Tag Archives: Scale out

Openstack + Nutanix : Nova and Cinder integration

Now that we have setup an allinone deployment of the Acropolis OVM, configured networking, and an image registry. It’s time to look at the steps required to launch virtual machine (VM) instances and setup appropriate storage.  The first steps to take are to provide the necessary network access rules for the VM’s if they don’t already exist. The easiest way to do this is to create rules to ensure SSH (port 22) access from any address range and to make the VMs pingable.

Compute > Access & Security > Security Groups

Compute > Access & Security > Security Groups

Compute > Access-Security > Security Groups

Compute > Access & Security > Security Groups

Next create an SSH key-pair that can be assigned to your instances and subsequently control VM remote login access to holders of the appropriate private key. I will show how this is used later in the post, when we launch an instance. First, select the Key Pairs tab in the Access & Security frame and save the resulting PEM file to be used when accessing your VMs.


Create a named key-pair (for example fedora-kp) for the set of instances you will create.

As an example, I am going to create a single volume using the Cinder service, in order to show we can attach this to a running VM. In this instance, Cinder gets redirected to the Acropolis Volume API and the subsequent volume gets attached to the instance as an iSCSI block device.


Next step will be to spin up a number of VM instances, I have given a generic instance prefix for the name, and I am choosing to boot a Fedora 23 Cloud image. You can see the Flavour Details in the side panel in the screenshot below – Note the root disk size is big enough to accommodate the base image.


I also need to specify the SSH key-pair I am using and the Network on which the instances get launched. See below :



At this point I can go ahead and launch my instances. We can see the 10 instances chosen all get created below, along with the assigned IP addresses from the already defined network, the instance flavour, and the named key-pair ….


So now, if we were to take a look at the Nutanix cluster backend via Prism, we can see those VM instances created on the cluster and how they are spread across the hypervisor hosts. That’s all down to Acropolis management and placement.


We can dig a little deeper into the Acropolis functionality and show how each of the steps taken by the Acropolis REST API calls have built and deployed the VMs on the backend. Here’s the list of VMs that were created as defined in the http://<CVM-IP>:2030 page.


And we can see the breakdown of the individual task steps and how long each one took and how long they might have queued for, and if they were ultimately successful and so on. The key take away from all this is that the speed of creation of the VM instances is largely down to the Acropolis management interfaces consumed by the REST API calls.


Let’s take one of those VMs and add some volumes to it, let’s add a data and a log volume to fedvm-10. First of all we need to create the iSCSI volumes



Then we can attach the volumes to the VM instance ….


We now have the two volumes attached to the VM ….


The two volumes should show up as virtual disks under /dev in the VM itself. We can verify this by logging into the VM directly using the private key I created earlier as part of the key-pair assigned to this series of instances.

# ssh -i ./fedora-kp.pem fedora@
Last login: Thu Apr 7 21:28:21 2016 from
[fedora@fedvm-10 ~]$ 

[fedora@fedvm-10 ~]$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 3 GiB, 3221225472 bytes, 6291456 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x6e3892a8

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sda1 * 2048 6291455 6289408 3G 83 Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 10 GiB, 10737418240 bytes, 20971520 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes

Disk /dev/sdc: 50 GiB, 53687091200 bytes, 104857600 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes

So from here, we can format the newly assigned disks and mount them as needed.

That’s it for this post, hopefully this series of posts has gone a little way to clarify how a Nutanix cluster can be used to scale out an Openstack deployment to form a highly available on-premise cloud. The deployment of which is radically simplified by using Nutanix as the Compute, Volume, Image and Network backend.

In future posts I intend to look at deploying an upstream Openstack controller, have a play around with snapshots within Openstack and their use as images. Also, some additional troubleshooting perhaps. Let me know what you find useful.

Installing MongoDB on Nutanix XCP

As part of the recent MongoDB certification of Nutanix XCP as an Infrastructure as a Service  (IaaS) platform,  I thought I might collate some of the info I have collected while working to get the certification process completed. There’s a lot of great docs over at www.mongodb.com but I want to condense everything into a series of posts. This first post will deal with the initial install of a standalone MongoDB instance.

