Dell EMC VxBlock 1000: Some history and What’s New
Thu, 13 Aug 2020 23:07:55 -0000|
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First for the “some history” part! Converged Infrastructure (CI) is not a new concept – it’s been with us for more than 10 years. Hey, one could even consider that we were the “inventors” of CI back in the days when we publicly announced it on November 03, 2009 (Press Release).
Figure 1. EMC Joe Tucci (center) unveils the Virtual Computing Environment coalition with VMware's Paul Maritz (left) and Cisco's John Chambers (right).
Nowadays the CI concept is well understood, but in 2009 it was kind of ground breaking since this approach had never been taken before.
“All datacenter requirements in just one system? How could that be possible?”
Those were the days of separated, disconnected, and siloed domains (compute, storage, networks) and CI was a new disruptive technology solution that would require a complete transformation in how IT would architect and consume datacenter infrastructure.
To have a clearer understanding of how Dell Technologies comprehends CI – then and now, we could define our CI end-to-end engineered turnkey system as:
VxBlock 1000, Industry-leading Converged Infrastructure, simplifies all aspects of IT by seamlessly integrating all the compute, network, storage and data protection and cloud management technologies you need into one engineered system. It is an all-in-one, “data center in a box.” You can offload the complexities and risks associated with managing enterprise-grade data center infrastructure so that your IT teams can confidently focus on higher-value activities. (from Top Reasons Why Organizations Choose VxBlock 1000 Converged Infrastructure).
For those new to VxBlock 1000, here are some of the most important values VxBlock has provided:
- High availability & data protection
- No single point of failure
- High availability in all components, fault tolerance as an option
- Broad data protection suite
- High scalability & consistent performance
- 100+ PB storage
- 1000+ blade & rack servers
- Scale-up & scale-out, symmetrically or asymmetrically
- NVMe end-to-end
- Rich data services & highest efficiency
- In-line, all-the-time services
- Compression, de-dupe, replication, encryption, copy data management & machine learning
- Cloud operating model & converged management
- Tight VMware vRealize Integration
- Consistent tool set across hybrid cloud
And what has happened during this 10+ year period?
Many things. Many milestones. Many systems sold. Many successful customer stories and projects that have led VxBlock to a very effective and consistent $1 billion annual run rate business just four years into its existence. Check the diagram below to reflect on some of the key milestones VxBlock and Dell Technologies CI as a whole have delivered during this decade.
Figure 2. VxBlock 1000 one-decade journey
Today, with more than 4500 systems installed in over 100 countries, VxBlock 1000 keeps on leading the way, innovating the CI arena in four key areas that address the second part of this blog post, namely “What’s New”:
- Flexible technology choices
- Converged management and automation
- Life cycle management
- Future proof design and support
Flexible technology choices
VxBlock System 1000 gives you a choice of industry-leading technologies to meet the needs of all your different workloads, ranging from mission-critical, general purpose (virtualized or not), Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, End User Computing/Virtual Desktops… you name it!
Mix and match powerful Dell EMC storage and data protection options, Cisco UCS blade and rack servers, Cisco LAN and SAN networking, and VMware virtualization and cloud management. For more details on infrastructure see VxBlock 1000 data sheet and specs.
Since VxBlock 1000 is not just a reference architecture or a bill of materials, it eliminates the traditional risks associated with “Do It Yourself” approaches. It’s a fully integrated system that is engineered, manufactured, managed, supported, and sustained as one product, delivering a turnkey experience. Dell Technologies validates interoperability of components and provides a predictable system maintenance process that improves availability and productivity.
Converged management and automation
VxBlock 1000 leverages its deep VMware integration to simplify automation of everything from daily infrastructure provisioning tasks to delivery of IaaS and SaaS. At the foundation is VxBlock Central software that provides a single unified interface and access point for converged infrastructure operations.
Figure 3. VxBlock Central, a single pane of glass for management, automation, and LCM
VxBlock Central software dramatically simplifies daily administration by providing enhanced system-level awareness, automation and analytics, including launch points to:
- VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) with workflows for automating daily operational tasks
- vRealize Operations (vROps) for deep VxBlock analytics and simplified capacity management
As customers place workloads on top of VxBlock 1000, VxBlock Central helps to provide and maintain these services by managing the infrastructure underneath. See here for more great info about VxBlock Central Workflow Automation and the 40+ workflows available in the Workflow Automation Library.
Life cycle management
Dell EMC CloudIQ for VxBlock features next-generation lifecycle management (LCM) that enables IT teams to more flexibly plan ahead and control converged hardware lifecycle, further reducing risk with proactive SaaS-based insights. You gain granular control over hardware inventory, milestones, support interoperability, and upgrade scenarios.
