Nutanix AHV – Boot VM in BIOS UEFI Mode

Nutanix has been released Nutanix Acropolis Operating System AOS version 5.16 STS / AHV version AHV 20190916.96 on January 7, 2020 with new features and updates and allow to enter / boot in Nutanix AHV hosted running guest Windows / Linux VM’s BIOS UEFI setup mode to change the VM’s BIOS settings i.e booting device sequence, Access Boot manager to enable the Secure Boot UEFI on Guest VMs.

Nutanix AOS version has built new features are supports UEFI and Secure Boot of UEFI, enable Secure Boot feature of UEFI on user guest Windows / Linux VMs running on Nutanix AHV clusters, Nutanix AHV allow to change the Windows / Linux guest VMs UEFI firmware menu to press the Fn + F2 keys on your keyboard.

I will share the Nutanix latest 2020 early AOS version 5.16 STS new updates and features.

Nutanix AOS 5.16 Comparability Matrix

Nutanix AOS 5.16 STS compatible software list is here:

5.16 3.9.3 4.5.1 AHV-20190916.96
Nutanix AOS 5.16 Compatible AHV, NCC and Foundation Version

Useful Links:

Download Latest Nutanix AHV
Download Latest Nutanix AOS

Nutanix AOS 5.16 STS Features

Lets explore the new updates and features of Nutanix AOS version 5.16 with AHV version 20190916.96.

1. Secure Boot Support for Node running Nutanix AHV – With AOS 5.16, AHV can run on hardware which supports UEFI and Secure Boot of UEFI.

2. Secure Boot Support for VMs – With AOS 5.16, you can now enable Secure Boot feature of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface ) on user / guest Windows / Linux VMs running on Nutanix AHV clusters.

3. Upgrading AHV Hosts Through Life Cycle Manager (LCM) – Nutanix AOS supports AHV host upgrade that you apply by using the Life Cycle Manager in the Prism web console. Life Cycle Manager is now linked from Upgrade Software in the Prism web console.

Advantages of UEFI Mode

The pre-operating system environment is vulnerable to attacks by possible malicious loaders. Secure boot addresses this vulnerability with UEFI secure boot using policies present in the firmware along with certificates, to ensure that only properly signed and authenticated components are allowed to execute.

UEFI firmware is a successor to legacy BIOS firmware that supports larger hard drives, faster boot time and provides more security features.

Creation and starting guest Windows / Linux VMs with UEFI firmware provide the following advantages.

  • Boot faster
  • Avoid legacy option ROM address constraints
  • Include robust reliability and fault management
  • Use UEFI drivers

You can create or update VMs with UEFI firmware by using the acli commands, Prism web console, or Prism Central UI.

Read also: Nutanix Block Vs Nutanix Node

UEFI Supported Operating System

Here is list of Operating System Windows / Linux OS supports the UEFI secure booting BIOS feature :

  • Nutanix does not support converting a VM that uses IDE disks or Legacy BIOS to VMs that use Secure Boot.
  • It is only supported on Q35, a new virtual hardware platform.
  • It is only supported on AHV.
  • Recovery of the secure boot enabled VMs is not supported on AOS 5.16.
OS vendorOS nameOS bitsPlatform
MicrosoftWindows 10 home edition64x86
MicrosoftWindows 10 professional64x86
MicrosoftWindows server 2012 R264x86
MicrosoftWindows 2016 server64x86
CentOSCentOS 8.064x86
CentOSCentOS 7.464x86
CentOSCentOS 7.564x86
Red HatRed Hat Enterprise Linux 8.064x86
Red HatRed Hat Enterprise Linux 7.164x86
CanonicalUbuntu 12.04.x LTS desktop64x86
CanonicalUbuntu 12.04.x LTS server64x86
CanonicalUbuntu 16.04.x LTS desktop64x86
CanonicalUbuntu 16.04.x LTS server64x86
CanonicalUbuntu 18.04.x LTS desktop64x86
CanonicalUbuntu 18.04.x LTS server64x86
SUSESUSE Linux enterprise server 12 SP 364x86

Read more: Nutanix AHV Supported Guest OS List

Create Secure UEFI VMS From acli Command

In AHV-managed clusters, you can create a Windows / Linux VM to start with UEFI firmware by using the aCLI command. This topic describes the procedure to create a VM by using Acropolis CLI (aCLI).

Step 1: SSH to any Nutanix CVM

Step 2: Run following command to enter in acli command mode

cvm$ acli

Step 3: Create secure boot UEFI firmware VM to run following command

cvm$ vm.create uefi_boot=true nvram_container=<Container_Name>

Note: By default, the UEFI firmware and variables are stored in an NVRAM container. The UEFI variables are stored in a default NVRAM container. Nutanix recommends you to choose a storage container with at least RF2 storage policy to ensure the VM high availability for node failure scenarios.

Read also: Configure Nutanix Virtual Network with IPAM

Change VM’s BIOS Booting Firmware to UEFI

If you have migrated the UEFI firmware enabled physical server to virtual P2V / Virtual to Virtual V2V but your VM is booting up with default BIOS booting firmware. It means you need to change the VM’s BIOS booting firmware booting type.

Change VM’s BIOS booting firmware type from legacy to UEFI firmware

Step 1: shutdown your running VM on Nutanix platform

Step 2: SSH to any Nutanix CVM

Step 3: Run following command to enter in acli command mode

cvm$ acli

Step 4: Change the BIOS firmware type to UEFI firmware

cvm$ vm.update <VM_Name> uefi_boot=true

Step 5: Now Power-on the VM

Read also: Windows 10 High CPU Consumption Issue On Nutanix AHV

Boot Nutanix VM in BIOS Mode

Now you can Enter / boot your Nutanix AHV hosted Windows / Linux VM in BIOS UEFI mode to just press the Fn + F2 keys on your keyboard and can change the VM’s booting sequence, booting device, booting type, booting delay, screen resolution etc.

Just follow the steps to boot the Nutanix AHV hosted VM in BIOS mode:

Ensure that the Windows / Linux VM is in powered on state.

Step 1: Log on to Prism web console.

Step 2: Power-on VM

To go to the UEFI firmware menu, press the Fn + F2 keys on your keyboard.

Nutanix AHV Enter in VM's BIOS Mode
Nutanix AHV Enter in VM’s BIOS Mode

Final Step: Do one of the following.

  • To save the changed resolution, press the F10 key.
  • To go back to the previous screen, press the Esc key.

Note: After saving the changes, the OS reflects the changed resolution.

Hopefully, You enjoyed the Nutanix new feature to boot up the Nutanix AHV hosted VM in BIOS UEFI firmware secure mode.

Thanks to being with HyperHCI Tech Blog to stay tuned for latest and trending technology posts.!

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