My HCI Lab with Nutanix Community Edition: Part 1: Introduction

Till the time I was working majorly on VMware products, I thought there can’t be a better piece of technology than this. But since the time I started learning Nutanix, my thoughts changed and I must admit that I am in awe of this product.

To learn any new product, home lab is the best place where you can learn things from scratch. Since I don’t have dedicated hardware pieces to deploy Nutanix, I tried my hands on Nutanix Community Edition.

In this post I will outline some basic considerations which you should keep in mind when when planning to go with Nutanix CE and will walk through the steps needed to create lab. Also I will discuss possibilities and limits of using this product.

What is Nutanix Community Edition (CE) ?

Nutanix Community Edition is the free version of Nutanix OS which can be used to test drive main features of Nutanix. Nutanix CE can be deployed using existing hardware in your infrastructure or it can be deployed as virtual machine in a nested virtualization platform.

One important thing you should keep in mind is that Nutanix CE is intended for internal business operations and non-production use only.

Components of Nutanix Community Edition

When you deploy Nutanix CE, you will get following:

  • AHV (Acropolis hypervisor with virtualization management)
  • Single pane of glass control (Prism web console to manage the cluster)
  • Command-line management (nCLI)
  • Ability to create multi-node cluster (comprising of 1, 3 or 4 nodes)

So when you deploy Nutanix CE, you gets AHV with distributed file system (DSF) and access to prism to manage the cluster (single node or multi-node). Also you get access to command line to perform some advanced configuration and management tasks.

Limitations of Nutanix Community Edition

Since Nutanix CE is free, it comes with some limitations:

  • Your cluster requires internet connectivity (outgoing traffic on tcp/80 and tcp/8443) to send telemetry data and usage statistics to Nutanix through «Pulse» mechanism.
  • You must upgrade within 30 calendar days when an upgrade is available, else access to your cluster will be blocked.
  • Nutanix CE might not work on every hardware and there is a chance that HBAs, NICs etc of your physical server may or may not work with Nutanix CE. If Nutanix CE is being deployed as VM, then it works in most of the cases.
  • Nutanix Next account is mandatory (needs registration)
  • Only community support: If there is something wrong with Nutanix CE, you can’t log a support case with Nutanix and you have to rely on Nutanix Next Community to help you out.

And that’s it for this post. In Next post of this series, I will talk about my lab setup and few tweaks that we need to make. Stay tuned!!!

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