Visio by DPTPB: Nutanix stencils (V2)

March 15, 2017 update notes for Visio by DPTPB stencil collection

Executive Summary

  • Completely rebuilt/redesigned DPTPB Nutanix Visio stencil
  • Bye-bye for original Nutanix rear view shapes
    • I was never a fan of the original raster image based Nutanix shapes
    • So I made my own modular vector image based Nutanix rear view shapes
  • All rear view Nutanix DPTPB Visio shapes come now with connection points for easier shape placement
  • Separate NIC shapes
  • Data is now within top-level shapes
    • Like with all new style DPTPB shapes
    • Easier to access “Shape Data” window by clicking top-level shape
      • Not really a problem with Nutanix shapes, but was a major source of frustration with switch shapes
      • Now both Nutanix and Switch shapes behave similarly
    • Both front and rear view shapes

Vector based Nutanix shapes (rear view)

As a comparison why I don’t like the original Nutanix Visio shapes:

Picture: Example of new vector based DPTPB Nutanix shape (NX-1465-G5)

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.05.29

Picture: Example of old raster image based original Nutanix shape (NX-1465-G5)

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.04.24

Both are screenshots from PDF-files exported from original Visio drawing, at 800% zoom level. While the raster based image might scale quite nicely when used in Visio, it does not zoom so well in PDF-format, a typical format to distribute finished Visio drawings.

As seen in example above Port placeholder shapes did not scale so well either, even when they were vector based. I’ve fixed that as well with new version of cable and placeholder shapes.

Need I say more on using raster based images with Visio?

Building new shapes

Building these vector based Nutanix shapes was quite a chore. The easy solution would have been using SuperMicro Visio stencils. G5 generation of Nutanix hardware seems to be based on SuperMicro X10 generation hardware.

NX-1065-G5 ~ SuperMicro 6028TP-HC0R

NX-3060-G5 ~ SuperMicro 2028TP-HC0R

and so on.

Unfortunately SuperMicro Visio stencils are not available for the public. I once more asked from SuperMicro support for X10 Visio stencils, but no reply. You can find older generation X8/X9 SuperMicro Visio stencils from Internet.

So the next best thing was to take a X9 generation Visio shape, break it down to components and modify it to look like a X10 generation shape. With the first iteration of the new shapes I was quite pleased with how the shapes looked like. Unfortunately these shapes were so “heavy” that it took 2-3 minutes to pull one shape to Visio drawing.

With some trickery with different vector picture formats and Inkscape editor, I was able to squeeze down the shape size quite dramatically and got shape placement time down to max 10-15 seconds. I won’t bore you with all the details how I did it, maybe I will visit this topic in a separate post.

Examples of new shape vs old shape

Picture: NX-1155-G5 1GbE old shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.35.47

Picture: NX-1155-G5 1GbE new shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.36.53.png

Picture: NX-3175-G5 old shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.39.31

Picture: NX-3175-G5 new shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 16.40.15

Modular shapes

Modularity with Visio shapes is a balance between shape usage and shape development. To minimize shape size and make it fast and easy to use, it is best to lump all shape elements into just one shape, with no sub-shapes or grouped sub-shapes. This will minimize the shape size and makes it fast to pull the shape into a drawing.

On the other hand maintaining such “lumped” shapes is quite difficult. Maintaining a shape which is built from components or sub-shapes is much easier. For example: If you need to move a port location, just change one sub-shape and then copy that sub-shape to all the other shapes sharing the same sub-shape rather than fixing port location for each and every shape that needed port to be relocated.

I could have made the shapes even modular, but in order to keep user experience good I’ve tried to find a balance between shape maintenance and usability.

I’ve built my shapes from following sub components

Separate Node shapes

  • For Nutanix models that have multiple nodes per block
  • SX/NX-1065-G5/NX-3060-G5
  • NX-6035-G5/NX-8035-G5

Separate Block shapes

  • Empty chassis without nodes for multi-node blocks
    • SX/NX-1065-G5 / NX-3060-G5
    • NX-6035-G5 / NX-8035-G5
  • For single node per block Nutanix models there is no separate node shape (no need for one)

Separate Network Interface cards (NIC) shapes

  • If using Brocade, Cisco or HPE switches
    • it is highly suggested NOT to use Nutanix supplied DAC cables
    • for more details see my prior blog post.
  • Separate NIC variants equipped with
    • Brocade, Cisco, HPE or Nutanix DAC cables
    • (or placeholder shapes)
  • Fiber connected NIC variants
  • Dual-port 10GbE NIC variants
  • Quad-port 10GbE NIC variants
  • Dual-port 40GbE NIC variants
  • Dual-port 10GbaseT NIC variant
  • GPU adapters
  • Some empty NIC shapes
    • dual-port NIC (with two connection points)
    • quad-port NIC (with four connection points)
  • Some placeholder shapes
    • NIC1,NIC2,NIC3
    • GPU1,GPU2
    • PCI Slot filler
  • Empty NIC with inward connection points
    • used in building other shapes

