The Dell EMC portfolio of PowerEdge rack servers is designed to optimize application performance. These servers support intuitive tools to help simplify and automate tasks over the entire server life cycle. Every data center and virtual environment has unique requirements, and PowerEdge technology provides the flexibility needed to build a scalable Hyper-V infrastructure.
All the PowerEdge models used in this Ready Stack use iDRAC9. Embedded in every PowerEdge server, iDRAC 9 provides secure and remote server access for a multitude of common management functions. iDRAC with Lifecycle Controller operates regardless of the operating system state or the presence of a hypervisor. It also offers a complete set of server management features, including configuration, operating system deployment, firmware updates, health monitoring, and maintenance.
iDRAC9 provides a variety of remote connectivity interfaces and protocols, enabling administrators to securely configure, deploy, manage, monitor, and update the server. IPMI, Redfish, SMASH-CLP, and WS-Man are common standard management interfaces that iDRAC9 supports. The iDRAC9 HTLM5 Web UI provides secure connectivity through HTTPS. The new Group Manager 14G feature is available with an iDRAC9 Enterprise license. With this feature, administrators can create a one-to-many console experience. This experience enables them to view and manage a set of servers rather than visually inspect the servers for faults and manage them manually.
The following figure shows the iDRAC9 user interface.
Figure 2. Dell EMC iDRAC9 user interface
Network design is a key aspect of the Ready Stack architecture and consists of these functional groups:
The key building block of the OOB network is the Dell EMC S4148T-ON switch, which provides 48 ports of 10GBase-T and multiple uplink port options. Using two S4148T-ON switches—referred to as the management switches—provides redundancy.
LAN connectivity is provided through the Dell EMC S5232-ON switch, which provides up to 72 ports of 25 GbE or up to 48 ports of 25 GbE and 6 ports of 100 GbE. Using two S5232-ON switches—referred to as the top-of-rack (ToR) switches—provides redundancy. The management hosts, which are rackmount servers, are directly connected to the ToR switches through built-in NICs.
For FC storage traffic, Ready Stack uses Dell EMC Connectrix B-Series DS-65xx series switches that deliver up to 16 Gbps FC performance and scale from 12 to 48 ports, as follows:
For more information, consult your Dell EMC Sales representative.
Connectrix Manager management software enables storage and SAN administrators to troubleshoot the health and performance of the Connectrix B-Series family of products. Connectrix Manager simplifies SAN deployment by providing wizard- and template-based provisioning and configuration with an easy-to-use interface.
The Dell EMC Unity All Flash product line sets new standards for storage with compelling simplicity, modern design, flexible deployments, and affordable prices. Unity All Flash storage systems implement an integrated architecture for block, file, and virtual hard disks, with concurrent support for native NAS, iSCSI, and FC protocols. Each system uses dual storage processors, full 12 Gb SAS back-end connectivity, and Dell EMC’s patented multicore architected operating environment to deliver performance and efficiency. Additional storage capacity is added by using Disk Array Enclosures (DAEs), and online controller upgrades are available for additional performance. Unity all-flash technology supports file and block environments, point-in-time snapshots, thin clones, synchronous and asynchronous replication, integrated encryption, tiering to the cloud, and deep ecosystem integration with VMware, Microsoft, and OpenStack software.
Dell EMC data reduction includes deduplication and compression logic. The Unity data reduction features are available for block LUNs and datastores in an all-flash pool. Administrators can enable Unity data reduction at the resource level so that storage resources with and without data reduction enabled can exist in the same pool on a system. Data reduction savings can be set at the system level, pool level, and resource level among others, providing varying levels of granularity.
Dynamic pools present an entirely redesigned pool structure that increases the flexibility of configuration options within a Unity system. Dynamic pools replace the existing pool technology as the default pool type created within Unisphere for Unity All Flash systems. Similarly to traditional pools, dynamic pools can be created, expanded, and deleted, and they also include other improvements. Expansion of a dynamic pool can be as granular as adding a single drive to the pool to increase its capacity. This feature provides a fully flexible deployment model, which improves the planning and provisioning process and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO). For more information, see Dell EMC Unity: Dynamic Pools.
Another feature of the Unity array is host I/O limits, which is the ability to limit the amount of I/O activity that the Unity system services. Host I/O limits can be applied on LUNs, VMware VMFS data stores, thin clones, and their associated attached snapshots. Use Host I/O limits to limit incoming host activity on the basis of IOPS, bandwidth, or both. Consider configuring Host I/O limits on LUNs or data stores that are consuming a large portion of the system’s resources and reducing the performance of other resources on the system. Another Unity feature is burst policies for Host I/O Limits. This option, which is available for any Host I/O limit policy, enables host activity or traffic to exceed the base policy limit by a user-specified amount. The user specifies the amount as a percentage along with the duration and frequency of the I/O limit burst allowance.
Dell EMC Unisphere, the HTML5 management interface for Unity arrays, can be used to present storage to all host servers. Unisphere displays system status and performance information, as shown in the following figure, to provide a graphical representation of the Unity system and highlight areas of interest such as drive faults and network link failures.
Figure 3. Unisphere for Unity
This Ready Stack for Microsoft Hyper-V with Unity Storage uses Windows Server 2016. The Windows Server 2016 operating system provides enhanced security, integrated containers, and support for new software-defined capabilities for modern data centers.
Key features include:
For more information, see the Microsoft article What's New in Windows Server 2016.
The Hyper-V server role in Windows Server enables the creation of a virtualized server-computing environment within which users can create and manage VMs. These VMs are isolated from one another and can run different operating systems on the same physical computer. Key features in the Hyper-V server role in Windows Server 2016 include: