Nutanix CE Cluster on MAC Mini

Setting up a Nutanix CE Cluster in a nested environment is straight forward, but doesn’t give you the real deal. Let’s take a look on how you can install a Nutanix CE Cluster on MAC Mini or Intel NUC.

My old lab was running ESXi on three Mac Mini i7 Quad Core (2012) with 16 GB of memory, the internal 1 TB Apple HDD and a Samsung EVO 840 250/500 GB SSD using the OWC Data Doubler kit.

Now as you know 16 GB of memory is not much for a professional home lab, so my MAC Mini lab has now been replaced with one SuperMicro SuperServer with 128 GB of memory, check the webinar Building The “Worlds Fastest” Kickass Home Lab to learn more.

Nutanix CE Cluster

The plan is to use these Mac Mini’s for my kids office PC’s in the future, but since they’re still only 3 & 4 years old, building a REAL Nutanix Community Edition (CE) Cluster makes totally sense. The memory limitation is still there, but it’s way better than running a nested Cluster.

Nutanix CE Cluster – Installation

The install process has been described perfectly in the post How to create a nested virtual NutanixCE cluster, so no need for me to repeat.

Nutanix CE installs without any problems on Mac Mini, the only thing to remember is to set the default boot to USB.

Out of the box the Nutanix Cluster VM (CVM) uses 12 GB of memory, but since I’ve tuned that to 8 GB (6 GB won’t work when preforming cloning). So I got 22 GB memory and 2.70 TB storage which should be enough for running a small Citrix XenApp PoC environment.

Nutanix CE Cluster

To be honest, setting up a VM in Nutanix is PITA and I guess there’s many Admins wasting valuable time without knowing there exist a FREE solution to their pain. Check the post Create VMs on Nutanix Community Edition for all the details.

Nutanix CE Cluster

I’m planning to test all the new Nutanix 4.6 Features, and to be able to do so it’s required to install the new Nutanix Guest Tools (NGT) on all VM’s.

First make sure that your cluster has an external cluster IP. This is done through Settings – Cluster Details.

Nutanix CE Cluster

Always use this IP address when you connect to the Prism GUI, because it will always redirect you to the current Zeus leader.

To enable NGT, make sure you have an empty CD-Rom and click on Enable NGT.

Nutanix CE Cluster

Then install NGT inside the VM. My CTP fellow Kees Baggerman has opened a helpdesk ticket, so hopefully you’ll see a new blog post from me soon on how to automatically install NGT through Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT.

If you install a Nutanix CE cluster on MAC Mini or other hardware, you should probably want to disable IPMI and SMTP (not avaiable in CE) health checks.

Nutanix CE Cluster

If you’re so lucky to have IPMI, take a look at this post to get rid of your Java problems once and for all.

All my labs run in isolated environments, which in the case of Nutanix means running vLAN’s. I really like the DHCP feature and the possibility to also assign static IP addresses to VMs.

Nutanix CE Cluster

Nutanix CE Cluster

Nutanix CE Cluster

Now running a real Nutanix CE Cluster in my lab let me learn and experience more real world stuff compared to running a nested Nutanix CE Cluster.

I was having problems with traffic flowing between the VM’s. This is normally not a problem if you’re using an unmanaged switch, but in a professional home lab you should have an managed switch like the inexpensive HP ProCurve Switch 1810G-24 24 Gigabit ports J9450A that I bought on eBay for $135.

After adding vLAN 22 to the ports everything was working as expected. Thanks to fellow Nutanix NTC’s for helping out. Also be aware that some HP ProCurve have Port Security which needs to be disabled to allow for more than 2 MAC addresses. Lessons learned!

My Nutanix CE Cluster has been running smoothly the last week, stay tuned for more Nutanix insights as the lab grows.

Nutanix CE Cluster


6 Responses to Nutanix CE Cluster on MAC Mini

    • Hi Aldo, I did try to set it to 6GB which was recommended in another blog post. That was sluggish and most importantly cloning didn’t work. 8GB seems to be a nice number, at least for my hardware. What hardware are you using? Intel NUC?

  1. I realize it’s been over a year. I’m looking into setting up a low-wattage lab like this, using clustering (which I know nothing about). Have you tested powering off one of the mini’s? Does the cluster survive, and even continue running, including all the VMs?

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