Picture: All NIC / Adapter shapes

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.21.12

Picture: NIC shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 19.50.47

Picture: GPU shapes and Empty NIC shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 19.51.03

Modular Nodes

Only two separate nodes

Picture: Node NX-X065-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.25.53

  • Visually SX-1065(S)-G5, NX-1065-G5(s) and NX-3060-G5 nodes shapes look the same when viewed from behind
  • Used to build following rear view shapes
    • SX-1165S-G5, SX-1265S-G5, SX-1365S-G5 and SX-1465S-G5
    • SX-1165-G5, SX-1265-G5, SX-1365-G5 and SX-1465-G5
    • NX-1165S-G5, NX-1265S-G5, NX-1365S-G5 and NX-1465S-G5
    • NX-1165-G5, NX-1265-G5, NX-1365-G5 and NX-1465-G5
    • NX-3160-G5,NX-3260-G5,NX-3360-G5 and NX-3460-G5

Picture: Node NX-X035-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.26.49

  • Visually NX-6035-G5 and NX-8035-G5 look the same when viewed from behind
  • Used to build following rear view shapes
    • NX-6135-G5 and NX-6235-G5
    • NX-8135-G5 and NX-8235-G5

Modular Blocks

For Nutanix models with multiple nodes: two separate empty block shapes

Picture: Block Empty NX-X065-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.29.52

  • A four node block without nodes
  • Used to build following rear view shapes
    • SX-1165S-G5, SX-1265S-G5, SX-1365S-G5 and SX-1465S-G5
    • SX-1165-G5, SX-1265-G5, SX-1365-G5 and SX-1465-G5
    • NX-1165S-G5, NX-1265S-G5, NX-1365S-G5 and NX-1465S-G5
    • NX-1165-G5, NX-1265-G5, NX-1365-G5 and NX-1465-G5
    • NX-3160-G5,NX-3260-G5,NX-3360-G5 and NX-3460-G5

 Picture: Block Empty NX-X035-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 18.29.52

  • A two node block without nodes
  • In reality this is pretty much the same shape as four-node empty block
    • only difference is that is has less connection points to accommodate only two nodes
  • Used to build following rear view shapes
    • NX-6135-G5 and NX-6235-G5
    • NX-8135-G5 and NX-8235-G5

For Nutanix models with single node per block a separate block shape had to be built, obviously there is no benefit of building separate node and empty block shapes, since there is only one node per shape anyway.

Picture: Block Empty NX-X155-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.07.05

  • A single node block
  • Visually NX-1155-G5, NX-3155-G5 and NX-6155-G5 look the same when viewed from behind
  • Used to build above shapes
  • There is difference between Nutanix models on NIC slot usage, so I’ve made separate shapes for each

Picture: Block NX-1155-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.09.19.png

  • The screen shot is actually from “Block IPMI NX-1155-G5” shape with pre-labeled IPMI port
  • Some shapes have variants with pre-labeled 1GbE ports
  • NX-6155-G5 uses the same slots as this one, so no separate shape

Picture: Block NX-3155-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.10.20

  • This model has option for GPU cards with different slot assignments

Picture: Block NX-3175-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.15.46

  • A single 1U node block
  • The only 1U Nutanix model in current line-up
  • can accommodate GPU cards
    • normally both PCI slots are occupied by a single full-height GPU card
    • there are two 10GbE spf+ ports on the main board

Picture: Block NX-8150-G5

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.19.02

  • A single 2U node block
  • Only Nutanix model using this shape
  • Almost the same shape as the one used by NX-1155-G5 / NX-3155-G5/ NX-6155-G5
  • Only difference is that instead of 4x1GbE ports onboard, this one is equipped with 2x10GBaseT onboard ports.

Different Multi-node block configurations

There are few ways to build different multi-node configurations, let say for example NX-1365-G5, a NX-1065-G5 series block with three nodes.

  • Use minimum number of building blocks
    • Add empty block
    • Add three nodes
  • Or
  • Use full blocks
    • and mask unnecessary nodes with masking shape

Picture: NX-1365-G5 with masking shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.23.35

I’ve chosen to do the latter one, just because it is easier to remove filler shape rather than find a suitable node from “Shapes” window and place it correctly.

This also makes shape maintenance easier:

  • Build a NX-1165-G5 with three masking shapes
  • Copy the shape to make a NX-1265-G5 shape
    • change node label from shape data window
    • remove one masking shape
  • Repeat as required

With some additional coding, it would be possible to use just one shape and hide/display masking shape with “Shape Data” pull-down menus, maybe in V3 of the shapes 🙂

Modular building block shapes included in the stencil

I realized that somebody might want to use my shapes without using my style of drawing where each rear view shape is surrounded with a grouping box. That is why I’ve included the modular components in my DPTPB Nutanix Visio stencil, so you can use my Nutanix shapes also more traditional way of drawing rear view, placing shapes in 42U rack instead of grouping box or even when drawing generic SuperMicro solutions.

