I love the fact that Nutanix provides a Community Edition for those of us with home labs, I can bring the Enterprise Cloud I so enjoy deploying for customers close to home.    Sure, would I love to have a small NX-1365 in the rack at home, who wouldn’t?   Maybe someday…

But in the meantime, Community Edition provides me with the ability to troubleshoot, test, demo, etc specifics on the Nutanix Platform without needing to schedule a Hosted POC or use the Nutanix Demo site.  Additionally, I can test out using Xtract, Protection Domains to Azure and even test out the Rubrik integration.

With the release of Community Edition 5.10, we’re now much more inline with the current release train of Commercial AOS.  Hopefully this returns the ability to test out things like Files, better PC integration, etc.

I could have done a 1-click upgrade from the last version of CE to the new version, but since this is a lab, and I’ve got a few things I wanted to change – time for a rebuild.

CE Lab Details

For the CE portion of my lab, I’ve got 3 SuperMicro 1U Servers, each with dual six core CPUs and 48gb ram.  2x SSD’s and 2x HDD’s round out the config.  Each node has 4x 1Gbe connections, split between 2 Nexus 3k Switches.

SanDisk 32GB usb drives round out the hardware for the node, and are boot drives.

Getting Ready for CE

After downloading the CE bits and the metadata from the Community Edition site, preparing the usb drives is pretty simple.  At one point, I wrote a blog post about using the .iso installer for CE, but apparently there was issues with that and Nutanix Engineering has pulled it, and it hasn’t shown up back up with 5.10.  No big deal, using the disk image installer is simple enough.

Following the guide for preparing to install by Nutanix here is simple enough, but I’ve found a few tips for myself that make it a bit easier.

  1. I prefer to use the command gdd, which is a utility found in the CoreUtils bundle found thru Brew.   Mainly because it also provides an easy status mechanism for file copy.
  2. Add BS=1M to the command to speed up the copy of the .img file to the drive
  3. Add status=progress to the command, to have the status of the copy shown in the terminal.

If you decide to use the command dd to copy the .img file to the usb drive, make sure you use the device /dev/rdiskX instead of /dev/diskX.  The main reason is that /dev/diskX is a buffered device while rdiskX is a raw path.  See these 2 posts for more details:  Post 1 and Post 2.

Pay Attention Tip:  Don’t forget to extract (gunzip, unzip) the image file before writing it to the usb drive!  Or else you’ll boot the nodes and wonder what happened.

Finally… After all that, the command to write the image file to usb.

sudo gdd if=ce-2019.02.11-stable.img of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1M status=progress

Setting up CE

Finally, now that we’ve got the boot drive imaged and the nodes booted, we just need to go thru the CE initialization process.   The CE process differs than the normal process, in that Foundations isn’t used to image the nodes, instead it uses a local setup process.

Once booted, you’ll be at the login prompt for AHV.  Type install to kick off the process.

NTNX-CE-Login.jpg

The rest of the process is pretty simple, follow the prompts.  In my case, I’m doing a 3-node cluster, so I’ll skip the option for a single node cluster.

Please remember that this process is destructive on a new build.  All of the data on the disks will be wiped.  If this is a rebuild, depending on the options you choose during the initialization process, as shown below.

NTNX-CE-Rebuild.jpg

Once each node is complete, we just need to run the command to create a cluster of our new nodes from one of the CVMs, and off we go.

cluster --dns_servers=10.10.200.254 --ntp_servers=time.etherbacon.net -s 10.10.202.150,10.10.202.155,10.10.202.160 --cluster_name=EtherbaconCE --cluster_external_ip=10.10.202.254 create

Wrapping Up

It’s great to see Nutanix still releasing updates for the Community Edition.  While it feels like it’s been a while, the effort that goes into releasing this for free to the Community isn’t anything to be discounted.

To the Nutanix CE team, thank you for your continued effort for those of us who use this quite a bit.

To the #NTC Community, are you guys using the CE edition if you don’t have a dedicated lab with hardware?  What kind of things are you using it for?

To everybody else not using it, what are you waiting for???

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