VxRail Manager features user-friendly workflows for automating VxRail deployment and configuration and monitoring the health of individual systems in the entire cluster. It also incorporates functionality for hardware serviceability and system platform lifecycle management. For instance, it guides system administrators through adding new systems to an existing cluster, and it automatically detects new systems when they come online. VxRail Manager is also used to replace failed disk drives without disrupting availability, to generate and download diagnostic log bundles, and to apply VMware updates or software patches non-disruptively across VxRail nodes.
With VxRail Manager plug-in for vCenter Server, all VxRail Manager features are integrated with and accessible from the vCenter Server so that users can benefit from these valuable capabilities on a familiar management interface. With the VxRail Manager plug-in, the vCenter Server can manage physical hardware of the VxRail cluster.
Figure 10. Dell EMC VxRail Manager
VxRail also leverages VMware vRealize Log Insight to monitor system events and provide ongoing holistic notifications about the state of virtual environment and system hardware. It delivers real-time automated log management for the VxRail system with log monitoring, intelligent grouping, and analytics to provide better troubleshooting at scale across VxRail physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Furthermore, VxRail HCI System Software simplifies system platform lifecycle management by delivering patch software and update notifications that can be automatically installed without interruption or downtime.
Dell EMC Secure Remote Services (SRS), also accessible from within VxRail Manager plug-in or REST API, provide enterprise-class support and services. SRS includes online chat support and Dell EMC field-service assistance.
In addition to SRS-specific support, the VxRail Support page on vCenter Server links to VxRail Community pages for Dell EMC Knowledge Base articles, user forums for FAQ information and VxRail best practices.
The VxRail Manager functionality visible through the HTML5 vCenter plugin can be illustrated with the following screenshots. Figure 11 displays a vCenter view showing the VMware Cloud Foundation management domain and workload domain built on VxRail clusters.
Figure 12 displays navigating to the vSAN cluster level, choosing the Monitor tab and selecting Appliances to get to the link to open the VxRail Manager provided physical view for this cluster.
The top level four node management cluster VxRail Hardware view is displayed in Figure 13.
Figure 13. VxRail cluster physical view
Drilling down on the physical views can present additional detail including the display shown in Figure 14 of a hardware view used for instance for disk hardware replacement.
Figure 14. VxRail disk hardware replacement screen
Detailed VxRail hardware component level events and alerts are collected by VxRail Manager and displayed in vCenter as part of the integrated vCenter HTML5 plugin. This provides holistic, system-level health awareness within the SDDC management framework. Failure events are passed to vCenter. Alarms from VxRail start with the prefix ‘VXR’. Figure 15 shows an example in vCenter displaying VxRail hardware alarms.
With VxRail HCI Software version 7.0.010 (and above), VxRail Manager supports geographic location tags for VxRail nodes. The capability allows for important user defined node meta data that can assist many customers in gaining greater visibility of the physical location mapping of the HCI infrastructure that makes up their cloud. Customers can leverage this data to choose VxRail the node/host order they want to be displayed in the VxRail Manager vCenter plugin Physical View. These geo_location host attribute tags can be applied during VxRail Day1 cluster installation or during node expansion and host edit Day 2 operations.
This provides customers with full stack physical to virtual infrastructure mapping to help further extend the VMware Cloud Foundation management experience and simplify operations only available with VCF on VxRail.
Figure 16. Example of VxRail geo_location host tags in the vCenter plugin