Likewise with different NICs and Adapters (about twenty in total) there would be too many shapes, if there were separate shapes for all the possible NIC and Node combinations. Finished DPTPB style shapes (with grouping box) come equipped with dual-port 10GbE NIC with NTNX DAC placeholder shapes + IPMI placeholder shape in IPMI port.

Picture: Modular building block shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 09.52.43

Using NIC cards

If your drawing has only one node or one node type is used only once per drawing you can place the NIC shape on top of Nutanix shape. If you move the Nutanix shape around, the NIC will stay in place.

However copying shapes is different story. If you place NIC card on top of a Nutanix shape and then copy/paste additional copy of the shape, the NIC card won’t be copied. In case you want to copy shapes and are using non-default NIC shapes, my suggestion is to right-click Nutanix shape and use “Open Group”. This will open Nutanix shape in another window. Any NICs placed in this new window will be part of the Nutanix shape also when copying/pasting the shape.

Unless you really know what you are doing: DO NOT UNGROUP THE SHAPES. Ungrouping will break the shape beyond repair, for example all data is now within top-level shapes and all data will be lost if the shape is ungrouped.

If using NIC shapes with NX-6035-G5 / NX-8035-G5 shapes with vertical PCI slots, you have to turn NIC shape by “-90” or “270” degrees in order to align it with PCI slot. You  can rotate the NIC shape (by pulling shape handle: bug here I’ve disabled shape handles) or by entering numerical value in “Shape Size & Position” window.

And finally the end product: DPTPB Nutanix Visio shapes

Each rear view Nutanix shape is surrounded with grouping box to leave room for cabling and other information

Picture: SX-1065-G5 / SX-1065S-G5  DPTPB Visio shapes

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.08.48

Picture: SX-1065-G5 / SX-1065S-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 09.55.46

Picture: NX-3060-G5 / NX-1065-G5 / NX-1065S-G5 / DPTPB Visio shapes

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.28.28

Picture: NX-1065-G5 / NX-1065S-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 09.56.48

Picture: NX-3060-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.10.14

Picture: NX-6155-G5 / NX-3155-G5 / NX-1155-G5 / DPTPB Visio shapes

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.31.12

Picture: NX-6155-G5 / NX-3155-G5 / NX-1155-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.11.45

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.11.56

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.12.09

Picture: NX-3175-G5 DPTPB Visio shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.32.38

Picture: NX-3175-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.14.08

Picture: NX-6035-G5 / NX-8035-G5  DPTPB Visio shapes

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.34.14

Picture: NX-6035-G5 / NX-8035-G5  DPTPB shapes in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.15.19

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.15.29

Picture: NX-8150-G5 DPTPB Visio shape

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 20.35.02

Picture: NX-8150-G5  DPTPB shape in Visio “Shapes” window

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 10.16.36

Connection Points

Front view DPTPB Visio shapes have always had connection points. I recently redesigned my stencil collection and added connection points for rear views shapes as well, both rear view rack shapes and all the other rear view shapes. This makes it much easier to place rear view shapes, just align it roughly in right place in horizontal order, once near connection point a green square shape appears. You can drop the shape there or move it vertically.

Data with-in top-level shapes

With current DPTPB Nutanix Visio stencil there isn’t much data associated with the shapes. Only Nutanix model is specified in “Shape Data” with shapes sharing the same basic building blocks.

In future releases I might add more data to Nutanix shapes

  • Node numbers
  • Hw config:
    • CPU
    • MEM
    • SSD
    • HDD
  • Something else?
  • And labels to show data
    • there is limited space
    • so I have to test how much I can fit in


  • Mar 13 2018: Added G6 generation shapes for NX-3060-G6
  • Update Notes


Please visit the  Nutanix Downloads page for updated stencil packages.

I’ve also updated the sample drawings on downloads page with the new shapes. Sometimes it might be easier to start your drawing with these samples rather than starting from scratch.

10 thoughts on “Visio by DPTPB: Nutanix stencils (V2)

      1. If you have access to Visio you can copy/paste directly from Visio to Powerpoint

        Copy & Paste to Powerpoint (and other applications)

        -Instead of Ctrl-c / Ctrl-v / copy & paste
        -Results are fuzzy
        -Use Ctrl-c / Copy and Paste Special “Picture (Enhanced Metafile)”
        -Results in smaller file size
        -Geometry keeps full level of detail
        -Pasted object behaves like picture object for moving and scaling


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s