Migrate to Nutanix Acropolis platform – Ultimate guide

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Migrate to Nutanix Acropolis – Ultimate guide

Nutanix is a leader (second year in a row) of the HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI) market, according to Gartner Magic Quadrant. There is no surprise at all, that more and more people asking about migration methods and tools from legacy infrastructure to Nutanix. Nutanix is actively working to make migration to Nutanix Acropolis as easy as it is only possible, I would say – Nutanix’s way :-).

You can find some examples of how Nutanix deal with complexity and makes day to day life easy in below:

Nutanix Acropolis supports several hypervisors (AHV, ESXi, Hyper-V 2012R2, Hyper-V 2016, and Hyper-V 2019, Citrix XenServer 7.1), Kubernetes – which we called Nutanix Karbon, file shares (Acropolis Files) over SMB 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, NFS v3 and NFS v4. You can use Nutanix as backend storage for physical servers leveraging Nutanix Volumes over iSCSI. Nutanix Acropolis software is available on Nutanix NX, Dell XC, Lenovo HX, HP, Cisco UCS and IBM Power hardware platforms. For a full list of supported hardware and software vendors check compatibility matrix on Nutanix support portal:

As you can see from the above list there is plenty of migration use cases. There is no surprise there are a lot of questions related to migration methods, tips and tricks, and how-to’s. I will try to cover as many migration use cases as possible. If you have a specific use case which is not covered let me know in the comments and I can check what I can do.


Migrate to Nutanix Acropolis

Methodology

Some migration scenario requires more effort, like cross-hypervisor migration or cross hypervisor and cross-datacenter, migration from cloud provides like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure. In general, migration projects are a great opportunity for:

  • update inventory, both application, and OS
  • update application dependencies
  • application refresh\update or re-platform
  • get rid of the unsupported OS, hardware or application
  • OS refresh or upgrade
  • hardware refresh
  • datacenter\COLO relocation

There are several key factors which will drive your decision on the migration approach. Below you can find the list of most important questions you should ask during migration workshop:

  1. Is application migration possible
    • if yes, go for it.
  2. What is source hypervisor – answering this question will help you narrow down the list of tools
  3. What is target hypervisor – answering this question will help you narrow down the list of tools
  4. How many systems (VMs and\or physical servers)?
  5. How big is data volume?
  6. Is it cross-datacentre or local migration?
  7. What’s the available link between source systems and target Nutanix clusters and what’s average utilization?
    • answer to this question will help you make a decision about tools and methodology.
  8. What is the longest downtime window for application\VM?
  9. Is APP\VM inventory up to date (make sure you get info with VM\APP criticality too)
    • you can see what tools you could potentially use for migration
    • you can decide what migration approach to choose
      • application migration
      • VM migration using migration tools or manual

NOTE: Above list, it is not a complete list of questions, however getting answer for those would give you an idea about source environment and migration methodology.

My general bits of advice for customers are:

  • whenever possible use application migration approach, remember – application “knows” more about data than any other migration tool.
  • for business-critical APPS, use either application migration or migration tools
  • The ultimate migration tool for Nutanix platform is Nutanix Move. Use it for usecases where you cannot leverage other migration methods. See below for more info about Nutanix Move
  • for the rest, use migration tools or migrate VMs\applications manually.

Migration Tools

There are several scenarios when you migrate to Nutanix. All with different risks, outage window for workload, different difficulty level. Some of them have tools (paid or free) like:

  • [Free] Nutanix Move – Nutanix free tool to migrate workloads from between different environments. See below list
  • Nutanix cross hypervisor DR – migrate workloads from vSphere on Nutanix to Nutanix AHV using Nutanix Protection Domains
  • Nutanix DIAL – in place conversion for workloads and clusters from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV
  • [Free] VMware converter  – migrate to Nutanix with VMware ESXi (V2V and P2V) from legacy platforms (you should use Move instead)
  • [Paid] SurelineEdge – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV. Use it for migration from physical servers.
  • [Paid] HyCU – you can use Hycu for migration from physical to Nutanix AHV
  • [Free] Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter – as name states – migrate to Microsoft Hyper-V (V2V and P2V)
    NOTE: Microsoft does not support or develop this tool anymore.
  • [Paid] PlateSpin Migrate – migrate to Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere (V2Vand P2V)
  • [Paid] DoubleTake Move (not it is called Carbonite) – you can use if for migration from physical servers to Nutanix AHV
  • [Paid] Zerto – migrate from legacy Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere  to Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere on Nutanix (V2V)
  • VMware replication – migrate from legacy VMware vSphere onto Nutanix with vSphere

Migrate to Nutanix Acropolis with AHV

Nutanix AHV is Linux KVM based hypervisor, new generation hypervisor branded and developed by Nutanix. To be able to run workloads on it, you have to have a guest OS with support for virtIO drivers. Below is the list of guest OS which can run on Nutanix AHV.