Future proof design and support
VxBlock 1000 is built with a perpetual design, meaning it will ensure that your system stays ready to support the introduction of next-generation technologies within any of the fundamental domains of the system, whether storage, compute, or network. You can address increased performance and scalability requirements while maximizing the return on your system investment.
Dell Technologies delivers fully integrated 24/7 support with a single call. There’s never any finger-pointing between vendors. You can always rely on our fully cross-trained team for a fast resolution to any problem. Our portfolio of services (including deployment services, migration services, and residency services) accelerates speed of deployment and integration into your IT environment. It also minimizes downtime by ensuring your software and hardware remains up to date throughout the product lifecycle.
One decade ago, Dell Technologies defined the foundations for CI and created a platform that has evolved to what today is VxBlock 1000. This system (compute, network, storage and management layer) is created (engineered and manufactured), maintained (single management and support), and sustained (in ongoing certified code upgrades) by Dell EMC during its entire journey. Customers simply take the keys of the car and drive.
Ignacio Borrero - LinkedIn, Twitter: @virtualpeli
Related Blog Posts
Introducing new Converged Management Software with CloudIQ for VxBlock Systems
Thu, 16 Dec 2021 19:53:16 -0000|
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We are delighted to announce that today, our new Converged Management Software (CMS) for VxBlock System 1000, VxBlock System 740, VxBlock System 540, and VxBlock System 350 is available. CMS is an exciting new product that provides a unified CloudIQ integrated management for Converged Infrastructure (CI) operations for VxBlock. It dramatically simplifies daily administration by providing enhanced system-level awareness, automation, and analytics. CMS replaces VxBlock Central, and VxBlock Central software is no longer available with new VxBlock Systems.
What is CMS?
CMS is a lightweight on-prem software that provides VxBlock system configuration and data discovery. CMS collects the required management data from different components within your VxBlock system and sends it to CloudIQ, a single pane of glass management dashboard for VxBlock operations for processing and analytics. With CMS, you can consolidate management and monitoring of VxBlock systems with other Dell Technologies infrastructure solutions through CloudIQ.
8 Fun-Facts about CMS:
- CloudIQ conveniently unifies the management dashboard for VxBlock systems and other Dell infrastructure products
- Deployment and system configuration time is drastically reduced with simplified on-prem CMS software
- Asset management for compute, storage, and virtualization in the context of converged infrastructure inventory allows for simplicity
- Greater visibility into lifecycle milestones for components in the converged systems for better TCO management
- Efficient monitoring of the status of service contracts for exceptional Dell support
- Automation workflows to expand compute and storage resources more quickly and systematically
- Deep KPI metrics including capacity reporting and performance analytics with historical perspective for storage devices when onboarded within CloudIQ
- Comprehensive telemetry for efficient and streamlined support experience
Dell EMC’s latest Converged Management System (CMS) is now available and replaces VxBlock Central. CMS automates complex orchestration tasks and simplifies lifecycle management while enabling exceptional infrastructure visibility. Please use the following resources to learn more about the VxBlock systems and CloudIQ.
- Dell EMC and Partner FAQs: Converged Management Software 1.0 AND VxBlock Central End of Life
- VxBlock Product Page
- VxBlock Technical Collateral
- VxBlock Product Overview
- CloudIQ Product Page
- CIoudIQ Simulator
- Dell Technologies Document Center
Authors: Udit Sharma and Sameer Mohile
100 GbE Networking – Harness the Performance of vSAN Express Storage Architecture
Wed, 22 Mar 2023 07:04:42 -0000|
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For a few years, 25GbE networking has been the mainstay of rack networking, with 100 GbE reserved for uplinks to spine or aggregation switches. 25 GbE provides a significant leap in bandwidth over 10 GbE, and today carries no outstanding price premium over 10 GbE, making it a clear winner for new buildouts. But should we still be continuing with this winning 25 GbE strategy? Is it time to look to a future of 100 GbE networking within the rack? Or is that future now?
This question stems from my last blog post: VxRail with vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) where I called out VMware’s 100 GbE recommended for maximum performance. But just how much more performance can vSAN ESA deliver with 100GbE networking? VxRail is fortunate to have its performance team, who stood up two identical six-node VxRail with vSAN ESA clusters, except for the networking. One was configured with Broadcom 57514 25 GbE networking, and the other with Broadcom 57508 100 GbE networking.
When it comes to benchmark tests, there is a large variety to choose from. Some benchmark tests are ideal for generating headline hero numbers for marketing purposes – think quarter-mile drag racing. Others are good for helping with diagnosing issues. Finally, there are benchmark tests that are reflective of real-world workloads. OLTP32K is a popular one, reflective of online transaction processing with a 70/30 read-write split and a 32k block size, and according to the aggregated results from thousands of Live Optics workload observations across millions of servers.
