VxRail, formerly EVO Rail, has come a long way in the form of technologies and features. In its infancy, VxRail was complicated and clunky, now it is an administrator’s dream to manage and maintain. Michael Dell’s purchase of both EMC and VMware proved the confidence he had in the potential impact this product would have getting organizations to the cloud. AWS also sees this potential seeing that their AWS Outpost is almost an exact replica of the VxRail.
When Achieve One designs a VxRail, we design a solution that will grow with your company—we refer to this as scale out. Scale out is the process of buying N+1 (nodes plus 1). Commonly, we start out with a four-node solution to allow our customer to maintain fault tolerance, known as failures to tolerate or FTT. As a Dell Technologies Platinum partner, we primarily design and deploy the E, V, S and P series VxRail. These series are Dell only servers from the R540 to R740xd platforms – from hybrid to all flash nodes, Dell EMC has a server for your environment. Achieve One has deployed VxRail in the following industries:
- Banking and Financial
- Information Technology
- Real Estate
- Service Provider
I previously stated that we design VxRail starting with four nodes. For a datacenter, however, the minimum node count requirement is three nodes. With its latest release, VxRail has made it even easier to have a VxRail in a remote office branch office with only two nodes. This is a breakthrough and allows a company to continue operations with only a two-node cluster. One of our clients has 13 remote sites, they purchased VxRail over a year ago and needed three nodes at each site. Now, companies like this can take full advantage of a two-node cluster at remote sites, thus reducing their capital expenditure even more. One caveat to the two-node cluster, it cannot be scaled out, but there are plans to make this happen in the future.
IT Directors and their superiors are always exploring ways to maximize their employees’ skill sets. Dell EMC and VMware are aware of these organizations’ desires and now offer a solution. The latest release of VxRail Manager 4.7 allows administrators to use vCenter as the single-pane of glass for both the VxRail cluster and VMWare operations. Prior to 4.7, administrators would have to manage the VxRail cluster from VxRail Manager Web UI and VMware operations from vCenter. This increases the efficiency in a department and allows cross-employment opportunities. In a traditional 3-tier architecture, it is not the network or server team that holds up the provision of new servers, it is the storage team; vSAN and vCenter have removed the silos and barriers. A server can now be fully provisioned in less than a quarter of a workday, which means no more having to zone fiber and assign LUNS to specific servers and have vCenter discover them on all hosts.
Other notable enhancements to VxRail 4.7 include the following:
- vSphere 6.7 Update 1
- Support for mixed 10/25Gbe networking
- Pre-failure health alerting
- Tiered software package for vSAN (purchase licensing right for you)
- SmartFabric OS10 ToR switching using Dell/EMC S4100 series switches
- Integration with vRealize Operations, vRealize Orchestrator, vRealize Log Insight
VxRail is the only jointly engineered appliance for software defined data center operations utilizing VMWare Cloud Foundation which enables companies to connect their workloads to AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. A jointly engineered solution will come with guard rails, these guard rails act to keep the appliance operating optimally while taking full advantage of life cycle management and add-ons such as SDDC. With the continued maturity in VMware products and features, the only thing that might stop a company is budget. But this purchase is easily justifiable considering the number of tasks it can complete and the amount of integrating it does with current VMWare products. According to Gartner, VxRail is now number one in VDI, Business Critical, and Cloud—the three main objectives for IT Directors and C-Suite Executives.
The best part, in my opinion as a former IT Manager, servers are a commodity item—they all contain the same internal components. With that said, it is difficult to differentiate key features because you can pay to build any server with the components you need. One thing you cannot guarantee or put a price on is the unwavering support Dell EMC puts on their products, specifically VxRail. VxRail is the ONLY HCI appliance across the industry that has a single point of contact for support with both hardware and software.
If you want a solution that maximizes your organizations opportunities, then VxRail 4.7 is the right choice! Contact us so we can schedule a meeting to explain all the wonderful benefits of release 4.7.
Jonathan Ingram is a Solutions Architect for Achieve One, has designed and deployed VxRail numerous times and is a 2xVCP (Network Virtualization and Datacenter Virtualization) and a certified Dell/EMC VxRail Implementation and Deployment Specialist.