We saw in my previous post here how to create a Linux VM and add networking and vDisks. In this instance I have added 6 x 200GB vDisks for a data volume, and an additional 2 vDisks – one for the journal volume (50GB) and one volume to hold the log file (100GB). Here’s the output from /usr/bin/lsscsi showing the disks and their SCSI assignments :

[2:0:1:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdj
[2:0:2:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdk
[2:0:7:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdb
[2:0:8:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdc
[2:0:9:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdd
[2:0:10:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sde
[2:0:11:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdf
[2:0:12:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdg
[2:0:13:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdh
[2:0:14:0] disk NUTANIX VDISK 0 /dev/sdi

Create a user/group mongod that will own the MongoDB software :

# groupadd mongod 
# useradd mongod

To install the MongoDB Enterprise packages, create a new repo with the required information and then install as MongoDB user using yum :

# pwd
# cat mongodb-enterprise.repo
name=MongoDB Enterprise Repository
$ sudo yum install -y mongodb-enterprise

We use LVM to create a 6 column striped data volume. All Nutanix vDIsks are redundant (RF=2) so to create a RAID10 data volume just stripe the vDisks, and then create 2 further linear volumes. First create the underlying physical volumes :

# lsscsi | awk '{print $6}' | grep /dev/sd | grep -v sda | xargs pvcreate
 Physical volume "/dev/sdb" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdc" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdd" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sde" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdf" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdg" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdh" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdi" successfully created
 Physical volume "/dev/sdj" successfully created

Then create both the volume groups and the required volumes

vgcreate mongodata /dev/sdb /dev/sdc /dev/sdd /dev/sde /dev/sdf /dev/sdg 
vgcreate mongojournal /dev/sdh 
vgcreate mongolog /dev/sdi
# lvcreate -i 6 -l 100%VG -n mongodata mongodata
# lvcreate -l 100%VG -n mongojournal mongojournal 
# lvcreate -l 100%VG -n mongolog mongolog

Create an XFS filesystem on each volume:

mkfs.xfs /dev/mapper/mongodata-mongodata
mkfs.xfs /dev/mapper/mongojournal-mongojournal
mkfs.xfs /dev/mapper/mongolog-mongolog

Create the required mountpoints:

mkdir -p /mongodb/data mongodb/journal /mongodb/log

Mount the filesystems – setting noatime option on the data volume

/dev/mapper/mongodata-mongodata /mongodb/data xfs defaults,auto,noatime,noexec 0 0
/dev/mapper/mongojournal-mongojournal /mongodb/journal xfs defaults,auto,noexec 0 0
/dev/mapper/mongolog-mongolog /mongodb/log xfs defaults,auto,noexec 0 0

Set up a  soft link to re-direct the journal I/O to a separate volume:

# ln -s /mongodb/journal /mongodb/data/journal
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 21 Nov 21 14:13 journal -> /mongodb/journal

At this point set the filesystem ownership to the MongoDB user:

# chown -R mongod:mongod /mongodb/data mongodb/journal mongodb/log

Prior to starting MongoDB there are a few well known best practices that need to be adhered to. Firstly, we reduce the read ahead on the data volume in order to avoid filling RAM with unwanted pages of data. MongoDB documents are quite small and a large readahead figure will fill RAM with additional pages of data that will have to then be evicted to make room for other required pages. Filling virtual memory with this superfluous data can have an adverse effect on performance. Usual recommendation is to start with a setting of 16K (32 * 512M sectors) and then adjust upwards from there.

rwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 7 Feb 4 11:50 /dev/mapper/mongodata-mongodata -> ../dm-3 

# blockdev --setra 32 /dev/dm-3
# blockdev --getra /dev/dm-3

MongoDB recommends that you disable transparent huge pages, edit your startup files as follows :

 #disable THP at boot time
 if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/redhat_transparent_hugepage/enabled; then
 echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/redhat_transparent_hugepage/enabled
 if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/redhat_transparent_hugepage/defrag; then
 echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/redhat_transparent_hugepage/defrag

Set swappiness = 1: MongoDB is a memory-based database; if the nodes are sized correctly, then we won’t need to swap. However, setting swappiness=0 could cause unexpected invocations of the OOM (Out of Memory) killer in certain Linux distros.

$ sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=1 (for current runtime)
$ sudo echo 'vm.swappiness=1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf (make permanent)

Disable NUMA, either in VM BIOS or, invoke mongod with NUMA disabled. All supported versions of MongoDB ship with an init script that automates this as follows:

numactl –interleave=all /usr/bin/mongod –f /etc/mongod.conf

Also ensure:

$ sudo cat /proc/sys/vm/zone_reclaim_mode

Finally, once you have configured the /etc/mongod.conf file (as root), you can start the mongod service –  see output from grep -v ^# /etc/mongod.conf below. Note, I have added the address for the primary NIC interface to the bind_ip in addition to the local loopback.

sudo service mongod start

Once the database has started then you can connect via the mongo shell and verify the database is up and running :

$ mongo
MongoDB shell version: 3.0.3
connecting to: test

Now that we have our mongodb instance installed, we can use it as a template to clone additional MongoDB hosts on demand. I will cover this in future posts when I create replica sets and shards etc. For now, we need to get some data loaded and perform a few CRUD operations and perform some additional testing. I’ll cover this in my next post.