Visio by DPTPB: Official Nutanix G6 Visio Stencils

Nutanix has released a new version of their official Visio stencil set for current G6 generation hardware at visiocafe.com

In the past I’ve been quite vocal about the lack of quality with Nutanix Visio stencils. So how does their latest stencil set look like?

Stellar, please read on 🙂

Birth of the unofficial DPTPB Nutanix Stencil

Few years back I decided to make an unofficial set of Nutanix stencils for my own use and later on published it on this blog.

It is no secret that Nutanix NX-appliances are based on Supermicro hardware. Supermicro has quite nice stencils, but unfortunately provides access to their stencil set only to their registered resellers and their shapes are not available to public unlike with many other vendors. Since I had limited access to suitable “donor” shapes, I had to get by what was available on the Internet (very few Supermicro shapes, most of them few generations back) and built the set by modifying existing Supermicro shapes and made some shapes from scratch.

Over the years my unofficial DPTPB Nutanix stencils and related posts have been quite popular, with 3900+ downloads for the stencil set, 3500+ downloads for sample Nutanix Visio drawings and 25000+ views for other Nutanix Visio related posts.

Birth of the new official G6 Nutanix Stencil

If you complain long enough about something, you might be eventually asked do something about it…

Fast forward a year or two: I was contacted by Nutanix asking if they could use my unofficial DPTPB Nutanix Visio shapes as their official Visio shapes and stop wasting money and other valuable resources by trying to create a stencil set on their own. DPTPB Nutanix shapes are more suited for my specific style of drawing and for example there are no detailed front view shapes in my set. Instead of trying to glue together existing DPTPB Nutanix rear view shapes with newly created detailed front view shapes, I decided to start from scratch and create more generic stencil with unified look and feel with the shapes.

I was provided with a limited set of Supermicro “donor” Visio shapes that Nutanix had licensed. The technical quality of these shapes was very good, but unfortunately they were not 100% match with G6 generation NX-appliances and required some modifications. This in turn required dismantling the “donor” shapes into pieces and making required modifications and putting them together again as Visio shapes. While making my unofficial stencil set I had figured out a “hack” with Scalable Vector Graphic format images and some work done outside of Visio (Incscape) to accomplish acceptable results. The downside of this “hack” was that it was quite time-consuming and some details from the original shape were lost while applying the “hack”.

While building the new stencil set I found a new way of modifying existing Visio shapes by using Windows Enhanced Metafile picture format. This new method helped a lot, by saving time and improving the quality of the resulting new shapes to near professional level. I won’t go into the details of this new technique in this post, if you are interested please read: Visio by DBTPB: Reducing size of complex Visio shapes V2.

General Features of the new official Nutanix G6 stencil set

  • Uniform look and feel
  • In correct scale
  • Using only vector based images for better quality when zooming in
  • 19″ rack compatible connection points
  • Connection points for various onboard ports (1GbE, IPMI, etc)
  • Connection points for add-on-cards
  • Matching NIC/GPU add-on-card shapes
  • Connection points for Node Blanking shapes with multi-node blocks
  • Matching Node Blanking Shapes for documenting partially populated blocks
  • Supermicro logos replaced with Nutanix logos
  • Harmonised color scheme

Front View shape features / modifications

  • Detailed front view shapes showing disks, etc. In my unofficial set I had used only generic 1U/2U bezel shapes for front view, so more detailed info available now.
  • Show/hide shape label. I absolutely positively hate Visio shapes where the default action for double-click is to edit shape label. Most of the time you double-click by accident and then the “Edit” window for the label pops up, blocks your view and you lose your track on what you were doing while recovering from the situation. For this reason I’ve disabled this double-click default action for my Nutanix G6 shapes. If for some reason the label text is not to your liking,  use “Shape Data Window” and edit text in “Nutanix Model” field. Anything typed here will end-up in the label. You can also edit the label text directly by selecting a shape and then hitting F2 key, however if you use this method it will break the connection between “Nutanix Model” field and the label text and the text cannot be edited from “Shaped Data” window anymore. so “Shape Data” window is the recommended way of editing label texts.
  • Changed various LEDs to use more uniform toned down coloring scheme. The “donor” shapes had a bit of X-mas tree feeling going on with rainbow of various colored LEDs used.
  • Changed disk activity lights from green/red combination to use blue /red combination as found in their real-world counter parts.
  • Harmonised colors, especially disk tray latches. The “donor” shapes came with latches with various shades of red and orange. Now all disk tray latches are using the same shade of red.
  • Added node identifying letters (A,B,C,D or A,B) for multi-node blocks

