The Dell EMC PowerEdge rack server portfolio is designed to optimize application performance and ensure a stable, worry-free environment. The portfolio includes intuitive tools that simplify and automate processes throughout the entire server life cycle. Every data center and virtual environment has unique requirements, and PowerEdge provides the flexibility that is needed to build scalable infrastructures that are tightly integrated with VMware vSphere.
The PowerEdge R640 is an ideal platform for dense scale-out data center computing. The R640 combines density, performance, and scalability to optimize application performance and data center density. The scalable architecture of the R640 is designed to maximize application performance and provide the flexibility to optimize configurations based on the application and use case. The PowerEdge R640 is a 1U, two-socket server platform, which supports up to 24 DIMM slots, ten 2.5-inch drives, and three PCIe cards.
Embedded in every PowerEdge server is iDRAC9 with Lifecycle Controller. iDRAC9 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 offers a complete set of server management features including configuration, operating system deployment, firmware updates, health monitoring, and maintenance.
iDRAC9 provides various 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 some of the common standard management interfaces that iDRAC9 supports.
The iDRAC9 HTML5 web UI provides for secure connectivity through HTTPS. With the Group Manager feature in iDRAC9 Enterprise, administrators can create a one-to-many console experience. The one-to-many method enables administrators to view and manage a set of servers rather than visually inspecting servers for faults and manually managing the servers.
The Ready Stack architecture network design consists of these functional groups:
The key building block of the OOB network is the Dell EMC PowerSwitch S4148T-ON switch, which provides forty-eight 10GBASE-T ports and multiple uplink port options.
The PowerSwitch S5248F-ON switch provides LAN connectivity. This switch provides up to forty-eight 25 GbE ports and six 100 GbE ports. Using two S5248F-ON switches—referred to as top-of-rack (ToR) switches—provides redundancy. Integrated NICs directly connect the ToR switches to the rackmount servers.
PowerSwitch components support the OS10 network operating system. Standard in OS10 is Dell EMC SmartFabric Services, a feature that enables you to accelerate IT transformation by providing more agile and simplified central management across both virtual and physical network infrastructures.
For FC storage traffic to and from the PowerStore array, Ready Stack uses Dell EMC Connectrix DS-6620B switches. The DS-6620B switch delivers up to 32 Gbps FC performance in a 1U form factor and, by default, has twenty-four 32 Gbps ports enabled. You can add more ports—up to 48 ports per chassis—through Ports on Demand upgrade kits. Brocade Web Tools, the embedded UI on the Connectrix DS-6620B switches, facilitates the monitoring and management of single or small fabrics, switches, and ports.
PowerStore storage achieves new levels of agility and operational versatility for today’s cloud-mobile IT infrastructure. Using a containerized software architecture, the PowerStore system incorporates the best modern storage technology and eliminates the typical tradeoffs in performance, scalability, and storage efficiency.
The PowerStore system provides advanced services to complement and extend existing on-premises environments. Its single architecture for block, file, and vSphere Virtual Volumes supports an enterprise-class variety of traditional and modern workloads, relational databases, ERP and EMR apps, cloud native applications, and file-based workloads such as content repositories and home directories.
The PowerStore appliance is built on a container-based software architecture, known as PowerStoreOS, that provides unique capabilities for delivering and integrating advanced system services. The modularity of containers enables feature portability, standardization, and rapid time-to-market for new capabilities. This deployment flexibility allows developers to integrate:
This capability provides integrated management of key functions, such as integrated Copy Data Management (iCDM), and eliminates the need to provide virtual machines (VMs) on external servers. Integration of proven technologies helps shorten time to new functionality for future capabilities (such as cloud migration) that can be shared across Dell EMC platforms.
PowerStore storage streamlines application development and automates storage workflows through integration with a broad ecosystem of leading DevOps and open management frameworks. It supports comprehensive integration with VMware management and its operational features, including vSphere storage management and provisioning, vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), and native vSphere Virtual Volumes. In the burgeoning areas of containerization and DevOps, PowerStore users can take advantage of plug-ins such as those for CSI, Kubernetes, Ansible, and VMware vRealize Operations.
