are presented with the detail to provide the network configuration and the End User License Agreement.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware network configuration

I would recommend to use static IP addresses. The first set is for the Host. The second set is for the Nutanix Controller VM (CVM). Since this cluster has one Node, one CVM only is required. When adding multiple Nodes we can then add multiple CVMs. CVM is responsible for carrying all major operations to and from the Storage layer presented by Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF). So for example features like compression and deduplication are operated by Controller VMs.

One very important note to mention at this point is that it is essential for the Host and the CVM to be exactly in the same domain broadcast. Also we can instruct the wizard to automatically create a single-cluster. Which of course is our initial intention.  Nutanix CE supports 1,3,4 Nodes clusters. By selecting this option a new field for the DNS configuration is available.

Let’s make sure the DNS server we specify here is able to resolve public servers names. Failing this we won’t be able to register the Nutanix CE install against the Next Community website.

For some reason when running this installation on VMware vSphere the DNS name is not maintained in the cluster configuration halting the registration process. We can easily fix this using the command line. We’ll review this and other commands in a separate article.

When running the installation on VMware Workstation the DNS Server configuration is just fine.

Let’s accept and scroll down the entire EULA and hit on start.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware network

The wizard is now ready to install Nutanix packages part of the Nutanix OS (NOS).

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware install components

during the execution we can also see the Names the installer is automatically assigning to the various resources and the IP addresses we have chosen for this particular install. The wizard will also create a self-signed certificate we’ll accept when connecting using SSH on both Host and CVM.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware hypervisor

As soon as the initram image is updated with current hardware specs the wizard is starting the CVM. This operation also includes initiating the cluster which includes a number of services. This operation generally takes 15 minutes and of course depends on the available hardware resources. When completed let’s hit on Enter to proceed.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware install completed

We are now presented with the screen to login to the Host. By default

  • Username: root
  • Password: nutanix/4u

Very interestingly this login page also shows the Nutanix CVM IP Address.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware login

If required from here we can also login to the CVM using SSH. So the command would be something like “SSH nutanix@CVMIPAddress”. CVM default credentials are:

  • Username: nutanix
  • Password: nutanix/4u

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware root access

This concludes the steps on how to install Nutanix Community Edition.

I would recommend to run a quick test before proceeding with the next steps about the first registration and configuration. From another host on the same network let’s try a network ping command to both the Nutanix Host and CVM. Should they fail let’s review the network configuration. In particular when installing on VMware vSphere we might want to create a new Port Group in full Promiscuous mode as per screenshot below. This will allow the network ping to work on both the Host and CVM. This step of course does not apply when running on VMware Workstation.

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware Port Group Promiscuous mode

And ultimately let’s make sure the Nutanix CE Virtual Machine is mapping to the intended Port Group!

domalab.com Install Nutanix nested VMware Port Group

At this point we ready to proceed with the next steps about the Nutanix CE registration and first time configuration. We’ll cover this and more in the next articles.

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

2 thoughts on “Install Nutanix Community Edition in your home lab

  • July 16, 2018 at 10:50 am
    Permalink

    I have followed all the steps to install nutanix community edition
    I am struck with hypervisor installation
    Installer is terminating due to timeout of hypervisor installation and retrying it again

    logs on screen:

    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress
    Hypervisor installation in progress

    Reply
    • July 16, 2018 at 12:22 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Pooja,

      thanks for your commment. Are you using the same release as in the article? I haven’t seen this issue with both 2017.07.20 and 2018.01.31
      The current version is 2018.05.01. Personally I haven’t tried with this one as of yet.

      Please make sure that initially both RAM Memory and Disks assisgned to CE VM are meeting the minimum requirements. Both disks (200 and 500) can be thin provisioned but RAM needs to be at least 16 GB and 4 CPUs. RAM can be changed after first install.

      To be fair there is also a way to change the minimum requirements “just fo the installation” by editing a configuration file. I wouldnt go that route. Make sure you meeting the minimum specs.

      Apologies for not being of more help. Should this persist post the issue on the Nutanix CE forum

      Regards,
      Michele

      Reply

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