Visio by DBPTB: Official Nutanix G7 Visio Stencil

Nutanix is refreshing their appliances to G7 generation hardware which will eventually replace G6 generation hardware. Transition is done in phases, first platforms to get G7 refresh are already released multi-node models NX-1065-G7, NX-3060-G7 and NX-8035-G7, followed by single-node models NX-3155G-G7, NX-8155-G7. Additionally single node NX-8150-G7 reappears in the model lineup.

The fate of remaining G6 platforms NX-1175S-G6, NX-3170-G6 and NX-5155-G6 has not been released yet. I would expect them to be updated in some form or other, but you never know until they are released, some might be dropped or altered. If these models are crucial to your future Nutanix projects, please check the availability and specifications for G7 variants from your local Nutanix Rep.

The official Nutanix stencils will be updated following new hardware releases. The latest stencil package can be found from Visiocafe. The initial update will include new NX-1065-G7, NX-3060-G7 and NX-8035-G7 shapes, more shapes will be released as time goes on. This stencil release also includes fixes for some scaling issues, namely using Nutanix shapes with Viso “No Scale” page settings or Visio “Blank drawing” templates.

Intel Skylake vs Intel Cascade Lake Nutanix licensing implications

Before diving into Visio specific changes, let’s go over some CPU specific stuff, which might have Nutanix software licensing implications. If you are only interested in Visio stuff, you can skip this chapter.

With G7 appliances Nutanix is using Intel Cascade Lake CPUs, while G6 appliances were based on Intel Skylake CPUs. Cascade Lake CPUs can be identified from CPU model number, the second digit is now 2, with Skylake it was 1.

Example:

  • Skylake CPU: Gold 5120 [14 cores / 2.2 GHz]
  • Cascade Lake CPU: Gold 5220 [18 cores / 2.2 GHz]

With some Cascade Lake CPUs Intel has decided to boost performance by adding more cores per socket while maintaining the same pricing tier. With Nutanix appliances this has pricing/licensing implications as Nutanix software is licensed based on CPU core count with Capacity Based Licensing (CBL) model.

So if you are looking to replace your CPU and want to maintain or minimise the increase in your Nutanix software licensing costs, you might have to choose lower or even higher spec G7 CPU, rather than using the same CPU model as you used in G6 generation.  In some cases there is no direct equivalent in terms of core count, Gold 5×20 being one of those CPUs, G6 5120 CPU has 14 cores / CPU, while G7 CPU has 18 cores / CPU. There is no 14 core CPUs in Intel Cascade Lake line up (at least not with the CPU models that Nutanix is using). For example with NX-8035-G7 you could use one of below CPUs instead of 5220 and minimise your licensing cost increase or in some cases even lower your licensing costs:

  • Gold 6242 [16 cores / 2.8 GHz]
    • Two more cores / CPU when compared to G6 generation 5120
      • Only two more Nutanix core licenses required (instead of four more core licenses required with 5220)
    •  Higher CPU clock frequency
      • 2.8 Ghz vs 2.2 Ghz
      • better single threaded performance
    • More expensive CPU
      • Intel list price 2678$ (6242) vs 1555$ (5220)
  • Silver 4216 [16 cores / 2.1 GHz]
    • Two more cores / CPU when compared to G6 generation 5120
      • Only two more Nutanix core licenses required (instead of four more core licenses required with 5220)
    • Lower CPU clock frequency
      • 2.1 Ghz vs 2.2 Ghz
      • Slightly slower clock speed
      • Performance might not differ much due to other improvements with Cascade Lake, for example fixes for Spectre vulnerability
    • Cheaper CPU
      • Intel list price 1086$ (4216) vs 1555$ (5220)
  • Silver 4214 [12 cores / 2.2 GHz]
    • Two less cores / CPU when compared to G6 generation 5120
      • Lower Nutanix licensing costs
    • The same clock frequency
      • Lower core count might be offset by Cascade Lake improvements
    • Cheaper CPU
      • Intel list price 694$ (4216) vs 1555$ (5220)

Obviously your CPU selection should be driven by business requirements and the applications used, some benefit form higher core count, while others benefit from higher clock frequency.

Furthermore Silver and Gold family CPUs have other internal hardware differences affecting the performance, performance is not just based on raw core count + clock frequency. There are also other factors in play, like CPU cache sizes and bandwidth and number of lanes used for internal communication within the CPU. You can use this nice CPU comparison tool to further evaluate performance characteristics of different CPUs.

If you want a deep dive in technical details between Skylake and Cascade Lake CPU, I found following article helpful : https://www.nextplatform.com/2019/04/02/intel-pushes-xeon-sps-to-the-next-level-with-cascade-lake/

Using Nutanix shapes with Visio “No Scale” drawings or “Blank Drawing” templates

After releasing the G6 visio stencil, we received feedback that the stencil is broken and the shapes had weird distorted dimensions when pulled from stencil to drawing.

Example: Distorted original NX-1065-G6 front view Visio shape with “No Scale” drawing

distorted_NX-1065-G6_shape

Example: the same shape with “In scale” drawing

non_distorted_NX-1065-G6_shape

The reason for this “error” or “issue” was that the users were using the default page setting “No scale” or “1:1” or using “Blank Drawing” Visio template (which has “No Scale” page setting). Unfortunately these settings don’t work very well in documenting IT infrastructures and many IT companies releasing their stencils have following (copyright http://www.visiocafe.com) or similar footnote accompanying their stencil set.

