The VxRail HCI system software is the foundation for the value differentiating the capabilities of VxRail. From an infrastructure stack perspective, it is the management software that runs on top of the VMware software and the PowerEdge server to allow the VxRail to act as a singular unified system.
Figure 7. VxRail HCI system software
Continuously Validated States—VxRail runs on pre-tested and validated software and firmware for the entire VxRail stack including the VMware software and PowerEdge server components. VxRail lifecycle management capabilities ensure that the VxRail clusters are running in that known good state throughout its entire lifecycle as the cluster goes through continuous changes to take advantage of the latest VMware software innovation, security fixes, or bug fixes. The term Continuously Validated States encapsulates the configuration stability delivered by VxRail clusters.
Electronic Compatibility Matrix—With all these different software and hardware components in the stack, the VxRail team is constantly testing and validating against the entire stack so that whatever desired state the user determines from the VMware compatibility matrix has been validated as a Continuously Validated State. In addition, VxRail refers to this matrix to ensure the cluster configuration stays in compliance. These benefits drastically reduce the testing effort and resources a customer would need to invest, while also giving the customer the peace of mind that they need to predictably and securely evolve their VxRail clusters without impacting application workloads.
Ecosystem connectors—In order to build an extensive Electronic Compatibility Matrix, VxRail needs to be able to communicate with ecosystem members in the stack which includes vSphere, vSAN, vCenter, and the PowerEdge server and multiple hardware components within. The connectors allow VxRail to know the software/firmware versions running in each component and lifecycle manage those components. The automation and orchestration capabilities enable VxRail to be managed as a singular unified system.
VxRail Manager—The primary management user interface for VxRail is the vCenter plugin-in called VxRail Manager. VxRail users can perform any VxRail activity through this interface including initial cluster configuration, monitoring hardware components, performing graceful cluster shutdown, expanding the cluster by adding nodes, and updating the VxRail HCI System Software. It provides a fully integrated vCenter experience.
VxRail Manager FIPS 140-2 Level 1 — As part of FIPS 140-2 Level 1 compliance, the VxRail has added the following updates to VxRail Manager virtual machine as of VxRail 7.0.010 release.
VxRail ACE (Analytical Consulting Engine) Global Orchestration —As enhancements are made to improve VxRail lifecycle management experience, much of it will depend on the analytical computing capabilities in VxRail ACE Global Orchestration. ACE stands for Analytical Consulting Engine. Through the advanced telemetry that HCI System Software gathers about the VxRail clusters, ACE is used to deliver AI-driven insights that will allow users to proactively manage their clusters to improve performance and availability. AI-driven insights are also driving more active multi-cluster management capabilities in ACE, which is an area where HCI users will have an increasing interest as they expand their HCI footprint, and management at scale becomes a necessity.
REST APIs—VxRail benefits for lifecycle management ideally positions VxRail as the infrastructure platform of choice as the focus on simplifying IT operations plays a critical role in allowing IT teams to focus on cloud-based IT service delivery models. Making the VxRail platform extensible via APIs enables customers to build on top of infrastructure-as-a-service solutions. APIs also enables management at scale which can benefit customers with a large number of VxRail clusters deployed in various locations and have chosen in-house scripted solutions to manage at scale.
Support Remote Services—Support experience can also be a critical factor in choosing the correct HCI solution. VxRail provides single vendor support for VMware software, PowerEdge server, and VxRail software through Dell Technical Support. VxRail support includes Dell EMC Secure Remote Services for call-home and proactive two-way remote connection for remote monitoring, diagnosis, and repair throughout the entire lifecycle process to ensure maximum availability.