Roll up, roll up, the Nutanix Community Edition is coming!
Up until now the only way to get your hands on our platform was to either be a potential customer with a proof of concept block in your datacentre, use one of our hosted data centres or to bribe me with F1 tickets. Community Edition allows our software to be experienced on your own servers – be that in your home lab or your test environment at work.
This helps everyone in a lot of ways as end users, customers, partners and the community in general can now experience our software first hand without risk or cost. Yes, no cost. Community Edition is completely free.
Today Nutanix announced the private availability for the beta. There are a couple of ways to get your hands on this: You can join the waiting list here which will grant you access to download the installer, documentation, setup videos and the Nutanix Next community. Another way to get hold of Community Edition is to have a friend already in the beta who has some invitation codes so make sure you treat your NTPs nicely.
I may also have some codes to hand out later on so keep an eye on my Twitter and Facebook pages in June.
Community Edition should work on most hardware out there but there are caveats in terms of server spec and quantity to be aware of.
Firstly this isn’t like a normal Nutanix cluster as it can run on just a single server (we call these nodes) but it can also use up to four if you want to create a traditional multi-node cluster.
Here are the highlights for the HCL:
- Nodes: 1, 3 or 4*
- CPU: Intel only, minimum of 4 cores, Intel VT-x
- Memory: 16GB minimum
- Storage: RAID 0 (LSI HBAs) or AHCI storage subsystems.
- Hot Tier (SSD): 1x SSD minimum, 200GB minimum
- Cold Tier (HDD): 1x HDD minimum, 500GB minimum
- Networking: Intel NICs
Community Edition uses Replication Factor 1 (i.e. no data protection) if you use a single node but Replication Factor 2 is available if you have three or more. Replication Factor is how we protect each 4k block of data so with RF1 the data is just there once but with RF2 there’s a copy of all 4k blocks on another node in the cluster to keep your data safe event if you lose a node – or just turn it off by mistake.
The software itself is closely based on NOS 4.1.3 although Metro Availability, Synchronous Replication, Cloud Connect and Prism Central as not part of Community Edition. We do require Pulse (our call home functionality) to be turned on as well so we can see how the software is being used by you wonderful people. For upgrades they will of course be completed live and without interruption just as with our commercial software.
Installation for Community Edition is via a bootable USB image that runs the KVM hypervisor and then drops the Nutanix Controller VM into the hot tier on each node. After that the hypervisor runs from the USB stick and all VMs and heavy operations are ran from the local storage. From here you can then use Prism to create and manage your VMs, networks etc. Oh you didn’t know we already built a KVM control plane into our software? Yep, it’s been there for a while 🙂 Create new VMs, networks, VLANs, DHCP scopes, clone, migrate, console access is all there out of the box. More information on how to get set up will accompany the downloads but it’s very simple as you’d expect from Nutanix.
Support for Community Edition is via the Next Community forums so I highly recommend you sign up now if you haven’t already and I encourage you to participate and share your views, thoughts and experiences here and on the Next forums once it’s released.
*EDIT – Ooops! Noob error. I previously wrote we would support 1, 2, 3 & 4 nodes. We aren’t supporting 2 node clusters so it’s only 1, 3 or 4 nodes for CE. Cheers!