Life as a Nutant

Updated: Sep 15

10 Months into the Nutant experience and its been EPYC!!

So it is now September of 2020 as I write this amid a sea of political turmoil and financial market insanity that is making things very entertaining indeed.

I experienced a few brief moments of panic myself in May of 2020 amid this COVID driven insanity as to futures before I got a grip and realized everyone everywhere is suffering the same problems and that this ridiculous COVID circus has to shutter it's tent at some point in time.

Probably somewhere around mid 2021 is my guesstimate.

I am still struggling with how the species I belong to is dealing with COVID-19 and I marvel at the multitude of "logic free" actions and behaviors that have come with COVID-19.

We all just have to deal with it and influence the "logic free" ones as patiently as Job did back in the day.

Turns out this process can be great fun as well if you have the time.....and a lot of patience.......

One of the impacts to me of COVID realities has been the crazy work hours I put in these days vs being on the road.

The Nutanix product portfolio and capability is very strong, and almost custom tailored to said COVID-19 data center working realities in terms of simplicity and sheer ease of use.

There are now many more bona-fide compelling reasons for customers to sweep all of their old legacy 3 tier architectures out the door and go with a Nutanix only data center.

Bye bye SAN, Bye Bye NAS, bye bye FC networking nightmares, bye bye complexity, and hello Simplicity and easy street!!

Saving up to a staggering 80% on OPEX costs is not to be sneered at folks!! This is what Nutanix brings to the table!!!

I have not even started talking about the power and cooling reduction the small but deadly footprint leaves behind as one of its many fabulous bonus points either!!

Semper Molto Dolce!!

I have, amid these "other" distractions of 2020, mentioned above, focused my efforts on Nutanix AMD EPYC related technologies and various other forthcoming Nutanix attractions based on EPYC Powered HCI shenanigans so as to better win business in the Sacramento Valley and East Bay regions.

The commercial space is an interesting one, nestling between SMB and Enterprise as you get a vast range of solution architectures that can fit any bill effortlessly with a varied range of challenges that come with each opportunity served up.

The key challenge here being customers keenly understanding the capabilities envelope and the awesome solution they are getting with Nutanix and penciling the boundaries around the solution with it's performance floor and ceiling notations.

I can tell you from my experience of free-diving and scuba antics around the South African coast and in Tahitian waters, that the understanding of limitations and capabilities when you partake in these activities is a life and death envelope journey of discovery well worth making.

I have found that customers buying HCI cluster technologies also do better if they understand the envelope of capabilities of what they are getting and the limitations they gave up when "budget sizing" the solution if they executed any of these antics.

You cannot expect to buy a budget airplane for $23,000 and expect it to perform like an F18 Raptor....

Likewise you cannot buy a Top of the Range Lamborghini Evolution and expect to start winning Formula one Grand Prix events with it unless you know what you are doing with said exotic equipment and are able to persuade Formula one to let you race....

Nutanix flexibility and capability ranges from the Citroen Deux Chevaux up to the UFO Beamship class type solutions, and each solution architecture capability depends on what you put into meeting the requirements without compromise and understanding the compromises if you indeed made any!

This all became a totally EPYC experience in 2020 which translates to less dollah in exchange for molto power, in my humble opinion.

In fact this EPYC flavor has made "right now" a Golden Age for Nutanix based HCI.

I have run into some customers on both ends of the "want to have" spectrum in this regard and it has been interesting to observe and interact with the wide range of reactions to what they get to deliver their IT miracles with on any fabulous Nutanix platform.

I tap into my channel partner days of total disbelief often with the more incredulous customers pressing my vast sense of humor reserves into overdrive on occasion.

Fortunately, I myself can (still) vividly recall my own disbelief of Nutanix HCI glory when I first evaluated Nutanix back in 2013 as I go through these challenges from some customers entrenched deeply into old school 3 tier architecture hell.

In fact it was not until 2015 that I myself was suddenly a very woke HCI evangelista but from that moment on I have set about making all my previous work in the 3 Tier server and storage space completely obsolete.