NOTE #1: Below list of guest operating systems is based on my testing, not Nutanix. I was able to install and run all the above as a guest OS on Nutanix AHV. For the full list of supported\certified guest OS systems see Nutanix AHV guestOS compatibility matrix, where you can find links to official Nutanix documentation.
NOTE #2: some of the operating systems are not officially supported on Nutanix AHV.

Linux supports The KVM virtio drivers are automatically loaded and installed on the following:

For a full list of supported guest operating system by Nutanix AHV check Nutanix AHV guestOS compatibility matrix

Microsoft Windows OS  running on Nutanix AHV

  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows 2016 Standard, 2016 Datacenter
  • Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016
  • RHEL 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2
  • CentOS 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2
  • Ubuntu 12.04.5, 14.04.x, 16.04.x, 16.10, Server, Desktop (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • FreeBSD 9.3, 10.0, 10.1,10.2, 10.3, 11.0
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3 / SP4
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
  • Oracle Linux 6.x, 7.x
  • Windows 2003
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2000 Server

OS types with SCSI (recommended), PCI, and IDE bus types

  • Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2
  • RHEL 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 8.X
  • CentOS 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 8.X
  • Ubuntu 14.04 or newer
  • FreeBSD 9.3, 10.0, 10.1
  • SUSE 11 or newer

OS types with PCI (recommended) and IDE bus types

  • RHEL 5.8, 5.10, 5.11, 6.3
  • CentOS 5.10, 5.11, 6.3
  • Ubuntu 12.04
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
  • Windows 2003

NOTE: ABOVE LIST IS NOT VALIDATED OR PROVIDED BY NUTANIX. IT IS BASED ON MY PRIVATE TESTING


Difficulty ratings for manual migration

  • 0 – very easy
  • 1 – easy
  • 2  – difficult
  • 3 – very difficult

Scenario #1 – cross-hypervisor migration.

Acropolis Operating System (AOS) is supported on 4 hypervisors, Acropolis Hypervisor aka Nutanix AHV, VMware vSphere 5.0 or newer, Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2 or newer (up to hyper-v 2019). Cross-hypervisor migrations are most complicated and have always outage for migrated VM. However, there are several ways to minimize the outage window and mitigate risk. Check relevant sections for more details.

Use Case #1 – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV from VMware ESXi

Migrations from VMware vSphere ESXi to Nutanix AHV is one of the easiest and less complicated use cases. Below you can find links to my earlier blog posts (video included) on how to migrate from VMware ESXi (on legacy infrastructure) to Nutanix with Acropolis Hypervisor. To migrate from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV you can use either Sureline or move workloads manually.

My advice:
#1 – use application migration whenever possible
#2 – in case application migration is not possible – use the Nutanix Move tool.
#3 – if for any reason you cannot leverage Move or application migration, manual migration is the option.
Rating: 0 – manual migration is easy for officially supported systems on Nutanix AHV.
NOTE: Migration from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV has always outage. Downtime window depending on migration method and type of application.

Use Case #2 – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV from Citrix XenServer.

Migration from Citrix XenServer is not the easiest migration, that’s for sure. However, it is possible and doable.

My advice:
#1 – Application migration
#2 – leverage 3’rd party migration tool (Hycu, Carbonite or Sureline)
#3 – avoid manual migration as it is a very lengthy and difficult process.
Rating: 3 If you can avoid manual migration as it is a very painful and error-prone manual process.

NOTE: Migration from Citrix XenServer to Nutanix AHV has always outage. Downtime window depending on migration method and type of application.

Use Case #3 – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV from Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2 or Hyper-V 2016

My advice:
#1 – Application migration
#2 – use Nutanix Move
#3 – avoid manual migration if possible
Rating: 2 Manual migration from Hyper-V to Nutanix AHV is fairly easy process

NOTE: migration from Microsoft Hyper-V to Nutanix AHV always causes downtime for migration VM and\or application

Below you can find examples of manual migration from hyper-V to Nutanix AHV

Use Case #4 – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV  from Linux KVM

Migration from Linux KVM to Nutanix AHV is a fairly easy and simple task, despite the fact, there is limited number of tools to help with V2V. The manual process is easy it does require some effort but in general is very similar to manual migration process when migrating from ESXi to Nutanix AHV.

