In creating a world class product, the challenge is always to develop something that is flexible,useful and simple. Many times, simplicity is lost at the expense of greater flexibility or flexibility is lost when a product becomes overly simple.
During the development process at Nutanix, two questions are always asked: “How do we build a solution that is simple yet flexible at the same time? How do we make the datacenter invisible? How do we help our customers to spend more time with their loved ones than being in the datacenter ?”
The Nutanix datacenter solution is easy to operate, install, configure, and troubleshoot thanks to features such as Easy and Non-Disruptive upgrades, Foundation, and Cluster Health.
Highlighted below is the evolution of one of our most exciting features, the Nutanix Foundation installer tool.
Before Foundation, the Nutanix factory had a repository of scripts that allowed them to install, test, and ship the blocks to the customers. The scripts had limited options for network configurations, hypervisor, and Nutanix OS versions. Our customers told us they needed increased flexibility to install the hypervisor of their choice, a hypervisor version of their preference, and the Nutanix OS with the networking configuration that best suits their datacenter at the time of installation, not at the time of ordering.
While we were developing this tool, one of Nutanix hypervisor partner decided to throw a curve ball at us, forced us not to ship their hypervisor from Nutanix factory, even if the customer wanted their hypervisor. They considered us a competitor though we were enabling their bare hypervisor to move up a few layers and provide storage as well.
This made us more deterministic to provide the flexibility of changing the hypervisor at the time of installation to our field, partners and customer. This tool will eventually help our customers to change the hypervisors at anytime on a running cluster.
To meet these customer needs, the Nutanix Foundation installer tool was created. It was developed with the aim of providing an uncompromisingly simple factory installer that is both flexible and can be used reliably in the customer datacenter.
Foundation 2.1 allows the customer/partner to configure the network parameters, install any hypervisor and NOS version of their choice, create the cluster, and run their production workload within a few hours of receiving the Nutanix block.
So far, customer feedback has been fantastic.
In the short time that Foundation has been available, the tool has quickly evolved to meet new customer needs.
We strive to keep Foundation uncompromisingly simple and still extend the features without becoming a “featuritis - feature nightmare” by constantly reviewing it with our UX team.
Here are a few features our team is currently evaluating, that will use Foundation3.0 APIs:
- Seamless expansion of clusters
- Faster replacement of boot drives
- Network aware cluster installs
We will release more details on each of these features and how we accomplished it using Foundation 3.0 within two to three months.Note: First version of this blog appeared in .Nutanix Community Blog