Xi IoT Platform— What’s cookin’?

Xi IoT Platform— What’s cookin’_

In my last blog Xi IoT’s continued journey to be a Multi-Cloud Platform, I wrote about a few new features we added to take this platform from the “Edge” to the multiple “Clouds”. No matter where you need to run your apps, you’ll have a solid platform to run them.

Check my previous blog Xi IoT : Another year in retrospect to get overview of everything Xi IoT has to offer. 

Expanding platform capabilities with agility

We follow Agile Methodology not for its namesake but to remain agile in our execution. We continuously listen to our customers and partners as they tell us about their product experience and incorporate their feedback as much as possible when engineering Xi IoT.

When our customers experience that “Aha!” moment, it validates our belief that the best use of our engineering minds is developing features that address a specific use case or pain point. There’s no better use of our time than to build delightful products.

In that spirit, we just shipped the fruits of our most recent sprint and added some handy features. Read on!

What’s new? Well, What’s New!

This feature was long pending. I admit that we didn’t spend any time figuring out the best way to notify our customers and partners about new features we’re bringing out to them. We have fixed this problem now. When we release new new features and updates, you will see a notification in the console, with links to release notes and resolved issues.

Instance based Application life cycle management

Xi IoT’s Container service is designed such that you can define App once (as Helm chart or yaml spec) and tell the platform where to run it. The platform will make sure the App runs on handful of Service Domains or thousands of Service Domains.

Even with such a great feature, sometimes customers want to stop the application on a specific Service Domain (out of thousands of Service Domains). For example, a maintenance window at given location might demand all Apps shutdown and then restarted once the maintenance window is over.

With the newest release of Xi IoT, you can stop the App on one or more Service Domains. 

Stop any application deployment on any Service Domain.
Quickly get overview of App across multiple Service Domains

Add/Remove nodes to Service Domain (TechPreview)

We introduced Tech Preview of multi node Xi Service Domain few months ago to enable use cases beyond edge computing. With this most recent release, we added the ability to add and remove individual nodes in the Xi Service Domain. You can now resize your Service Domain to adjust to your workloads running on them. Tech Preview, of course, so don’t try this in production, please!

Platform services running on multi node Xi Service Domain will take advantage of this new capability. For example, managed Kafka service on Xi Service Domain will automatically recognize newly added nodes and their storage capacity.

Provision shared (Highly available) storage for Service Domains

With multiple nodes to run your containers, you need durable storage. The primary reason for having multiple nodes is to ensure high availability for your Apps. Tolerating underlying hardware failures or Service Domain node failures is built into Xi Service Domain. Containers will be scheduled to run on other nodes. But what about the persistent storage ?

That’s where the highly available storage is needed. We have added support for Nutanix Volumes. Just by providing credentials to Nutanix AOS cluster, you can provision durable shared storage backed by Nutanix storage technology. 

Configure Nutanix Volumes as shared storage for Service Domain

Setup HTTP(S) Proxy for Service Domains

If your network policies demand that all HTTP network traffic must flow through a proxy server, you can now configure Xi Service Domain to work with an HTTP proxy. Since on-boarding of Xi Service Domain will need proxy setup, we have made it possible to configure proxy using cloud-init script. As most infrastructures support cloud-init script, proxy can be configured during first boot of Xi Service Domain. Please refer to product documentation on how to configure HTTP proxy.

Your network may have secure HTTP proxy and hence the clients like Xi Service Domain need to have proper SSL certificates available to establish the channel with secure HTTP proxy. We have added support for uploading SSL certificates to Xi Service Domain using cloud-init script. Please see the Xi IoT documentation on the Nutanix Support Portal for details to to configure SSL certificates for secure HTTP proxy.

Here is sample cloud-init script to setup HTTPS proxy and certificates:

#vim: syntax=yaml
- path: /etc/http-proxy-environment
  content: |
- path: /etc/systemd/system/docker.service.d/http-proxy.conf
  content: |
- path: /etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors/proxy.crt
  content: |
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----
- update-ca-trust force-enable
- update-ca-trust extract
- yum-config-manager --setopt=proxy=http://PROXY_IP_ADDRESS:PORT --save
- systemctl daemon-reload
- systemctl restart docker
- systemctl restart sherlock_configserver

Choose your Over the Air Software Updates from previous two releases

You can now choose to upgrade your Service Domains to any of the last two releases in addition to the most recent release. With this feature, you can plan to rollout new software to large number of Service Domains over a schedule that suits you.

Although Xi IoT product follows a monthly cadence for new releases, you can plan a longer time window for upgrading all the Service Domains spread across thousands of geographical locations. You get more control over how and when you want to rollout new software version.

View per Service Domain Upgrade History

You can now view most recent upgrade history for individual Service Domains without leaving the Service Domains Upgrades page.

Review new Task History

You can now review history of recent Upgrade tasks across hundreds of Service Domains.

Xi Service Domain OVA for ESXi 

If you’re deploying Xi Service Domain in vSphere/ESXi environment, we made it easier by providing an OVA file. You can download the OVA file from Nutanix Support Portal.

Once deployed, and on-boarded, the Service Domain can be upgraded to future releases via Over The Air software updates.

Wrapping Up

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.

Why don’t you give these features a try on iot.nutanix.com? Sign up for a free Trial. The Xi IoT Product Engineering Team is listening and welcomes your feedback at iot@nutanix.com.