My advice:
#1 – Application migration
#2 – use 3’rd party tools
#3 – manual migration
Rating: 1 – Manual migration from Linux KVM to Nutanix AHV is an easy process

Below you can find examples of manual migration from hyper-V to Nutanix AHV

Use Case #5 – migrate to Nutanix Acropolis AHV from Linux Xen.

Work in Progress

Use Case #6 – migrate SQL Server Failover cluster from VMware vSphere into Nutanix AHV.

My advice: use application migration whenever possible, in case application migration is not possible – use Nutanix xTractVM tool.
Rating: 0 – Nutanix Xtract tool is the best and most efficient way to move your workload to Nutanix AHV.
NOTE: Migration from VMware ESXi to Nutanix AHV has always outage. Downtime window depending on migration method and type of application.


Scenario #2 –  VM migration from legacy infrastructure with VMware vSphere to Nutanix with VMware vSphere.

Migrating from legacy, 3 tier, infrastructure with VMware vSphere onto Nutanix with VMware vSphere is one of the easiest migrations.

There are a few ways to accomplish migration depends on the migration scenario.

Use case #1 – cross datacenter migration from legacy VMware vSphere to Nutanix with VMware vSphere

When migrating from one datacentre to another, answering below questions will help you out make the right decision about migration tools and methodology

  • What is the bandwidth pipe available between both datacenters?
  • What is the lowest downtime windows for applications in migration scope?
  • What is the data volume to migrate?
  • Do you change virtual machines IP after migration?
  • Does customer have a migration tool in place?

There are few tools on the market which you can leverage in these type of migration:

  • Nutanix Move
  • VMware vSphere replication
  • Veeam replication
  • Zerto
  • Hycu

Above tools are very handy during cross datacentre migration. Some of them are handling large dataset, some of them have migration orchestration build in.

My advice:
#1 – Application migration
#2 – leverage Nutanix Move for migration
#3 – use VMware vSphere replication
#4 – leverage 3’rd party tools like Zerto (very efficient in large data set migration)

Use Case #2 – migration within a datacenter.

Migrating within single datacentre between legacy VMware vSphere and Nutanix vSphere clusters are easy and quick migrations. In 99.9% of migration leveraging vSphere storage vMotion (with VM downtime) or ShareNothing vMotion (no downtime for VM) are the right tools to complete successfully migration.

My advice:
#1 – ShareNothing vMotion (no downtime for VM\application)
#2 – leverage Nutanix Move for migration
#3 – storage vMotion
#4 – use VMware vSphere replication

Below are the steps for storage vMotion migration:
  1. Add source ESXi hosts (vmk0) IP addresses to Nutanix containers
  2. Mount Nutanix container as NFS datastore on source ESXi hosts
  3. storage vMotion vmdk’s to NFS datastore
  4. shutdown VM
  5. now, depends if you have two vCenters or not you either unregister VM from source vCenter and register in target vCenter on Nutanix cluster (a case with separate vCenters) or simply migrate offline VM to Nutanix cluster (common vCenter)
  6. power VM on
  7. upgrade VMware tools and virtual hardware if necessary

Scenario #3 – VM migration from legacy infra with Microsoft Hyper-V 2012R2 to Hyper-V 2012R2 or 2016 on Nutanix

Migrating from legacy Microsoft Hyper-v onto Nutanix with Hyper-V is very similar to migration from legacy vSphere to vSphere on Nutanix. Depends on the migration scenario, you can leverage built-in features like Storage migration or ShareNothing Hyper-V migration, or migration tools. Answering below questions will help you out find the best tool and migration methodology

  • What is the bandwidth pipe available between both datacenters?
  • What is the lowest downtime windows for applications in migration scope?
  • What is the data volume to migrate?
  • Do you change virtual machines IP after migration?
  • Does customer have a migration tool in place?
Tools:
  • Zerto
  • Azure Site Recovery Manager
  • Hyper-V Replica

Use Case #1 – cross datacenter migration

My advice:
#1 – Application migration
#2 – Leverage 3’rd party tools like Zerto or Azure Site Recovery Manager
#3 – Hyper-V replica

Use Cass #2 – migration within a single datacenter

It is much easier, and cheaper too, to migrate within a single datacenter than cross datacenters. In 99.9% of cases using built-in Hyper-V tools, you can complete the migration successfully. Sharenoting live migration (no downtime to VM) or storage migration (migration with VM downtime) are the most popular way to move workloads.

