Recently I faced lot of issues while deploying Nutanix Community edition in my lab.

I know that it is not ideal to run Nutanix CE in nested configuration as performance will be affected, but if you don’t have separate compatible hardware available you are still able to install it and play with it

This steps will work for 1 layer to 3 layers of nested virtualization.

3 Layers of virtualization  means  AHV running as VM on a ESXi host and ESXi host is residing on a vAPP as a VM and vAPP is running on vCloud director.

This steps can also be followed in case you are using VMware workstation, VMware fusion, ESXi.

Step 1 – prepare the boot disk

To Download Nutanix CE you can visit:

Once you download the Nutanix CE package from the community page, it will download as a tar.gz file. Extract this file.

The file that is extracted will end in an .img extension. Rename this file to a .vmdk extension. For me this was around an 8GB file. This is the flat VMDK, so we need to add a descriptor VMDK file

Create a descriptor file as below and save it as ce.vmdk.

Step 2 – Prepare the VM

  1. Create a VM
    1. create new Centos 4/5/6/7 (64bit) VM
    2. 12vCPUs (minimum of 4 vCPU) (If its 2 layer nested environment 6-8 vCPU recommended )
    3. 128GB RAM (minimum of 16GB RAM) (If nested environment 20-24 GB of RAM should be reserved.)
    4. 500GB vmdk for HDD  (Cold Storage)
    5. 250GB vmdk for SSD (Hot storage)
    6. Intel e1000 NIC
  1. browse the datastore where you stored the VM and upload ce-flat.vmdk and ce.vmdk
  2. edit VM
  1. Enable virtualization for VM – select CPU -> Hardware virtualization -> Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS.
    1. add new SATA controller
    1. attach existing disk ce.vmdk as SATA disk

Step 3 – Installation

  1. Start the VM ->press F2 to enter BIOS -> setup SATA disk as default boot disk
  2. boot the server from SATA disk
  3. Boot the AHV in rescue mode

Before you start installing AHV and CVM you need to edit 3 files, default.xml, capabilities.xml.

Login with user root and nutanix/4u as password.

     1.Locate file under directory /home/install/phx_iso/phoenix 

Modify SSD IOPS values from 5000 to 4000/3000

SSD_rdIOPS_thresh = 4000

SSD_wrIOPS_thresh = 4000

     2.Secondly edit the default.xml file which you will find it under below location: /home/install/phx_iso/phoenix/svm_template/kvm/default.xml

Edit the default.xml file and underneath the features section

3. Lastly locate the capabilities file which is located /var/cache/libvirt/qemu/capabilities/<number>.xml

Basically, in the qemu capabilities file, you are simply removing the existing pc-i440fx-rhel7.2.0 file and renaming the pc-i440fx-rhel7.3.0 to 7.2.0. My file looked like the following before making the changes.

4. Start installation login as user “install”

Step 4 – enable “Promiscuous mode”

Enable “Promiscuous mode” on the vSwitch or virtual machine network where you have nutanix-ce VM connected. Otherwise controller VM is not accessible.