Dell EMC VxBlock 1000: Some history and What’s New
Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:40:24 -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.
Related Blog Posts
Secure Cloud: Check! Flexible Cloud Networking: Check! Powerful Cloud Hardware: Check!
Wed, 25 Aug 2021 15:22:26 -0000|
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Dell Technologies and VMware are happy to announce the availability of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.3.0 on VxRail 7.0.202. This new release provides several security-related enhancements, including FIPS 140-2 support, password auto-rotation support, SDDC Manager secure API authentication, data protection enhancements, and more. VxRail-specific enhancements include support for the more powerful, 3rd Gen AMD EYPC™ CPUs and NVIDIA A100 GPUs (check this blog for more information about the corresponding VxRail release), and more flexible network configuration options with the support for multiple System Virtual Distributed Switches (vDS).
Let’s quickly discuss the comprehensive list of the new enhancements and features:
VCF and VxRail Software BOM Updates
These include the updated version of vSphere, vSAN, NSX-T, and VxRail Manager. Please refer to the VCF on VxRail Release Notes for comprehensive, up-to-date information about the release and supported software versions.
VCF on VxRail Networking Enhancements
Day 2 AVN deployment using SDDC Manager workflows
The configuration of an NSX-T Edge cluster and AVN networks are now a post-deployment process that is automated through SDDC Manager. This approach simplifies and accelerates the VCF on VxRail Bring-up and provides more flexibility for the network configuration after the initial deployment of the platform.
Figure 1: Cloud Foundation Initial Deployment – Day 2 NSX-T Edge and AVN
Shrink and expand operations of NSX-T Edge Clusters using SDDC Manager workflows
NSX-T Edge Clusters can now be expanded and shrunk using in-built-in automation from within SDDC Manager. This allows VCF operators to scale the right level of resources on-demand without having to size for demand up-front, which results in more flexibility and better use of infrastructure resources in the platform.
VxRail Multiple System VDS support
Two System Virtual Distributed Switch (vDS) configuration support was introduced in VxRail 7.0.13x. VCF 4.3 on VxRail 7.0.202 now supports a VxRail deployed with two system vDS, offering more flexibility and choice for the network configuration of the platform. This is relevant for customers with strict requirements for separating the network traffic (for instance, some customers might be willing to use a dedicated network fabric and vDS for vSAN). See the Figure 2 below for a sample diagram of the new network topology supported:
Figure 2: Multiple System VDS Configuration Example
VCF on VxRail Data Protection Enhancements
Expanded SDDC Manager backup and restore capabilities for improved VCF platform recovery
This new release introduces new abilities to define a periodic backup schedule, retention policies of backups, and disable or enable these schedules in the SDDC Manager UI, resulting in simplified backup and recovery of the platform (see the screenshot below in Figure 3).
Figure 3: Backup Schedule
VCF on VxRail Security Enhancements
SDDC Manager certificate management operations – expanded support for using SAN attributes
The built-in automated workflow for generating certificate signing requests (CSRs) within SDDC Manager has been further enhanced to include the option to input a Subject Alternate Name (SAN) when generating a certificate signing request. This improves security and prevents vulnerability scanners from flagging invalid certificates.
SDDC Manager Password Management auto-rotation support
Many customers need to rotate and update passwords regularly across their infrastructure, and this can be a tedious task if not automated. VCF 4.3 provides automation to update individual supported platform component passwords or rotate all supported platform component passwords (including integrated VxRail Manager passwords) in a single workflow. This feature enhances the security and improves the productivity of the platform admins.
FIPS 140-2 Support for SDDC Manager, vCenter, and Cloud Builder
This new support increases the number of VCF on VxRail components that are FIPS 140-2 compliant in addition to VxRail Manager, which is already compliant with this security standard. It improves platform security and regulatory compliance with FIPS 140-2.
Improved VCF API security
Token based Auth API access is now enabled within VCF 4.3 for secure authentication to SDDC Manager by default. Access to private APIs that use Basic Auth has been restricted. This change improves platform security when interacting with the VCF API.
VxRail Hardware Platform Enhancements
VCF 4.3 on VxRail 7.0.202 brings new hardware features including support for AMD 3rd Generation EPYC CPU Platform Support and Nvidia A100 GPUs.
These new hardware options provide better performance and more configuration choices. Check this blog for more information about the corresponding VxRail release.