Rear View shape features / modifications

  • Most of the details of the ” donor” Supermicro shapes preserved, way better quality than with the unofficial shapes. Only part really missing when compared to the “donor” shapes is some text as fonts from “donor” shapes. This was due to limitation of Visio being not being capable of rendering fonts with size smaller than 1 pt. There is a workaround for this, turn the text into image and you can scale it smaller than 1pt. However this is quite time-consuming, so I skipped it for the initial release. I don’t see many cases where text smaller than 1 pt would be beneficial.
  • Added NIC & GPU add-on-card shapes
    • SFP+ dual-port (10GbE/25GbE)
    • SFP+ quad-port (10GbE/25GbE)
    • QSFP dual-port (40GbE)
    • RJ-45 dual-port (1GbE/10GbE)
    • GPU shapes, M10, M60, P40, V100
    • NIC placeholder shapes with text: NIC1, NIC2,…, GPU1, GPU2, NIC2/GPU1, NIC3/GPU3 to document correct PCI slot assignments
    • Low-profile (LP) and Full-Height (FH) variants for add-on-cards. Nutanix documentation is not very clear about this and sometimes shows no or incorrect information about the card form factor. Typically a given appliance uses only LP cards (NX-1065/3060-G6) or FH cards (NX-5115/8155/8035-G6). However there are few models which use both form factors (NX-1175S/3170/3155-G6).
    • GPU shapes are always FH variants and double wide i.e they take up two PCI slots
    • Special note on NIC1 on NX-1065-G6 and NX-3060-G6: the NIC is flipped vertically, i.e placed into the slot upside down. That is why the stencil set has two versions of LP NICs, V1 for normal orientation and V2 for this special use case. Connection points on nodes shapes are laid out in away that guides users to use the correct versions of the NIC shape. If one tries to place V2 NIC shape into V1 compatible PCI slot, the NIC shape won’t land in correct position, it will land below the PCI slot.
  • Added Node blanking shapes with connection points compatible with nodes in multi-node blocks to document partially populated blocks like NX-1365-G6, NX-3260-G6 and NX-8135-G6
  • Show/Hide shape label
  • Connection point usage hints, hover your mouse over a connection point (yellow round dot) and wait a second or two and a hint of  correct connection point usage will be shown, like type of port or in which order PCI slots should be populated with NIC/GPU cards
  • Added node identifying letters (A,B,C,D or A,B) for multi-node blocks. Since rear view shapes are flipped horizontally when compared to front view shapes, nodes are in different order than in the front view. For example for NX-1065-G6/NX-3060-G6 node A is in the lower LEFT corner of the block in the front view, while node A is in the lower RIGHT corner in the rear view.

Examples of Official Nutanix G6 Visio Shapes

Bezel NX G6 1U

Nutanix-G6-1U-Bezel

Notes:

  • A completely new vector based shape
  • Original Nutanix bezel shape was based on raster image and did not scale so well
  • 19″ rack compatible connection-points
  • Hide/show label
    • Use “Shape Data” pull-down menu to select NX model

Bezel NX G6 2U

Nutanix-G6-2U-Bezel.PNG

Notes:

  • A completely new vector based shape
  • Original Nutanix bezel shape was based on raster image and did not scale so well
  • 19″ rack compatible connection-points
  • Hide/show label
    • Use “Shape Data” pull-down menu to select NX model

NX-1065-G6 Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-1065-G6_Official_Front_View

Notes:

  • Node letters (A,B,C,D) in power button panel

NX-1065-G6 Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-1065-G6_Official_Rear_View

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • Node D NIC1 usage hint shown
  • With NX-1065-G6 platform PCI slot 2 is not in use, therefore no connection points for PCI slot 2.
  • Node letters (D,C,B,A) in side panels.

NX-1175S-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-1175S-G6_Official_Front_View

NX-1175S-G6  Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-1175S-G6_Official_Rear_View

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • IPMI port usage hint shown
  • NIC 1 & NIC 2 placeholder shapes used
  • With NX-1175S-G6 NIC1 is a Full-Height (FH) and NIC2 is a Low-Profile (LP) adapter card.
  • Only one RJ-45 port, IPMI port. No normal onboard 1GbE ports (or IPMI failover port) -> no connection points for onboard 1GbE.
  • Non-Visio related Foundation tip: If you have ordered the unit with NIC equipped with sfp+ ports and are going to run Foundation process on the unit, you will need either 10GbE spf+ capable switch or a 1GbE switch with RJ-45 ports +  at least one third-party sfp+ to RJ-45 tranceiver per NX-1175S-G6 node.

