VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail makes operating the data center fundamentally simpler by bringing the ease and automation of the public cloud in-house by deploying a standardized and validated network flexible architecture with built in lifecycle automation for the entire cloud infrastructure stack including hardware. As shown in Figure 2, full stack automation is in place for day 0, day 1 and day 2 operations. On day 0, there is the automated deployment and installation of VxRail clusters and SDDC software. On day 1, there is the automated environment configuration and resource provisioning. On day 2 there is automated end-to-end infrastructure patch and upgrade.
Figure 2. VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail delivers end-to-end stack lifecycle automation
Core components for VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail come from both VxRail and Cloud Foundation. VxRail provides the base HCI hardware, ESXi, vCenter, vSAN, VxRail Manager and Dell EMC SRS appliance. Cloud Foundation provides SDDC Manager, NSX and vRealize Log Insight (core includes license for the Management Domain only). Optional add-on components include the VMware vRealize Suite: VMware vRealize Operations™, VMware vRealize Log Insight™ (additional license for workload domains), VMware vRealize Automation™, VMware vRealize Business for Cloud™; VMware vRealize Network Insight™, VMware Horizon® Suite: Horizon, and VMware App Volumes™; and VMware Tanzu. Figure 3 illustrates the VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail core and optional components.
To learn more about the VMware SDDC components listed above, please check Appendix D: VMware Cloud Foundation and Appendix E: VMware SDDC common component details.
Figure 3. VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail core and optional components
Every VxRail provides the benefits of a jointly engineered HCI systemthat is built for VMware and is powered by vSphere, vSAN, and VxRail HCI System Software (which includes VxRail Manager) according to standardized HCI designs. With VxRail, a customer gets several highly valuable built in features that are driven by the capabilities of VxRail HCI System Software. These include scalable VxRail deployments, VxRail cluster creation and node add/remove capabilities, serviceability creation in vCenter, vCenter plugin for VxRail workflow automation, and more.
Every VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail deployment is based on the standardized architecture. VMware has validated the suite of components (vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vRealize Suite, Tanzu, etc.), that when used together, provide all of the data center virtualization and cloud management services a customer needs to build a private cloud. VMware takes these components, performs interoperability testing on them, but also develops a set of standardized component level designs on how they should be configured with each other according to VMware best practices. It is when you combine both the component qualification with a set of documented and validated standardized SDDC level architecture designs that you have a fully validated SDDC design.
The following figure shows how Dell Technologies joint engineering efforts for VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail fit together and what unique value-added features are introduced by each component.
Figure 4. VCF on VxRail deep integration features that simplify, streamline, and automate operations of SDDC
Let’s discuss these, starting from the bottom of the diagram:
- Dell EMC PowerSwitch Networking with OS10
VxRail has been qualified with Dell EMC PowerSwitch with OS10 Enterprise Edition networking switches. There’s a documented guidance on how to deploy Dell EMC network switches for VCF on VxRail deployments are available along with tools like the Dell Networking Fabric Design Center to help architect the right network architecture based on customer’s requirements.
- VxRail & Dell EMC External Storage Infrastructure Awareness integration
VCF on VxRail deployments can inherit the benefits of integration efforts engineered between VxRail and Dell EMC external storage systems that make VxRail “external storage system aware”. This enables administrators to leverage existing Dell EMC external storage investments in their VCF on VxRail environments while maintaining a simple and consistent operations experience, they are used to with VxRail.
- VxRail Manager
It is the primary management and automation tool used for VxRail cluster operations with end-to-end LCM – from automated deployment and configuration through serviceability and support experience. An example is native integration within VxRail Manager with SRS Connect-Home support as well as capabilities to automate serviceability tasks such as proactive drive replacements. VxRail Manager extensibility is a key enabler to how VCF and VxRail are integrated.
The VxRail HCI System software has been seamlessly integrated with vCenter through the VxRail Manager vCenter plugin. This provides operational transparency that enables customers to manage 100% of VxRail Manager HCI system management tasks along with additional serviceability and support capabilities, all from within the familiar vCenter console, essentially eliminating any friction for customers who want seamless management of their VxRail from the familiar vCenter interface. Examples of some of these management capabilities include: physical and logical detailed graphical node views with built-in physical geo-location tags, centralized HCI system events and alerting, eServices access, automated failed disk drive serviceability automation, and VxRail dashboards.
- VMware Cloud Builder
VMware Cloud Builder is a standardized and automated SDDC deployment tool that has been made “VxRail aware” through VMware and Dell EMC co-engineering efforts. Cloud Builder helps automate the day 0 deployment of the VMware SDDC components and configure them according to the VMware’s SDDC best practices and standardized architecture, and can do so specifically on top of VxRail infrastructure. Essentially, Cloud Builder deploys VMware Cloud Foundation on top of what VxRail Manager has already configured when deploying a VxRail cluster saving customers time and effort when setting up their SDDC infrastructure stack.
- VMware SDDC Manager
Dell EMC and VMware joint engineering integration have added capabilities to SDDC Manager, exclusive for running VMware Cloud Foundation for VxRail software on VxRail. These include integration between SDDC Manager and VxRail Manager to provide automated creation of vCenter and VxRail Workload Domains using NSX-T, automation for SDDC and VxRail Managers, and an industry exclusive, full end-to-end lifecycle automation management for the VxRail clusters and VMware SDDC software stack.