Home lab projects are my preferred method of learning new technology. Nutanix has some neat technology, and I want to learn with a hands-on approach. On March 1st, 2023, Nutanix released CE 2.0. This article details the process I used when installing Nutanix CE 2.0 on a bare metal server.
The official Nutanix documentation for Getting Started with Community Edition is here:
The official server requirements for the community edition are listed here.
The RAM requirements are steep, requiring 20GB for the CVM on each node and an additional 24GB in the cluster if you plan to run Prism Central, not including the memory needed for your VM workloads.
Here are the server specifications I used in this guide:
Prepare the Server
When starting a new bare metal project, I reset the server to the factory state, run initial setup steps, set up remote console access, and update the firmware. I created a detailed guide on the process I use that is available here: Initial Setup — Bare Metal Servers.
Plan and document the network layout.
Local DNS servers are not required, see “Create DNS Records” below.
Create reference documents
Plan and document the IP Address, FQDN, and default credentials.
Create DNS Records
Creating Public DNS records on a domain name removes the need for a local DNS server in your home lab. The cost of a domain name is around $10 per year. Using DigitalOcean’s free DNS service has the benefit of leveraging the certbot-dns-digitalocean plugin to automate DNS-01 challenges. Using the DNS-01 challenge will allow you to create Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, including wildcard certificates. For detailed instructions, follow this article for the process I use with DigitalOcean, certbot, and the certbot plugin.
Using the reference document, create your DNS A records.
Download Community Edition
To download the community edition, you to first have a Nutanix ID. You can create a Nutanix ID here:
Browse to the Download Community Edition forum post, log in, and download the Installer ISO:
Boot the CE 2.0 Installer
Boot server 1 to the CE 2.0 ISO downloaded in the previous step.
You can boot the ISO using Virtual Media through the iDRAC console or create a bootable USB using Rufus.
Using the bootable USB for large ISOs seems quicker than iDRAC Virtual Media.
Download the portable version of Rufus and run the program to create a bootable USB.
Select the 8GB+ USB drive, select the phoenix-ce2.0-fraser-6.5.2-stable-fnd-5.3.4-x86_64.iso, and click start.
Once the device has been created, insert the USB drive into your server.
Installing Nutanix CE 2.0
Login to your iDRAC using a web browser, power on the server, and launch the virtual console.
Press F11 to Enter the Boot Manager.
Select the One-shot UEFI Boot Menu. Next, select your USB drive or Virtual Media.
Make your disk selections for the Hypervisor, CVM, and Data drives.
Fill in the network details using your reference documentation and DO NOT SELECT Create single-node-cluster, then select Next Page.
Read and scroll to the end of the EULA before selecting I accept the end user license agreement. Then click Start.
The installation can take over 20 minutes. You will be prompted to remove the boot media and reboot.
Post Installation — Password and VLAN Configuration
Once the server reboots, it takes 10 minutes for the CVM to execute the initial configuration. Now is an excellent time to change the password on the hypervisor.
Login as root using the default password nutanix/4u
At the prompt, type in passwd and set up a new password.
If you use a VLAN, you must assign the AHV host and the CVM to that VLAN.
AHV Host Procedure
At the CLI prompt, run the following:
ovs-vsctl set port br0 tag=80 ovs-vsctl list port br0
CVM Host Procedure
From the host CLI prompt, login to the CVM using the default password of nutanix/4u and change the VLAN as follows:
ssh [email protected] change_cvm_vlan 80
CVM Password Change
While logged into the CVM, change the default password.
Repeat the process for the remaining two nodes
Configure the remaining nodes up to the password change before continuing to start at the Installing Nutainx CE 2.0 section above.
Once all three nodes have completed the installation up to this point, ssh into the CVM of one of the nodes.
Create the cluster by using the following example, including all the node CVM IPs separated by commas.
cluster -s 192.168.80.11,192.168.80.13,192.168.80.17 create
Once the cluster has been created, start the cluster.
Once the cluster starts, create the cluster name.
ncli cluster edit-params new-name=ntnx80
Set up the Virtual IP address for the cluster.
ncli cluster set-external-ip-address external-ip-address="192.168.80.17"
Login to the web console
Open a web browser and log in to https://prism.<cluster_name>.<domain>:9440
To bypass Your connection is not private in Chrome, type in thisisunsafe on your keyboard after clicking the red triangle. You will not see yourself typing.
Login to Prism using admin as the username and nutanix/4u as the password.
Create a new password for the cluster admin account.
Enter your NEXT account (Nutanix ID) to register the cluster.
Congratulations! The cluster is up and running.
Configure Cluster Details
From the menu, select Home -> Settings.
Select Cluster Details and fill in the Cluster Name, FQDN, Virtual IP, and ISCSI Data Services IP. Then click Save.
Add additional Name Servers
Select Settings -> Name Servers and add any additional DNS servers if needed.
Create a Subnet
Select Settings -> Network Configuration and select “Create Subnet”
Fill in the details for your network. I will allow AHV to manage the IPs and create an IP pool from 192.168.70.20–254 for the VMs.
Include your DNS servers.
The AHV IPAM will assign VM addresses within the range specified.
Add NTP Servers
Add any NTP servers you would like to use.
Adding SSL Certificates
You can generate Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates by following the Generating Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates from DigitalOcean with the DNS-01 challenge article.
After creating your SSL Certificates, select Settings -> SSL Certificates. Then click Replace Certificates.
Select Import Key and Certificate
Select the Private Key Type, Private Key, Public Certificate, and CA Cert/Chain. Then click Import Files.
Open a new web browser and go to https://prism.<domain_name>:9440 to verify your valid SSL certificate.
Updating the cluster software
Go to Home -> LCM
Select the link that says, “Click here to run NCC ….”
Select All Checks, then click Run.
You can check the status of the health check by viewing “Recent Tasks”
Select LCM -> Inventory and select Perform Inventory
After the Inventory process has been completed, click on Updates.
Select the desired updates and click View Update Plan.
Review the updated plan, and click Next.
Wait for the updates to complete.
After the update is completed, you should be on the latest release.
Creating a VM
Now that your cluster is up to date, you can create a VM.
First, upload an ISO by selecting Settings -> Image Configuration, then click Upload Image
Enter a Name for the image, select the Image Type, and select Upload a file, then click Save.
Once the upload is complete, the image will be listed on the Image Configuration page.
Select VM from the Menu and click + Create VM
Enter the VM Name, desired vCPU(s), Cores Per vCPU, Memory, and Boot Configuration.
Select + Add New Disk.
Select your desired Storage Container, enter the Disk Size, then Click Add.
Edit the CD-ROM by clicking the pencil.
Select the Operation, Clone from Image Service, and select your desired Image, then click Update.
Select + Add New NIC.
Select the desired subnet and click Add.
Finally, click Save to create the VM. Your VM should now appear in the VM Table.
Right-Click the VM Name and select Power On.
Once the VM is powered on, click Launch Console.
From the console, you can control your VM and continue the installation.
Congratulations, you have successfully set up a three-node Nutanix cluster on Bare Metal.
Instructions for Prism Central setup are available here: Installing Prism Central on Nutanix Community Edition 2.0