PowerStore storage provides intelligence and automation, eliminates complexity, and enables faster delivery of new applications and services with up to 99 percent less management interaction (based on a March 2020 Dell analysis of staff time required to maintain a balanced PowerStore cluster compared with traditional multi-array deployment and factoring in the required effort to monitor, plan, define, and perform volume migrations).
The PowerStore onboard machine learning engine automates labor-intensive processes, such as initial volume placement, migrations, load balancing, and issue resolution. This automation helps to fine-tune both individual and clustered appliances, optimize performance, and reduce cost.
The PowerStore system was designed to take advantage of the latest developments in storage, interface, and network technologies. The all-NVMe architecture of the PowerStore appliance delivers the full benefits of solid-state storage. The architecture provides higher bandwidth and lower latency to match the requirements of flash SSDs and new dual-ported Intel Optane storage class memory (SCM) for even greater performance. The PowerStore high-availability active/active design supports block, file, and vSphere Virtual Volumes natively on a single system. The system’s inline, always-on data reduction enables superior and consistent storage efficiency. Data reduction features include advanced deduplication and compression, with the significant performance benefits of hardware acceleration using Intel QuickAssist Technology.
The PowerStore system uses advanced clustering technology to scale system processing power up to four appliances, while individual drive scaling addresses flexible capacity growth and resource balancing. With this balanced approach to storage scalability (a traditional strength of midrange storage), the PowerStore system delivers cost-effective scale-up capacity by scaling performance as application needs grow and evolve. The system also uses intelligent resource balancing by automatically balancing storage and workloads to maximize system utility.
The Dell EMC CloudIQ software-as-a-service application creates a comprehensive and proactive health score per array. This capability ensures that each PowerStore appliance provides the optimal foundation for running business data with the highest availability. For more information, see Dell EMC CloudIQ.
Dell stands behind every Dell EMC PowerStore system with its Future-Proof Program, providing a 4:1 Storage Data Reduction guarantee and Anytime Upgrades. The Anytime Upgrades program provides data-in-place upgrades within the same generation or next generation of appliances, or scale-out of an existing environment with a second system equal to the existing model. PowerStore nodes can be replaced nondisruptively while preserving existing drives and expansion enclosures, without requiring new licensing or additional purchases. Thus, a PowerStore infrastructure can be modernized without a forklift upgrade, without downtime, and without affecting applications. For more information, see Future-Proof Program.
The PowerStore system includes the no-cost, cloud-native Dell EMC CloudIQ software-as-a-service application. CloudIQ software provides intelligent, comprehensive, and predictive analytics, enabling proactive, detailed monitoring of Dell EMC storage. The software helps storage administrators to monitor system component health and eliminate risks in their environment, such as unused and overused capacity.
The CloudIQ application provides password-protected access. It is easy to use and designed to help organizations achieve higher uptime, increased performance, and effective capacity planning.
On an ongoing basis, CloudIQ software proactively monitors the following critical areas of Dell EMC storage systems:
At the highest level, the CloudIQ application combines these five metrics into an overall health score. As shown in the following figure, the health score provides a useful visual indicator of the health of each storage system that is configured to use the application:
Figure 2. Dell EMC CloudIQ Health Score panel
vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) enables the PowerStore system to handle offloaded VMware operations, improve performance, and reduce network overhead. VAAI improves the utilization rates of ESXi hosts in a VMware environment by offloading tasks to the PowerStore system. The PowerStore system processes various operations—including clone and snapshot operations as well as hardware-assisted moves—for both block and file datastores and for vSphere Virtual Volumes.
vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) enables intercommunication between the storage and virtualization layers so that administration of one layer can be performed from the other. This capability can enable more efficient workflows for administrators who are familiar with one interface. VASA enables VMware administrators to access storage technologies and features from within the familiar vCenter management console, such as the creation of vSphere Virtual Volumes, and surfaces array-specific details to vCenter. This capability eliminates the need to manage a VMware storage environment from multiple management consoles.