VCF on VxRail Multi-Site Architecture Enhancements
NSX-T Federation guidance - upgrade and password management Day 2 operations
New manual guidance for password and certificate management and backup & restore of Global Managers.
As you can see, most of the new enhancements in this release are focused on improving platform security and providing more flexibility of the network configurations. Dell Technologies and VMware continue to deliver the optimized, turnkey platform experience for customers adopting the hybrid cloud operating model. If you’d like to learn more, please check the additional resources linked below.
Dell EMC PowerEdge R750 Virtualized Workload Performance measurement using VMmark 3.1.1
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 14:21:24 -0000|
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This blog is about virtualization benchmarks that we ran at the Dell EMC labs in June 2021. The specific example showcased here is the performance of Dell PowerEdge R750 with Intel Xeon Platinum 8380 processors running virtualized workloads as prescribed by the VMmark 3.1.1 benchmark. At a high level, the configuration tested was made up of the following components:
Server Model: Dell EMC PowerEdge R750
Storage Model: Dell EMC PowerMax 8000
Hypervisor: VMware ESXi 7.0 U2 Build 17630552
Datacenter Management Software: VMware vCenter Server 7.0 U1c Build 17327586
- Systems Under Test (SUTs) hardware configuration
The hardware configuration for the Dell EMC PowerEdge R750 systems under test is shown in Table 1.
Table 1 SUTs hardware configuration
Number of Servers
Server Manufacturer and Model
Dell EMC PowerEdge R750
Processor Vendor and Model
Intel Xeon Platinum 8380
Processor Speed/ Turbo Boost Speed
2.3 GHz / 3.4 GHz
Total Sockets/Total Cores/Total Threads
2 Sockets / 80 Cores / 160 Threads
2048 GB, 32 DIMMs
Memory Type and Speed
64 GB 2Rx4 DDR4 3200 MHz RDIMM
Disk Subsystem Type
Number of Disk Controllers
Disk Controller Vendors and Models
Dell PERC H745
Number of Physical Disks for Hypervisor
Disk Vendors, Models, Capacities, and Speeds
WDC, WUSTR1596ASS200, 960 GB, 12 Gbps SSD
Number of Host Bus Adapters
Host Bus Adapter Vendors and Models
QLE2692 Dual Port 16 Gb FC Adapter
Number of Network Controllers
Network Controller Vendors and Models
Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet BCM5720
- Storage hardware configuration
The workload VMs were hosted by the SUTs and resided on attached shared SAN storage.
In this configuration a Dell PowerMax 8000 was used as shown in Table 2.
Table 2 Storage hardware configuration
Dell EMC PowerMax 8000
- Networking hardware configuration
The networking switches used for the test bed are shown in Table 3.
Table 3 Networking hardware configuration
1 x Dell PowerConnect 6248, 1 x Dell Force10 S4810
1 Gbps for SUT management, 10 Gbps for vMotion, Clients and VMs
- About VMmark
VMmark is VMware’s virtualization workload performance benchmark. At a high level, the latest version, VMmark 3.1.1, is a multi-server, virtualized datacenter benchmark developed to measure the performance and scalability of virtualization platforms. It performs infrastructure operations such as dynamic virtual machine relocation, dynamic virtual machine storage relocation, and virtual machine provisioning while running applications on workload VMs.
The performance of those individual workloads is aggregated to represent the overall performance of the virtualized data center, while meeting minimum quality of service (QoS) requirements.
- Dell EMC PowerEdge R750 VMmark 3.1.1 result
The published result was run on two PowerEdge R750 servers configured as a Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster. The workload deployed was made up of 14 tiles. Each tile was a grouping of 19 workload VMs. Some of the workload VMs simulated scalable web applications. Examples of such applications include social networking and online auction web sites. Other workload tile VMs simulated E-Commerce. The 14 tiles added up to a total of 266 workload VMs, with each PowerEdge R750 hosting 133 workload VMs.
- Summary of results
The Dell EMC PowerEdge R750 cluster achieved a score of 13.95 with 14 tiles. The results met all QoS thresholds and was in complete compliance with VMmark 3.1.1 run rules.
The submitted test results included the following infrastructure operations and associated statistics are shown in Table 4.
Table 4 Test results
For more information about VMmark, see:
For the full official publication of the Dell VMmark benchmark result, see: