Foundation 4.1 brings a bunch of improvements to make Nutanix deployments even easier.
The Foundation Golden Rule
“Always upgrade and use the latest available version of Foundation” prior to your deployments. Each new version has new features (like the below) as well as additional new platforms and software supported by Nutanix. If you are using an old version you are missing out !
Upgrading is easy. Download the tar.gz from the support portal. In Standalone VM Foundation, click the version number and follow the prompts. In CVM Foundation use the java applet to upgrade the inbuilt Foundation on the discovered nodes.
Let’s get into what is in 4.1.
Foundation UI Changes
CVM Foundation and Standalone VM Foundation in 4.1 have a more unified UI and workflow. However, Standalone Foundation VM is the only method that allows you to manually add nodes (instead of using discovery) or abort an in-progress imaging session.
Range Auto-fill option has been moved to the “Tools” menu to keep the default UI clean.
Foundation now generates auto-filled host names without a hyphen by default.
CVM Foundation now supports imaging nodes without forming a cluster. This was already supported in Standalone VM Foundation.
Standalone Foundation VM (via discovery) can image nodes or create a cluster without IPMI being required. This mirrors the CVM Foundation experience in Standalone VM Foundation.
Faster Deployments via Skipping AOS Imaging
On discovered nodes, Foundation 4.1 can now skip imaging AOS (if all nodes are the same AOS version) and allow you to just change the underlying hypervisor whilst keeping the AOS version as-is. This saves downloading and re-uploading the AOS image file when the AOS version isn’t changing. This is a time saver.
Lets say your nodes arrive from the factory with AHV and AOS version 5.5.1. You do not need to upload a new AOS image during the Foundation process if you just wanted to change to ESXi for example.
As an example, below I selected ESXi 6.5U1 to change the primary hypervisor for the cluster. By default Foundation will image all nodes to ESXi, but in my case I wanted to select nodes C and D to remain on AHV in ‘Storage Only’ or ‘Storage Node’ mode. This way I could have all nodes participate in the storage pool but only need to license ESXi on nodes A and B.
Once you click “Start” you can relax – it will take about an hour to complete the process. Note that if you aren’t changing AOS or hypervisor images at all, an install takes just a few minutes total (just applying your IP addresses).
Side note : of course the AHV nodes finish first! (Though no one is surprised right?! :)
Pre-Configuration Portal JSON file creation and import
Foundation can import configuration files generated at https://install.nutanix.com. This can be used to generate a Foundation JSON file that can be imported into Foundation 4.1+ on site. You can create a configuration manually ,or if you have placed an order for Nutanix NX nodes, you can see your order and auto-populate the nodes (while the nodes are being shipped for example).
Below are some screenshots from the install.nutanix.com site. The idea is that the UI should look very similar to the normal Foundation process.
Note that the “Import New Order” function only applies to Nutanix NX orders. We are investigating ways to expand this to other appliance types in a future release.
Once you’ve completed the fields, click the ‘Download’ link at the bottom of the page to generate your JSON file.
Other Fixes in 4.1:
Multi-homing is supported when IPMI configuration is skipped.
Foundation no longer fails if a NTP server is supplied but not reachable with AOS 5.6+
Nutanix Foundation continues to evolve. We’ve got some more UI changes and features planned around better networking options and more central deployment methods, with the eventual goal that anyone would be able to deploy their Nutanix cluster with any hypervisor they choose, any model of node they choose, in any configuration they want and eventually any cloud with just a few clicks, and in an automated fashion.
Would love to hear your suggestions and feedback on Foundation to make it better.