Product : Nutanix, ECP [HCI]/5.19, Ultimate
Feature : Fileserver Type, File Services, Data Services
Content Owner:  Herman Rutten
Built-in (native)
Nutanix native fileserving feature is called Nutanix Files (previously Acropolis File Services or AFS). Today Nutanix Files is a 3rd generation solution. The current release is 3.7.1.

With Nutanix Files, Nutanix offers a software-defined scale-out file serving solution for Windows environments with a single namespace. The solution is highly available, scalable, and supports Active Directory and LDAP integration, Windows previous versions, user and share quotas, as well as Access Based Enumeration (ABS). Nutanix Files can be used to host home directories, department shares and user profiles.

Nutanix Files 3.7.1 introduces limited Local User Support for SMB shares. Local users can be added to a file server using the command line or the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Local Users and Groups snap-in. Nutanix Files 3.7.1 only supports native-SMB limited local users on SMB shares. Local groups are not supported.

Nutanix Files 3.7.1 introduces Continuous Availability of SMB shares, preventing client disconnection from a current session during a loss of service. Nutanix Files uses persistent file handles to facilitate continuously available (CA) shares. Persistent file handles improve the SMB caching mechanism of multi-user writes to facilitate continuous availability.

Nutanix Files 3.7 supports Nutanix nodes with up to 240TB of HDD storage. The volume groups that underpin the standard and distributed shares of Nutanix Files can now scale up to double the size, 280TB.

Nutanix Files 3.7 introduced greater flexibility by allowing creation of a customized namespace. Namespace customization comes from the new ability to mount shares as subdirectories within existing shares.

Nutanix Files 3.7 introduced the ability to change the block size based on either a more random or more sequential I/O profile. For random workloads a maximum block size of 16KB can be specified, and for sequential workloads a block size up to 1MB can be specified. Nutanix internal testing has shown sequential workload performance improvements up to 25 percent, and random workload benefits up to 45 percent.

Nutanix Files 3.7 introduced non-GA support for SMB 3.0 transparant failover, also called continuous availability (CA) shares. CA shares allow for durable and persistent file handles to minimize the impact of any storage disruption during failure or upgrade events. CA shares are intended for applications like Citrix App Layering and Fslogix that demand non-disruptive operations. SMB 3.0 transparent failover is a Technical Preview feature with the Nutanix Files 3.7 release.

Nutanix Files 3.6 introduced Windows Server 2019 support, File Blocking, SMB Message encryption, Durable SMB File Handles, Multi-byte Support for Share Root (NFS), AOS NearSync Disaster Recovery, Scale-up recommendation (vCPU and RAM).

Nutanix Files 3.6 supports a maximum size of 140TB for a general file share and a maximum size of 200TB per FSVM for a home share. Nutanix Files supports a maximum of 4,000 connections per FSVM (12 vCPU; 64-90GB RAM).

Nutanix Files 3.6 supports SMB 2.0/2.1/3.0 as well as NFS v3/v4 protocols to provide file shares/exports for Windows, Apple Mac, Linux and UNIX clients. Nutanix Files can be leveraged in VMware vSphere and AHV environments only, so there is no support for Hyper-V. AOS for AHV on IBM Power Systems also does not offer Nutanix Files support.

Nutanix Files 3.6 provides SMB 3.0 basic protocol support, so without specific SMB 3.0 features. Nutanix Files supports both NFSv3 and NFS v4, however Nutanix Files does not support the UDP protocol or Kerberos for NFS v3.

NFS v4 exports can be either distributed or non-distributed. A distributed export ("sharded") means the data is spread across all Nutanix Fle Services VMs (FSVMs) to help improve performance and resiliency. A non-distributed export ("non-sharded") means all data is contained in a single FSVM.

Nutanix Files 3.6 supports the following AOS capabilities: Erasuse Coding, Software Encryption. Nutanix Files also supports self-encrypting drives (SEDs). Deduplication is not recommended.

AFS 3.0 introduced an API that allows third-party developers to implement backup server change file tracking. This means that the API allows the backup application to record and collect information about any changes to the files in each snapshot sent to the backup server, thus providing a log of all file changes across snapshots.

AFS 3.0 introduced an API that allows third-party developers to implement file activity monitoring in their applications. Thsi means that the API allows an application to collect information about every action on each file in a file server and thus supports audit logging (eg. to a syslog server) and Global Name Space.

Nutanix Files is an add-on and thus requires a separate capacity-based license for all editions.