The Dell Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI goes far beyond a reference architecture or validated node by delivering efficient operations, flexible consumption models, and high-level enterprise expertise. Weaving simplicity into every aspect of the buyer’s experience, we have made it increasingly easy for customers to order, deploy, maintain, and support their modernized, on-premises infrastructure. The following figure summarizes the unique and differentiating pillars of our integrated system.
Dell Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is an all-in-one fully productized HCI solution with flexible factory-ready AX nodes as the foundation. We have a broad portfolio of AX nodes that are intelligently and deliberately configured with a wide range of component options to meet the requirements of nearly any use case – from the smallest remote or branch office to the most demanding database workloads. The chassis, drive, processor, DIMM module, network adapter and their associated BIOS, firmware, and driver versions have been carefully selected and tested by the Dell Technologies engineering team to optimize the performance and resiliency of Azure Stack HCI. Our engineering has also validated networking topologies using Dell PowerSwitch network switches.
Azure Stack HCI is one of the best hyperconverged platforms in terms of performance. The combination of the intelligent design of the storage stack, combined with drives inside the nodes (closer to processor and memory vs external storage) and the use of RDMA protocols on networking lead to unparalleled disk IO and very low latency. In internal testing, Dell has observed over 1,000,000 IOPS per cluster node at sub-millisecond latencies. This is great for performance sensitive applications like SQL databases as well as other transactional systems. It also means that a desired performance level can be achieved with less expensive drives which saves money. Another added benefit is that disk performance is likely to no longer be a concern, which provides investment protection and added longevity of the system.
- The Scalable model supports from 2 to 16 nodes in a cluster and uses top-of-rack switches for management and storage traffic networking.
- The Switchless storage usage model uses full mesh connections between the cluster nodes for storage traffic and supports from 2 to 4 nodes in a cluster.
- Single-node clusters are the simplest way to set up Azure Stack HCI. They are a great fit for remote, edge, or branch office projects because they are very sensitive to cost and space requirements.
- The Integrated Deploy and Update snap-in works with the Microsoft cluster creation extension to ensure a consistent, automated initial cluster creation experience on Day 1. Our snap-in guarantees adherence to our configuration best practices using Dell HCI Configuration Profile. The snap-in also updates BIOS, firmware, and drivers as part of the cluster creation workflow.
- When administrators are ready to apply updates, there is the one-click full stack life cycle management snap-in for the Microsoft Cluster-Aware Updating extension. This seamlessly orchestrates operating system, BIOS, firmware, and driver updates through a common Admin Center workflow.
- There is also dynamic CPU core management, which allows customers to right-size their cluster and maximize TCO by only enabling the cores needed to support running workloads.
- Finally, guided scale out cluster expansion helps customer eliminate guesswork and dramatically decrease time consumed preparing new nodes for cluster expansion.
Dell Technologies makes support services simple, flexible, and worry free – from installation and configuration to comprehensive, single source support. Certified deployment engineers ensure accuracy and speed, reduce risk and downtime, and free IT staff to work on those higher value priorities. Our one-stop cluster level support covers the hardware, operating system, hypervisor, and Storage Spaces Direct software, whether you purchased your license from Dell Technologies or from Microsoft.