Nutanix Calm – a deeper look from an automation consultant perspective (Part 1)

The last couple of days I played somewhat around with Nutanix Calm. Calm is the automation Solution from Nutanix based on the Acropolis. The official Calm statement from Nutanix can be found here:

What is Nutanix Calm?

Calm provides application automation and lifecycle management for the Nutanix and public clouds, as part of the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform. Calm orchestrates the provisioning, scaling and management of applications across multiple environments to make the entire IT infrastructure more agile and application centric.

From Organization perspective calm works with Blueprint to organize the layers of the automation.

Also, here an official description:

Nutanix Calm models applications as Blueprints giving you a full end-to-end view of the application, its dependencies, and its requirements. From here you can quickly spin up multiple copies of an application and ensure that each one is done right each time.

Operations can be orchestrated, delegated, and repeated knowing each time that it’s done perfectly no matter who runs it. At the same you gain an impressive amount of visibility into who did what, when, and what the result was because Calm logs all actions and all logs from each action no matter where the application is deployed.

Blueprints can be published to end users based on their group or role, giving them the ability to instantly provision and use applications across clouds while ensuring policy is properly applied and logged. You can attach budgets and quotas to each team to track their unique spend or customize the cost of a particular application to control user behavior based on what applications you want them using.


A lot of customers are asking about Nutanix Acropolis and also for an automation solution. So, I decided to play a little bit around with calm to see how easy it is to archive first results with calm.

Bevor you can start with the development of a first Application you have to understand the different between a Blueprint and an Application.

In the Blueprint you declare the Number of virtual Machines, the “Automation” Part of the VMs and all other necessary things.

The Application is the running configuration of a Blueprint.

So, when you start with calm you have to create a Blueprint bevor you can create an Application. Let’s start with our first Blueprint which will be an easy on. The goal for this Blueprint is to create a running virtual Machine (Linux).


A Windows Open were you must provide a name for the Blueprint. A description is optional, but I would recommend this as a best practice.


After you are done with your Blueprint setup the Main Window of the Blueprint is opened.


Make yourself comfortable with the buttons and screen and then let’s create our first service.

The Services “hold” the virtual machine which offers a service for other virtual machines or user. A service could be a Load Balancer for example or a Webserver. When you create more advanced Blueprint (then this one we are doing now) you can build dependency between different services.

For now we only create one service.

On the left site of the screen we configure the necessary configuration. Create a Service Name, a Name for the Sub (Name is not the VM Name!), choose your Cloud (Nutanix or AWS for example) and your Operating System. I use Linux so that’s my choice.


On the lower part we provide a Name for the VM in our environment. Calm automatically adds some variables to provide unique names in our environment. And the Images we want to use as base for our deployment. If necessary you can change the Device Type and Device Bus. Note the “running men” nearby some of the fields. Here we are able to provide the user who execute the Workflow to provide his configurations variables for example a special VM Name. It is a good practice to provide default values for all parameter.



On the bottom of the field you configure CPU, Memory, additional Disks (VDISK) and the Network. If most network configurations are taken from the Nutanix default configuration so in my case I only need to insert an IP or use DHCP.


The last things to configure is the “Connection” Section. Here you must provide credentials to login to the base image. These credentials are used to configure the VM.

After that Save the Blueprint at give it a first try with “Lunch”

Now we must enter an Application Name and then let’s build the VM.

The build process starts automatically. Under the “Audit” log you can see what happens within your Blueprint and if it is successful.

Till now no rocket science and easy to go……

That’s it for now, in the next post we start to customize our VM…..