Enable Nutanix Flow

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What is Nutanix Flow.

Nutanix Flow networking is a software defined networking (SDN) solution option tightly integrated into Nutanix AHV and
Prism Central. Flow provides rich visualization, automation, and security for VMs running on AHV. Microsegmentation is a component of Flow networking that simplifies policy management and help secure East – West network traffic between VM’s and applications. Using multiple Prism Central categories (logical groups), you can create a distributed firewall that gives administrators an application centric policy management tool for securing VM traffic. In Prism Central 5.6, Nutanix Flow is a GA and it is fully supported for production use.

How Nutanix Flow works

The brain of the solution is in Prism Central and the policy enforcement is done by OVS. In Prism Central you define policies, rules and categories. Security Administrator does grouping applications and VMs via categories.  Categories are logical groups for either VMs or applications. Security policies map to categories.

Nutanix Flow – policies, categories and groups mapping

Rules are pushed from Prism Central –> CVM –> AHV –> OVS. Rules enforcement is done by OVS (networking component installed on every AHV host) and applied on virtual machine vNIC.

Nutanix Flow requirements:

  • Prism Central 5.6
    • 32GB RAM
  • AOS 5.6
  • AHV only
  • All hardware platforms

How to enable Nutanix Flow

Go to Prism Central –> click on question mark (top right corner) –> from menu choose Microsegmentation

Nutanix Flow

On next screen click checkbox – Enable Microsegmentation

Enable Nutanix Flow

After few seconds, microsegmentation is enabled and ready to implement security policies, group apps and VMs into categories.

Log off and log back in to Prism Central. From main dashboard, click Explore and from left panel choose Security Policies

Nutanix Flow – security policies

To get to the this point with Nutanix Flow, shoudn’t take longer than 2h assuming you have to deploy Prism Central 5.6. Now, imagine how long this may take with other products on the market like NSX, vArmour and so on.

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Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

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