Director » Power Systems
Nutanix is the industry leader in providing hyperconverged systems. Hyperconvergence is the fundamental building block for enterprise cloud. IBM and Nutanix have joined forces to deliver an enterprise cloud infrastructure offering, with the control and security required in private clouds, as well as the ease and agility of public cloud services. With the advanced architecture of IBM Power and the web-scale technology of Nutanix, running demanding transactional and Big Data analytical workloads, with infrastructure, is now easy to manage and simple to scale.
What is a hyperconverged system?
Well, it is a complete computing platform, distributed as an appliance. It is usually in a single rack of nodes containing compute (cores, memory, etc.), storage (internal to the compute nodes), networking (IP connections), virtualization, and a simplified user interface to initiate application, store applications in a catalog, perform maintenance as required, and have backup capabilities within itself. Hyperconverged systems are usually viewed as a scale-out, on-premise data center in-a-box, with economic and management advantages over conventional built-to-order rack systems. While a multinational bank, with millions of customers, may not use a hyperconverged infrastructure to run their business for capacity and performance reasons, hyperconverged systems are great for departmental systems, distributed systems, dev/test environments, or for companies who can fit in the footprint that a hyperconverged system can support. A complete on-premise private cloud is another way to look at hyperconverged systems.
Application Use Cases
So, what applications are appropriate for POWER nodes on Nutanix? They are applications supporting end users and customers with web access using WebSphere ND, Liberty, Apache, or Tomcat, as well as the associated databases like DB2, Maria, Casandra, Mongodb, etc. This creates a complete web presence in a box that is very easy to manage. Other areas utilize the development tools of choice (Rationale for example) in a self-contained and easy-on, easy-off environment for developers, separated from the production servers for performance and security reasons. High performance computing is becoming a key requirement for many of the emerging analytic workloads. Running one the of AI models on high-performance Linux Power System nodes can provide faster results than x86 nodes, as well as greatly impact company profitability. The Nutanix hyperconverged systems with POWER nodes can also be an excellent testing ground for new technologies, such as the new opensource databases (Mongo, Casandra, no-sql systems like Enterprise DB, etc.), to learn how these perform on POWER technology on Linux. Another key use would be for distributed departmental systems containing the full application stack, to support distributed locations with minimal support staff.
POWER-Based System Nodes
Historically, hyperconverged systems were made exclusively of x86 compute nodes, along with the implied x86 applications running on Windows or Linux. Recently, this has changed, with the addition of a POWER-based system as the nodes of the Nutanix hyperconverged system. These hyperconverged systems with POWER nodes can provide higher performance, higher capacity, and higher reliability than the x86 nodes for more demanding applications. Due to the performance gain of POWER, higher security (with the built-in security capabilities of POWER), as well as the ability to support applications needing high capacity in less nodes without clustering, this system translates into the requirement for less cost, since less nodes are needed. The hyperconverged system with POWER nodes also leads to higher performance, as well as less maintenance and administration. Initially, the Nutanix POWER-based nodes only supported Linux, but recently AIX has been added as the second supported operating system. This means that customers with Linux on Power and/or AIX have an alternative to creating a rack of Power Systems and implementing the infrastructure to run applications. And, customers needing better performance with Linux applications can now expand into the Nutanix systems, as well.
Nutanix and IBM POWER Hyperconverged Details
Those of you who follow me, know I seldom leave out the details. Here they are:
- The virtualization engine is a derivative of KVM and is called Acropolis or AHV.
- Linux support is with RedHat 7.5 or later, Little Endian only. While RedHat only supports PowerVM, HyperV, VMware, and RHEV, Nutanix will provide support for RedHat, as well as assist customers with any issues that arise.
- SUSE 12 or 15 is supported.
- Ubuntu 18.04 is supported.
- AIX support is with AIX 7.2 TL2 and later and is binary compatible with applications supported by AIX and PowerVM on Power Systems.
- The Nutanix nodes come in two versions called the CS821 and CS822. These are POWER8-based, and Nutanix has a roadmap to enable POWER9 nodes. These compute nodes are very similar to the IBM LC821 and LC822 servers, and they have up to 22 cores, 512 GB RAM, and 46 TB of Flash storage, per compute node.
- Nutanix systems cannot mix x86 and POWER-based nodes within the same managed system, but communication between the nodes is supported by networking.
- The Nutanix hyperconverged system for POWER can contain and manage both AIX and Linux-based applications.
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