One more thing before we get to the results of the VxRail Performance Team's testing. The environment configuration. We used a storage policy of erasure coding with a failure tolerance of two and compression enabled.
When VMware announced vSAN with Express Storage Architecture they published a series of blogs all of which I encourage you to read. But as part of our 25 GbE vs 100 GbE testing, we also wanted to verify the astounding claims of RAID-5/6 with the Performance of RAID-1 using the vSAN Express Storage Architecture and vSAN 8 Compression - Express Storage Architecture. In short, forget the normal rules of storage performance, VMware threw that book out of the window. We didn’t throw our copy out of the window, well not at first, but once our results validated their claims… it went out.
Let’s look at the data: Boom!
Figure 1. ESA: OLTP32KB 70/30 RAID6 25 GbE vs 100 GbE performance graph
Boom! A 78% increase in peak IOPS with a substantial 49% drop in latency. This is a HUGE increase in performance, and the sole difference is the use of the Broadcom 57508 100 GbE networking. Also, check out that latency ramp-up on the 25 GbE line, it’s just like hitting a wall. While it is almost flat on the 100 GbE line.
But nobody runs constantly at 100%, at least they shouldn’t be. 60 to 70% of absolute max is typically a normal day-to-day comfortable peak workload, leaving some headroom for spikes or node maintenance. At that range, there is an 88% increase in IOPS with a 19 to 21% drop in latency, with a smaller drop in latency attributable to the 25 GbE configuration not hitting a wall. As much as applications like high performance, it is needed to deliver performance with consistent and predictable latency, and if it is low all the better. If we focus on just latency, the 100 GbE networking enabled 350K IOPS to be delivered at 0.73 ms, while the 25 GbE networking can squeak out 106K IOPS at 0.72 ms. That may not be the fairest of comparisons, but it does highlight how much 100GbE networking can benefit latency-sensitive workloads.
Boom, again! This benchmark is not reflective of real-world workloads but is a diagnostic test that stresses the network with its 100% read-and-write workloads. Can this find the bottleneck that 25 GbE hit in the previous benchmark?
Figure 2. ESA: 512KB RAID6 25 GbE vs 100 GbE performance graph
This testing was performed on a six-node cluster, with each node contributing one-sixth of the throughput shown in this graph. 20359MB/s of random read throughput for the 25 GbE cluster or 3393 MB/s per node. Which is slightly above the theoretical max throughput of 3125 MB/s that 25 GbE can deliver. This is the absolute maximum that 25 GbE can deliver! In the world of HCI, the virtual machine workload is co-resident with the storage. As a result, some of the IO is local to the workload, resulting in higher than theoretical throughput. For comparison, the 100 GbE cluster achieved 48,594 MB/s of random read throughput, or 8,099 MB/s per node out of a theoretical maximum of 12,500 MB/s.
But this is just the first release of the Express Storage Architecture. In the past, VMware has added significant gains to vSAN, as seen in the lab-based performance analysis of Harnessing the Performance of Dell EMC VxRail 7.0.100. We can only speculate on what else they have in store to improve upon this initial release.
What about costs, you ask? Street pricing can vary greatly depending on the region, so it's best to reach out to your Dell account team for local pricing information. Using US list pricing as of March 2023, I got the following:
Broadcom 57414 dual 25 Gb
S5248F-ON 48 port 25 GbE
25 GbE Passive Copper DAC
Broadcom 57508 dual 100Gb
S5232F-ON 32 port 100 GbE
100 GbE Passive Copper DAC
Total per port
Overall, the per-port cost of the 100 GbE equipment was 2.04 times that of the 25 GbE equipment. However, this doubling of network cost provides four times the bandwidth, a 78% increase in storage performance, and a 49% reduction in latency.
If your workload is IOPS-bound or latency-sensitive and you had planned to address this issue by adding more VxRail nodes, consider this a wakeup call. Adding dual 100Gb came at a total list cost of $42,648 for the twelve ports used. This cost is significantly less than the list price of a single VxRail node and a fraction of the list cost of adding enough VxRail nodes to achieve the same level of performance increase.
Reach out to your networking team; they would be delighted to help deploy the 100 Gb switches your savings funded. If decision-makers need further encouragement, send them a link to VMware's vSAN 8 Total Cost of Ownership white paper.
While 25 GbE has its place in the datacenter, when it comes to deploying vSAN Express Storage Architecture, it's clear that we're moving beyond it and onto 100 GbE. The future is now 100 GbE, and we thank Broadcom for joining us on this journey.