NX-3060-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3060-G6-Official-Front-View.PNG

Notes:

  • Node letters (A,B,C,D) in power button panel

NX-3060-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3060-G6-Official-Rear-View.PNG

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • NIC1 & NIC2 PCI slots populated with dual-RJ-45 adapter shapes
  • With NX-1065-G6 / NX-3060-G6 PCI slots for NIC1 adapter cards are upside down when compared to PCI slots for NIC2 adapter cards, thus connection points for NIC1 are in different position.
  • You should use V2 NIC shapes for NIC1 and V2  NIC shapes for NIC1 with NX-3060-G6 and NX-1065-G6 platforms.
  • Why not V1 for NIC1 and V2 for NIC2?
  • V2 NIC shapes are exception specific to NX-1065-G6 and NX-3060-G6 PCI slot 1, for all the other NX appliances you should use V1 NIC shapes for all LP PCI slots.
  • Node letters (D,C,B,A) in side panels.

NX-3155-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3155-G6-Official-Front-View

Notes:

  • NX-3155-G6 shape is not fully populated with disks as it is only supported to use six disks with this platform.
  • Rest of disk bays are empty and their activity lights are turned off

NX-3155-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3155-G6-Official-Rear-View

Notes:

  • NIC1 & NIC2 and GPU1 & GPU2/NIC3 placeholder shapes used
  • While NX-3155-G6 shares the same basic rear view shape as NX-5/8155-G6, this shape has different connection points for add-on-cards due to different PCI slot assignment prorities.
  • With NX-3155-G6 platform NIC1 is a LP form factor card and NIC2 / NIC3 are FH form factor cards
  • NX-3155-G6 supports up to two NVidia GPU cards, each card taking space of two PCI slots

NX-3170-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3170-G6-Official_Front_View

NX-3170-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3170-G6-Official_Rear_View

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • Available PCI slots populated by dual-port sfp+ NIC and Nvidia M60 GPU
  • NX-3170-G6 supports one NVidia GPU card
  • NIC1 is LP form factor, and if NIC2 is used instead of GPU it is a FH form factor card

NX-5155-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-5155-G6-Official-Front-View

Notes:

  • Shares the same basic shape as NX-3155-G6, but with all 12 drive bays populated

NX-5155-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-5155-G6-Official-Rear-View

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • NIC1 PCI slot usage hint shown
  • Shares the same basic shape as NX-3155-G6, but has different PCI slot assignment priorities and different connection points for add-on-cards.
  • With this platform all NICs are FH form factor
  • Up to 3 NICs  per node

NX-8035-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-8035-G6-Official-Front-View.PNG

Notes:

  • Node letters (A,B) in power button panel

NX-8035-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-8035-G6-Official-Rear-View.PNG

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • Node B NIC1 PCI slot usage hint shown
  • Node letters (B,A) in side panels.

NX-8155-G6, Front View Shape

Nutanix-NX-8155-G6-Official-Front-View.PNG

Notes:

  • Shares the same shape as NX-5155-G6
  • All 12 drive bays populated

NX-8155-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-8155-G6-Official-Rear-View.PNG

Notes:

  • All the connection points (small yellow circles) shown
  • NIC2 PCI slot usage hint shown
  • Shares the same shape and PCI slot assignment priorities and connection points as NX-5155-G6
  • All NICs in FH form factor
  • Up to 3 NICs  per node

NX-8135-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-8135-G6-Official-Rear-View.PNG

Notes:

  • Partially populated NX-8035-G6, i.e NX-8135-G6
  • Node B covered with Node 2U2N Blanking shape

NX-3360-G6, Rear View Shape

Nutanix-NX-3360-G6-Official-Rear-View.PNG

Notes:

  • Partially populated NX-3060-G6, i.e NX-3360-G6
  • Node D covered with Node 2U4N Blanking shape

NIC / GPU Shapes

Nutanix-NIC-Shapes

Cable Stencil

I am a big fan of color coding when making drawings with cabling in place. In my drawings I’ve been using the same color scheme for cables for years. I can look at a three-year old drawing of mine at 100% zoom and by looking at cable colors I already know which type cables are used. Should I need more information I can zoom in and get more detailed information.

I’ve included a separate cable stencil in the Nutanix G6 Stencil package.

