You can perform network deployment for the VxRail system in Full Switch mode or in Dell EMC SmartFabric Services (SFS) mode. Using SFS, you can quickly and easily deploy VxRail and related networks, automate data center networking fabrics, and perform other network management tasks for the VxRail cluster and applications including the SAP HANA solution.
The following figure shows a SmartFabric topology with connections to VxRail nodes and external networks:
Only a few steps are required to automate VxRail Day 1 deployment with SFS. Without SFS, the VxRail Day 1 deployment and Day 2+ tasks require many network configuration steps and significant networking knowledge.
The following figure compares the solution deployment steps with SFS and without SFS:
Dell network switch support for SFS permits control of the configuration and operation of the switches through a REST API, outside the standard management console. Certain Dell switch models support initializing the switches with a SmartFabric “personality profile,” which then forms a unified network fabric. The SmartFabric personality profile enables the VxRail system to become the source for automated configuration and administration of the Dell switches, as shown in the following figure:
Under the SmartFabric profile setting, the VxRail system uses SmartFabric to:
For ongoing VxRail cluster network management after the initial deployment, the Dell EMC OpenManage Network Integration plug-in is provided free of charge. The plug-in enables the integration and orchestration of the physical and virtual networking components in the VxRail SmartFabric HCI stack, providing deep visibility from vSphere Client for ease of overall management and troubleshooting. The plug-in serves as the centralized point of administration for SmartFabric-enabled networks in the data center, with a UI eliminating the need to manage the switches individually at the console level.
The orchestration of SFS with the VxRail cluster means that state changes to the virtual network settings on the vCenter instance are synchronized to the switch fabric through the REST API. For an update that uses vSphere Client, such as a new VLAN, port group, or virtual switch, it is not necessary to manually reconfigure the switches that are connected to the VxRail nodes.
Note: Using the SmartFabric networking feature with the VxRail system requires an understanding of a number of key points, as described in the . Coordinate your planning with your Dell Technologies representative to ensure a successful deployment. The planned infrastructure must be a supported configuration, as described in the .
For more information about SFS, supported switches, and related considerations, see Appendix A: Deploying Dell EMC Networking SmartFabric Services with VxRail.