Nutanix Acropolis Block Services – PART01

First and Foremost, Acropolis Block Services (ABS) is not new, in fact, it was always there in the form of iSCSI based block storage presented for WSFC since AOS 4.5 release. As a matter of fact, the newly released Acropolis Block Services (ABS) has more manageability and better performance which the reason it is recommended by Nutanix to use Acropolis Block Service going forward. Hold on: If you are using MPIO right now, you don’t need to worry as it won’t affect your current configuration even when upgrading to AOS4.7, but Nutanix recommends you start planning the conversion of Existing Volume groups and redirect iSCSI initiators to use ABS.

While Acropolis Block Services will perform a role of iSCSI Target, the iSCSI initiator will be either a Non-Nutanix cluster, VMs on Nutanix cluster or outside the cluster. Finally, it is a Block Storage carved out of volume groups which act as iSCSI Target.

The most noteworthy point is that iSCSI initiator discovers iSCSI Target using single IP address published by ABS. As a result, client management is simplified, and above all, it obviates load balancing of iSCSI sessions. iSCSI throughput becomes now a responsibility of Acropolis Block Services.


Few things to note about Acropolis Block Services

  • To clarify ABS was not designed to present LUNs to ESXi subsequently unsupported
  • Not supported on NX-2000,2050 and NX-3000
  • unsupported on Synchronous replication or metro availability

Use cases of Acropolis Block Services

  • Oracle database continues to be unsupported all hypervisor except Oracle’s hypervisor. Notwithstanding this fact, Acropolis Block Services decides to address this constraint by keeping Oracle database on bare metal while Application and web tier stay to run on hypervisors as VMs.
Acropolis Block Services
Acropolis Block Services

You ordinarily do not use physical servers for test and development rather use VM for efficient use of resources. Now with ABS, Test and development cycle can be optimized by using Nutanix Cloning feature. As a first step, clone volume groups presented to Oracle database (on the physical server), post cloning you can offer the cloned volume group to Test and Development VMs without impacting production. Thus Developers can take a live copy of databases in parallel, develop applications based on active database copy without having to review the compatibility issues.

In the real world what happens is that your storage is the End Of Life  (EOL) and you just happen to buy a brand new server. Although you make a smart decision of buying Nutanix to replace of EOL storage array at the same, you can’t just ignore brand new servers.  Specifically for such situation, ABS can be used to present the Volume groups to these physical servers. Later, over a period (generally three years) you can move these applications as is to Nutanix. You simply have to rebuilt to OS, install Application after which you re-represent the volume groups which you earlier presented to the physical servers to the new built VMs.

Supported Operating System on Acropolis Block Services
Operating System Supported
Windows 2012 R2
Windows 2008 R2
Oracle Linux 6.7
Oracle Linux 7.2

Nutanix has gone further and tested the performance and scalability of Oracle MS SQL database and MS Exchange on Acropolis block services