With somewhat of a vengeance too I might add!!

As I said, in the first rendition of this posting, some interesting items to watch in 2020 will be PCIe 4.0 capable nodes, merging Optane goodies with PCIe 4.0 ready CPU's and the 100 GB Ethernet Networking side of the equation as it pertains to Nutanix related HCI.

Did you know that the Intel Optane group is forced to buy AMD CPU's to test their new PCIe 4.0 Optane based SSD stuff?

A marvelous twist and Irony as Chipzilla still has ZERO PCIe 4.0 capable CPU product right now and will not have until the end of 2021 (if they are lucky).

They are stuffing Optane goodies into PCIe 3.0 servers but not telling anyone this is totally pointless........Chipzilla ain't got a PCIe 4.0 capable CPU yet......

In fact they could not even pull off their new 7nm chip fabrication ambitions which has experienced a massive setback of 18 months and longer while they retool and go back to the drawing board to fix the problems.

This is public information by the way (in case you were wondering)..

I in fact read about it on many of the online IT information sources (el reg, ZDNET et al) and cross checked with my contacts in the business in terms of public knowledge on these points.

In the meantime AMD are tooling up for 5nm Zen 4 glory.............Heaven 2.0 is what I am calling that delicious "semper molto dolce" prospect!!

Nutanix Clusters, Xi LEAP, Calm, Beam and Nutanix Karbon for Kubernetes action is also going to be my focus area for 2020 as well as promoting the joys of seamless integration of Public cloud into Nutanix Private Cloud solutions here, there and everywhere.

I will also be renewing my channel relations and bringing them into the action wherever I can as well.

I have already begun with Groupware, eVolve, Dasher, SHI, Presidio West, Kovarus, WWT and others as I get deeper into this new adventure.

Nutanix has become available on a great many more hardware platforms over the last year as well by the way - the HCL list is now pretty impressive.

As of now you can get Nutanix for Nutanix platforms (NX), Dell (XC), Lenovo (HX), HPe (DX), Cisco (UCS B & C) series, and various other Telco rugged formats (Klas Telecom) as well.

There is more....

Nutanix is also available for Inspur, Fujitsu and IBM Power platforms as well.

The last one I mentioned may raise eyebrows in a skeptical vein a tad but its true.

Nutanix for IBM Power platforms is a reality. I have had three companies get into those solutions but they are holding out for pending IBM Power 10 CPU action.

The Power 10 stuff looks like Dark Arts Magic compared with the current generation Power 9 stuff.

There are also droves of OEM Server companies flocking to get their hardware certified and onto the Nutanix HCL.

The Nutanix AMD EPYC journey with HPe and Lenovo as the first EPYC platforms certified for AOS has also begun (August 2019) and I personally am very excited and thrilled about this as I am unashamedly a big AMD bigot and AMD CPU fan boi.

These are now available on single and Dual socket EPYC servers from Dell, Lenovo and HPe, but when you see how many cores you get with EPYC, why it is just totally EPIC.

The one thing I did learn about Ryzen and EPYC CPU ZEN 3 architectures by the way, which is a major XEON killer, is how AMD chips can throttle their GHz from a base frequency of 2.2 GHz to up to 4.4 GHz with no problem at all.

My Chess Engine AI running dual 64 core EPYC 7742's inside a Lenovo SR665 armed with 32 x 128GB Samsung DDR5 RAM slots was able to have a constant frequency when loading all 128 Cores of 3.8 GHz and it would run at a consistent 4.1 GHz when it needed to clock the bastards very heavily.

When the clock dropped it cheerfully went to 2.2 GHz which is its idle clock @ 45 degrees C.

Temps at 3.8 GHz are 72 degrees C and at 4.1 GHz are at 79 degrees C.

This no XEON can do!!

4TB of RAM on this thing also impressed me greatly. These EPYC CPU's love these big 128GB DDR RAM chips a lot. Why, it's just EPYC!!

A Glitch in the BIOS reported RAM as 8TB but it was in fact just 4TB. I did the math stats and double checked. Don't believe the BIOS was my takeway!!

