Nutanix AHV : Running Windows 11 beta


Background

This is not a big secret, the next famous OS from Microsoft leaked over the Internet few days ago. Windows 11 beta. I'm not a Windows fan, but I'm curious about anything technology related (as you already notice since you are here). I was wondering how it looks and what is the experience. The only quick and easy platform that I have with me is a Nutanix AHV cluster. I wonder if it works.

Virtualization : AHV

Of course, this is nonsense to use a physical laptop to try it at this stage, so I decided to try on a VM. But wait, I have a Nutanix cluster to play with !

Note : if you want to achieve the same thing with vmware 7, you can check out the blog post of my good friend and fellow NTC Al Rasheed here.

First, you need to get Windows 11 beta. Next upload it to the Nutanix Image Service as an ISO image.


My Nutanix environment : 
  • Hardware Platform (very old) : NX-1050
  • AHV : el7.nutanix.20190916.253
  • AOS : 5.17.1.3 STS
  • VirtIO drivers : 1.1.6
VM settings :
  • Cores : 5
  • RAM : 8 GB
  • Storage : 30 GB
  • NIC : 1 GE
Do not forget to add the VirtIO driver to allow Windows to see your disks and NICs !

Now, we can power it up !


The first boot is slow. I was about to give up until a saw the VM statistics. It actually very busy when booting from the ISO.
Next, you go through the usual screen where you chose the version you want to install, you chose custom to load the VirtIO drivers (take the one from W10 amd64). Select all the detected hardware, next and you see the installation screen


Then comes the first boot that lead to the personalisation screen.


From now on, I feel like on a mix of Linux KDE and macOS ... You need to chose your region, your keyboard layout, your usage profile, ....


And next is the account that should be linked to this installation. This is honestly the worst part since there is no way to skip it, you need to match the machine to a personal or business account. Good news : it does not have to be a Microsoft account (at least for the business profile). But I would have loved something "disconnected" but this is not the trend ...


One of the last configuration ... not a very new one ;)


And eventually, when your machine is ready you get the new desktop and taskbar


No worries, you can move the taskbar to the left ! ;) But wait, we are still in the Nutanix AHV console, it is about time to use a remote desktop connection. But first, we have to enable it !


Now we can move the taskbar to its one and only left corner ;) Bad news for the rebels who were  keeping the taskbar vertically or at the top, this is not possible anymore. Left or center, that's it !


There is a new setting : the dark mode. Very popular these days. So this is configuration in the Personalization / themes. The one below is called Glow.


Microsoft is trying to improve the search option but they are still far away from SpotLight ....


Even though winver is showing Windows 11, the detected OS agent from a webpage is still reporting Windows 10. This again a very early beta version from the Windev team. We are still far away from the final product. Tentative release date is around end of 2021.



To come back to the topic of the day : Nutanix AHV and Windows 11. Here is a disk speed test from my environment.


It is not an amazing result, but on this old platform this is what I'm used to have with other stable version of Windows. 

EDIT : you will probably find some additional IPs when looking at the VM dashboard on Prism Element. This is also called "Phantom" IPs. The same phenomenon also exists with Server 2022.
This is a known issue and there is a explanation here on the Nutanix website.

I hope this was helpful, I hope it's giving you the taste that you were looking for. Next step is to see it working with Nutanix Frame!

Again, well done Nutanix it rocks ;)






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