Nutanix Community Edition Home Lab Part I

Over the years i’ve gone through many iterations of my home lab.  You can see the posts below.

As a Systems Engineer and Solutions Architect, I found it imperative to hone my skill-set regularly.  While in the role of the latter, I found that my actual engineering skills start to diminish as I focused on Design and Presales.  At the time, building solutions that include many types of Storage, Compute, Network with VMware solutions was my “bread and butter.”  Thankfully, through the power of software I was able to setup and leverage numerous lab environments, everything from Mobile Macbook & Single beefy Workstation running workstation class Virtualization Software (Fusion,Workstation) respectively, to enterprise class servers with shared network based storage using NAS and SAN, I was able to sharpen and fine-tune the skills required for the job and/or to further my career path through the Certification process.

These iterations led me to the point i’m at now.  While working for Nutanix, I have many more doors open to me to really focus on my craft to help me remain relevant as well as work with technology I never thought I would ever work with, ie KVM (Acopolis Hypervisor -AHV).  Nutanix has done a remarkable job by simplifying the MGMT of KVM while enhancing the enterprise features and experience.  You don’t have to take my word for it, ask our customers that are using AHV.

Today, I introduce another iteration for my Home Lab, running on enterprise grade hardware, on a 10Gb Network.  This Lab was built on Nutanix Community Edition which provides all the features in paid Nutanix XCP software.  This lab was built with these key requirements in mind:

  1. Scaleability – Ability to add a node for additional Compute/Storage Capacity down the road
  2. Simplicity – Simple interfaces (Two, Prism/Dell x1052 Switch)
  3. Resiliency – Tolerate failure with integrated Backups via the same Prism interface,   encrypted Tunnel over the internet to my Single Node Cluster at my offsite location
  4. Performance – 10Gbe Local network, Dual Enterprise Grade SSD’s per node
  5. Manageability – Out of band MGMT is a necessity for any issues that my arise or installs


The lab consists of four total nodes, a three-node cluster at my primary residence in my office and a single node in another location offsite for backups only.

The fourth node is what we consider a “storage only” node, which i’ll get in more detail later.  This node is represented at the top of the RACK in the pic below with 24 2.5″ Hotswap Drive Bays.

The three primary nodes are identical and the the three 1u servers at bottom half of the rack.  These are Supermicro SYS-1026T-6RFT+ based on the Intel 5520 Chipset.  They contain a built in LSI2108 SAS Controller, 8 x 2.5″ Hotswap Drive Bays, and built in Intel 10Gb SFP+ NICs.

Each node has the following:

CPU: 2 x Intel Xeon 5620’s

RAM: 12 x 8GB DDR3 1333 ECC Registered

SSD/HDD: 2 x Samsung 480GB 843T’s/4 x 1TB Seagate 2.5″ Spinners

The fourth node is a bit different.  Instead of focusing on running VMs it will simply act as a “storage only cluster” target for my backups and only has enough hardware to run the Nutanix Controller VM.  This node is based on a Supermicro CSE-216A-R900LPB case and has the following:

MB: Supermicro X10SLL-F, BIOS 3.0 (current), BMC 1.35 (current)

CPU:  Intel Xeon E3-1230v3 3.3Ghz, quad core with HT

Memory: 32GB DDR3-1600 R-ECC (4x8GB, Samsung M391B1G73QH0-YK0)

SSD/HDD: 1 x Samsung 480GB 843T/7 x 1TB Seagate 2.5″ Spinners

This is installed locally to seed the full backup prior to being installed at the offsite location.

This is all connected to a new Dell X1052 Switch.  This switch is simply awesome.  48 1Gb Ports/4 x 10Gb SFP+, GUI and CLI MGMT.  This switch literally took me 15 minutes to rack and configure and that’s with all the VLANs, LAGs, Trunks, etc.



Stay tuned for Part II when I talk more in detail about the network topology (LAN/WAN) and the configuration of Nutanix Community Edition!


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