Two types of cable shapes

  • Cables
    • With circle shapes at both ends
      • Within the circles there is more info
        • speed
        • or
        • In case of DAC cables, cable manufacturer and speed
    • Each cable comes with two variants
      • Variant “Pri” with continuous line
      • Variant “Alt” with dotted line
    • Number of cable legs
      • 1 to 7 legs (or 0 to 6 turns)
      • Depending on cable routing different number of cable legs is required
      • Number of cable legs can be changed in “Shape Data” window
      • The default is 5 legs (or 4 turns)
  • Placeholder shapes
    • There are situations where running cables would be too time-consuming
    • For those situations I’ve created placeholder shapes
    • Basically same circles as found at the cable ends, but no cable running in between.
    • You can place the placeholder shapes in NIC ports to show which type of cable should be used with that port. This way you easily count for example how many optical sfp+ modules are needed.

Colors used

  • Black = Direct Attached Copper, DAC cable
    • Vendor variants:
      • BRCD = Brocade
      • CSCO = Cisco
      • HPE = Hewlett Packard Enterprise
      • NTNX = Nutanix
    • Speed variants:
      • 10 GbE / 40 GbE
      • 40 GbE to 4x10GbE split cable
  • Orange = Fiber connected Ethernet
    • Speed variants:
      • 10GbE, 25GbE, 40GbE,50GbE,100GbE
      • 40 GbE to 4x10GbE split cable
  • Red = RJ-45 connected Ethernet
    • Variants:
      • IPMI, 1GbE, 10GbE

Example: Set of cable and placeholder shapes

Cables

Additional posts on cabling:

Exporting Visio drawings to another format

While there is a free Visio viewer available, it is a separate install and rarely found on end-user computers. To share Visio content with non-Visio users, typically finished drawings are also saved in some other format, either as copy-pasted as pictures into other applications like Word or Powerpoint or saved as PDF files. In order to maintain good image quality some special steps are needed while moving content outside of Visio. Using standard copy-pasting will convert the images to equivalent of jpg-files and you will lose the ability to zoom in while keeping the image sharpness good. With jpg type of images the more you zoom in, the more blurry the image becomes.

Exporting / Copying images to other windows applications

  • Instead of using standard copy-paste or ctrl-c / ctrl-v sequence
  • Use normal copy or ctrl-c in Visio
  • But when pasting in Word or Powerpoint
  • Select “Paste Special”
  • Select “Picture (Enhanced Metafile)”
  • Hit “OK”
  • This way you paste the image in vector format and can scale the image in Word/Powerpoint/PDF and keep the image quality good and sharp

Exporting images to PDF format

Saving as PDF file directly from Visio causes image quality deterioration. My recommendation is to use CutePDF Writer instead and print the drawing to CutePDF virtual printer, which saves the results in PDF format with better quality than the built-in PDF converter.

More details: CutePDF vs Save as PDF in Visio

Development ideas

Older generation shapes G4/G5

  • Are these needed?
  • Leave feedback and if requested enough, maybe Nutanix will dig into their pockets and we will get funding for older generation Visio shapes.

Future generation shapes

  • TBD as new HW generations are released by Nutanix
  • Hopefully soon after or at the same time as the HW announcement/release

Dynamic Shapes

  • Maybe Dynamic disk labels
  • Add more elements into front view shapes like dynamic disk labels showing disk type and size
  • Use pull down menus to populate the labels
  • The shape could contain all supported disk combinations for a given platform
  • No need to manually input data into labels or verify if the combination is supported
  • Take a look at featured image at the very top of this post and you will get an idea how these shapes might look like
  • Topic for future post

Feedback, please

I am quite pleased with the results, but that is just me and after a while one becomes blind to their own mistakes. If you have any feedback or ideas regarding this stencil set, please leave a note in the comments section of this post and I’ll try to address it.

  • Any bugs found?
  • Some shapes missing?
  • Some functionality missing?
  • Maybe some shape looks funky when exported to PDF format?
  • Supermicro “donor” shapes came with connection points for
    • USB ports
    • VGA port
    • Serial port (if present)
    • Power Supplies
  • I’ve left them in place, but I am considering removing them, as I would not normally connect any cables to those connection points while documenting Nutanix environments. Having too many connection points adds clutter and makes the shape harder to use. If you have objections and can present reasonable reason why I should leave some or all of them in place, please leave a comment.

BUG list

  • With cable shape there is a bug, which causes the cable to disappear when a cable leg is at certain length. I haven’t figured out why this happens. As a workaround use different routing for the cable by pulling cable leg control points (small yellow circles) in to slightly different position and until the cable reappears again.

Congrats if you made it this far, quite a lengthy post with 3008 words 🙂

 

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