These stencils work best for any scale templates from 1:2 to 1:30 but NOT Visio’s “Blank Page” which is 1 to 1 (no-scale)
Visio’s “Blank page” causes much frustration. “

Some companies have decided to supply Visio shapes that work only with scaled drawings. Some have decided accommodate “No Scale” drawings as well. Originally Nutanix shapes were not designed to accommodate “No Scale” drawings. After some internal debate and test shapes Nutanix decided to accommodate “No Scale” drawings as well, since it could be accomplished without affecting too much the user experience of users that were using scaled drawings. Going forward all official Nutanix Visio shapes should work with “No scale” drawings.

It is still my strong recommendation to avoid using “No scale” page setting or “Blank page” template when making drawings with Nutanix shapes. Your drawing might also include shapes from other manufacturers that have decided NOT to make their compatible with “No scale” drawings. Mixing “No Scale compatible” shapes and “No Scale non-compatible” shapes in the same “No scale” drawing will have unpredictable results. Once you start with “No scale” drawing there is no easy way to revert the drawing to “Scaled” mode  and weird things might happen if you try do so.

Making shapes “No scale” compatible makes shape development more complex and time consuming and will sometimes limits the features available to be used with the shapes. One such example is Nutanix cable shapes. With cable shapes custom “line end” shapes  were used. Unfortunately custom “line end” shapes proved to be incompatible with “No scale” drawings with no reasonable way to make them compatible. To maintain “No Scale” compatibility throughout the Nutanix stencil collection, the custom “cable” shapes were dropped from the cable stencil set. If you liked the custom cable shapes, please keep using  older version of the official Nutanix cable stencil or download my older unofficial Nutanix stencil set, which has the same cable shapes (+more).

“No scale” support with Nutanix shapes is “best-effort” and might not work all the time with every permutation of Visio page settings. To be on the safe side, use any page scale from 1:2 to 1:30 you won’t have any of the problems related to “No Scale” drawings.

Nutanix G7 Visio shapes

With most of G7 Nutanix models there is no visual difference when compared to G6 hardware, in such cases a G7 shape is a copy of G6 shape with new name and very minor internal changes.

I will only cover more in depth the models which have some visual changes and thus needed an updated Visio shape. The specs for G6/G7 shapes that have remained the same can be found from my earlier post : Visio by DPTPB: Official Nutanix G6 Visio Stencils

NX-3060-G7

The visual look of NX-3060-G6 is not different than NX-3060-G7,  but I took the opportunity to fix the front view shape little bit. In the original NX-3060-G6 front view shape all the disk latches had a “lock” symbol. This was somewhat misleading as these special latches are only used with NVMe disks and this platform could only support NVMe drives in only eight disk bays, not all disk bays were capable of supporting NVMe drives.

Example: Old NX-3060-G6 shape with disk latches containing lock symbols

NX-3060-G6

Example: New NX-3060-G6 / NX-3060-G7 shape with disk latches without lock symbols

nx-3060-g7

NX-3155G-G7

Currently the only G7 model that supports GPU cards. If G7 follows suit with G6 generation this model can support up to two GPU cards. 2U form factor allows more room to handle heat load generated by high-end CPUs and GPU cards. Even though there are 12 disk slots available, only six of them can be used with NX-3155G-G7. With G7 generation NX-3155G-G7 uses different disk slots than G6 version. Now with G7 disk slots 1,2,4,5,7 and 8 are used, when G6 used slightly diffent disk slots, 1,4,5,7,8 and 10. This change warranted a new front view shape for NX-3155G-G7, where correct disks had their activity lights turned on .

Example: NX-3155G-G6 front view shape

nx-3155g-g6_front

Example: NX-3155G-G7 front view shape

nx-3155G-G7_front

NX-8150-G7

This model returns to line up in G7 generation, the last time it was available with G5 generation and for some reason Nutanix decided to skip this model for G6 generation. To me reintroducing this model makes sense, especially with SSD / NVMe drives. With 2.5″ drives you can use up to 24 disk drives without compromising any physical space when compared let’s say to it’s sibling NX-8155-G7. With NX-8155-G7 you have only 12 drive bays  in 2U and using SSDs with 3.5″ disk carriers is kind of waste of space. NX-8150-G7 equipped with 24 x 7.68TB SSD drives could offer whopping ~ 184 TB of raw SSD space, not sure if that is supported configuration as the detailed specs are not out yet. Both NX-8150-G7 and NX-8155-G7 still have their place, especially if you prefer using HDDs, with NX-8150-G7 the largest HDD is measly 2TB drive (update Oct 2, 2019: NX-8150-G7 does not support HDDs at all, only SSD and NVMe drives are supported), while NX-8155-G7 supports up to 12TB HDDs, so NX-8155-G7 makes more sense any use case involving spinning disks.

Example: NX-8150-G7 front view shape

nx-8150-g7_front

Example: NX-8150-G7 rear view shape

nx-8150-g7_rear

Goodbye Arrow 🙂

P.S As of today I’ve decided to leave Arrow, effective immediately. Big thanks to all my customers, vendors and co-workers I’ve had pleasure to work with. Open to suggestions for Presales / Technical Marketing Engineer types of jobs or if you wish to get your Nutanix or Netapp environment documented with Visio 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s