My advice:
#1 – Live migration between two Hyper-V clusters
#2 – Application migration
#3 – Hyper-V replica
#4 – Leverage 3’rd party tools like Zerto or Azure Site Recovery Manager


Scenario #4 – P2V – physical to virtual migration to Nutanix

Use Case #1 – P2V to Nutanix AHV

Believe or not, there are out there physical servers that are waiting for us to migrate them onto Nutanix AHV :). There are several tools on the market that can help you with migration to Nutanix AHV.

The best approach in P2V is to leverage application migration whenever possible. The second option is to rebuild applications on virtual machines and the last instance is to perform P2V. 
Rating: 2 –  P2V migrations are usually painful to perform. It is due to several reasons like very old and outdated operating systems, legacy application, application supportability on virtual environments, drivers tight to hardware components.

  • My advice:
  • #1 – Application migration
  • #2 – Third-party P2V tool
  • #3 – VMware Converter
  • #4 – Manual migration using clonezilla
Tools:
  • Hycu
  • Carbonite
  • Sureline
  • VMware converter
    NOTE: you can use VMware converter to export physical server to VMDK disk image and import it to Nutanix AHV using Image services.

Use Case #2 – P2V to Nutanix with VMware vSphere

Migration P2V to VMware ESX is very well know and documented in the internet. There is not difference when you will be migrating to Nutanix with ESXi vs to any other system with VMware ESXi.

  • My advice:
  • #1 – Application migration
  • #2 – VMware Converter
  • #3 – 3’rd party P2V tools
  • #4 – Manual migration using Clonezilla

Migrate to Nutanix from public cloud


Scenario #1 – Migrate EC2 instance to Nutanix AHV from Amazon AWS

Migration from AWS or any other cloud is not an easy task. Cloud providers do not make the transition back on-prem an easy task. There are factors you have to consider before migrating off cloud such as:

  • Licensing – you can migrate data off but not whole VM
  • Bandwidth between on-prem facility and cloud
  • Downtime window
  • Data volume and growth

Answering for the above questions will help you decide what methodology and tools you can use for the migration project. There are few tools available on the market which can help you with migration to Nutanix Acropolis, one of them is Sureline (see below video), which is a paid tool. Another one is Nutanix Move, which supports migration to and from AWS since version 3.5

Use Case #1 – Migrate EC2 instance to Nutanix AHV from Amazon AWS

Nutanix Move (starting fromversion 3.5) supports bi-directional migration between Amazon AWS and Nutanix on-prem. Using Nutanix Move you can migrate Amazon EC2 instances to Nutanix on-prem clusters and back to Amazon AWS (if you really, really have to 🙂 )

  • My advice:
  • #1 – Application migration
  • #2 – Use Nutanix Move for EC2 instances
  • #3 – Manual migration – AWS has an option to export VM to file which you can download and import into the destination system.

Below you can find video on how to migrate EC2 instance from Amazon AWS to Nutanix AHV

Use Case #2 – Migrate from Amazon S3 to Nutanix Object

Work in Progress

Scenario #2 – Migrate to Nutanix from Microsoft Azure

Work in Progress

Scenario #3 – Migrate to Nutanix Xi from Amazon AWS

Work in Progress

Scenario #4


Migrate to Application to Nutanix

Cross-platform migration is one of the most difficult and risky migration operations. However, as more hardware and software vendors pulling off their support for non-x86 processors (Oracle, HP-UX, SAP) those types of migration become more and more popular.

Use Case #1 – Oracle DB 12c migration from Solaris Sparc to Nutanix Acropolis

Use Case #2 – Microsoft SQL migration to Nutanix Acropolis

Work in Progress

Use Case #3 – Migrate Microsoft Active Directory to Nutanix AHV.

Work in Progress


Migrate to Nutanix Files

Work in Progress


Migrate to Nutanix Volumes

Work in Progress


Migrate to Nutanix Karbon

Work in Progress


Appendix- Migrate to Nutanix Acropolis


Changelog
  • 28’th Aug 2017 – initial version
  • 30’th Nov 2017 – added – Migrate Oracle DB from Sparc to Nutanix
  • 5’th Aug 2018 – added – vSphere to vSphere on Nutanix and P2V section.
  • 11’th May 2019 – general updates
  • May 2020 – general updates and reformatting
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Lokesh

Hey Bro, Excellent Information on Nutanix. Appreciate the work done and Thank You. Do share some stuff on how to install step by step of Nutanix with VMware

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