What is the different between Redundancy Factor and Replication Factor at Nutanix


What is the different between Redundancy Factor and Replication Factor at Nutanix.

Redundancy Factor (aka FT – Fault Tolerance),  allows a Nutanix cluster to withstand the failure of two nodes or drives in different blocks at the same time. Nutanix Acropolis supports FT=1 (default) and FT=2.

Redundancy Factor 3 requirements:

  • min 5 nodes in the cluster
  • CVM with 32GB RAM configured
  • For guest VM to tolerate a simultaneous failure of 2 nodes or 2 disks in different blocks, VM data must be stored on a container with replication factor 3

NOTE: Nutanix cluster with FT2 enabled, can host storage containers with RF=2 and RF=3.

Redundancy Factor 2 requirements:

  • min 3 nodes in the cluster
  • CVM with 24GB RAM configured

Nutanix cluster components.

  • Key Role: Distributed metadata store
  • Description: Cassandra stores and manages all of the cluster metadata in a distributed ring-like manner based upon a heavily modified Apache Cassandra.  The Paxos algorithm is utilized to enforce strict consistency.  This service runs on every node in the cluster.  The Cassandra is accessed via an interface called Medusa.
    Source: Nutanix Bible by Steven Poitras
  • Key Role: Cluster configuration manager
  • Description: Zookeeper stores all of the cluster configuration including hosts, IPs, state, etc. and is based upon Apache Zookeeper.  This service runs on three nodes in the cluster, one of which is elected as a leader.  The leader receives all requests and forwards them to its peers.  If the leader fails to respond, a new leader is automatically elected.   Zookeeper is accessed via an interface called Zeus.
    Source: Nutanix Bible by Steven Poitras

So, what is an impact when you change Redundancy Factor from 2 to 3. With  Redundancy Factor 2 cluster keeps 3 copies of metadata (Cassandra) and Zookeeper. With Redundancy factor 3 enabled, cluster keeps 5 copies of Metadata and Zookeeper (configuration data).

How to change Nutanix cluster Redundancy Factor from FT2 to FT3.

$  ncli cluster get-redundancy-state           
    Current Redundancy Factor : 2
    Desired Redundancy Factor : 2
    Redundancy Factor Status  : kCassandraPrepareDone=true;kZookeeperPrepareDone=true

Go to Prism Element, click on the Gear button –> Redundancy State

Menu Redundancy factor

From a drop down menu choose Redundancy Factor 3 and Save configuration

Nutanix Redundancy Factor

Verify if cluster Redundancy factor changed via ncli

$  ncli cluster get-redundancy-state           
    Current Redundancy Factor : 3
    Desired Redundancy Factor : 3
    Redundancy Factor Status  : kCassandraPrepareDone=true;kZookeeperPrepareDone=true

NOTE: changing Redundancy Factor from 2 to 3 does not affect storage capacity on the cluster.

What is Replication factor (RF)?

Nutanix Replication Factor states for a number of data copies on Nutanix cluster (VM data and Oplog).  For example, if you have Replication Factor 2 (RF=2) set on the container, meaning every VM data block has 2 copies on the Nutanix cluster (including data in Oplog). With RF=3, all VM data has 3 copies of data on different blocks.

NOTE #1: You can have a container with RF=2 and another container with RF=3 configured on the same Nutanix cluster.
NOTE #2: Changing container replication Factor from RF=2 to RF=3, consumes more storage space on Nutanix cluster (because systems have to keep 3 copies of the VM data which are on containers with RF=3).

To read more about VM data placement on containers with RF=2 vs RF=3 and Zookeeper and Metadata placement see Nutanix Official documentation 

Below table should bring more clarity what is supported and what is the impact on the clusters

Replication factor Fault tolerance compute cluster settings Supported RF on containersDescription
RF2FT1N+1RF2A cluster can sustain the failure of single Nutanix node or disk
RF3FT2N+2RF2 and RF3A cluster can sustain the failure of two Nutanix nodes or disk (simultaneously)
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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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RF2 means two copies including original and RF3 means three copies including original.Am i correct?



If you can go from RF2 to RF3, are you able to do the inverse?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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