I also half listened to the Lenovo guy (Chris R) who was talking about the new Samsung DDR4 256GB DIMM modules and the fact these boxes will happily support 8TB when that launches.

I am getting one to benchmark when those DDR4 Modules come the way of the Lenovo HPC guys.

I was actually pretty sad that I had to give that SR665 back!!

The HPe DX385 dual core EPYC boxes for Nutanix AOS launched on Thursday 8/27/2020 by the way!!

The HPe DL325 single core EPYC processor platform is a pretty sweet starting point for a starter Nutanix Cluster in my professional opinion, on paper at any rate.

Sadly when you configure one, HPe sends you a quote for $60K each! The Dell XC EPYC equivalent and the Lenovo HX635 come in at $12K apiece, just add the Nutanix software quote and support (around $29K average).

On average, core for core these EPYC CPU's are 19.1% cheaper than XEON and in my opinion are worth 500% more, so they are a fantabulous bargain when you bake what you actually get here into the solution pie and you are getting a lot of worry free compute power here!

No burnt DIMMs, massive I/O, PCIe 4.0, CPU turbo boost, solid reliability, fantasmic performance, 4TB RAM!!

Whack the 64 core EPYC Rome or better CPU in each Node with from 512 GB RAM and 6 x 2TB HDD Drives with up to 2 x 7.68TB SSD and you have yourself quite the 4U Power Package to be your new Data Center (Just add switches).

This brings some memory per core challenges to the table for dual and quad socket EPYC CPU systems though but the motherboard designers have got very creative...lets just hope 8TB RAM per dual core node becomes the Novel standard for now.

I think with these EPYC goodies we are going to need buckets of glorious best quality RAM for the HCI based HPC fun to truly run....

The DX385 AMD based certification final stages were being closed out as I typed this 8/18/2020 and these actually launched on 8/27/2020.

I will have a new blog all about them beasties shortly.

Most of my work in FY21 is going to be on new EPYC stuff and a lot of that will be on the DX385 platform.

As an ex Microprocessor specialist myself (HP PA RISC McKinley series) I have a lot of respect for AMD platforms and I myself have six workstations in my home office that are all new gen AMD 3000 Ryzen or TRX40 based systems.

I now have four ThreadRipper rigs, and two Ryzen 3800X rigs.

The thought of Nutanix nodes bearing 5nm AMD EPYC Genoa series processors sends my brainwaves into all sorts of exotic waves of cerebral cortex pleasure dome conniptions.

I call these EPYC-Nutantgasms and all I can say is there are no words in known languages bar Sanskrit that could possibly come close to describing the blissful joy....

What makes this even more fantasmic is the four threads per core technology with SMT4 on these EPYC Genoa, Zen 4 architectures that is getting served up in the 2021/2022 time-frame....

OMG, I need to go cool my head in a deep bucket of ice somewhere sole surviving synapse is ascending to a higher dimension and frequency of nerd joy!!

I am focusing on the more advanced features and portfolio products Nutanix offers these days, specifically Frame, Citrix driven Nutanix solutions and ERA DBaaS stuff while getting dragged into the automation capabilities of all the Nutanix core platforms.

I am also focusing on my NCSE series certifications but time is an issue there, I simply do not have enough of that right now.

In fact it would be useful if we could knock the planet into a new orbit around old Sol that had 30 hours in a day with 10 months in a year like it used to be (December is latin for Decem which is 10, not 12)......see latin for decade = decem annis (10 years).

I am going to fly more and golf more the next 6 months to balance it all out and ponder the meaning of life, the universe and well.....everything.....

Nutanix Clusters has also sparked several deep conversations with various prospects of mine so I am sure I will be a much more cloudy fellah than I am now over the course of the next few months and I need to find out how to get Nutanix to do an Azure Stack on any hardware platform as well.....

Goals, chaps, goals!! :)

The only thing better than lofty goals are loftier ambitions!!

, IT Tech-Talk Blog focusing on AMD and Nutanix with Cloudy things

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