Identity Modules role in Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes
Fri, 19 Nov 2021 18:03:54 -0000|
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When we think about vSAN Ready Nodes from a Dell Technologies perspective, we provide a wide portfolio of platforms to choose from, both in terms of form factors and technical specifications. We can also offer ease of operations and life cycle management, which are made possible by the graceful integration of Dell EMC Open Manage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV) with VMware’s vSphere lifecycle management (vLCM).
But…is there anything else?
The answer is yes! Behind the scenes is a simple technology that enables the Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes platform to reach advanced levels of automation.
Let me introduce the Dell EMC Identity Module.
Our first contact with this interesting subject comes when we first connect to the underlying PowerEdge iDRAC interface. As shown in the following image, the iDRAC has spotted something.
Is there anything different in this Dell EMC R740XD vSAN Ready Node than what we could observe if instead we were seeing a standard PowerEdge R740XD? Indeed. That brief description of the R740XD vSAN Ready Node makes the difference. We’ll get to that very soon.
As you may know, vCenter is the main management console for a VMware platform such as vSAN Ready Nodes. From vCenter, we can see a very similar description of our Ready Node:
What if we were just seeing a PowerEdge server, such as a PowerEdge MX740C?
No mention of Ready Node here, just a vanilla description of the server model. So, what’s the deal about that unique chassis identification provided by the Identity Module?
That particular text string enables any programmatic interface to locate and direct an operation to that specific set of infrastructure assets. A select type primitive from an automation platform may be able to pinpoint a Dell EMC vSAN Ready Node from other servers because it has an Identity Module. This means that if we have a 100-node server farm, in which 16 are, for example, Dell EMC R740XD vSAN Ready Nodes, and the rest are other server types without an Identity Module, we can easily direct any operation coming from an automation framework such as vRealize Orchestrator, Ansible, or Puppet to our Ready Nodes, and it will respond positively to any query that is looking for a vSAN Ready Node text string.
The Identity Module, as a unique chassis identification method, allows any programmatic operation to distinguish the ready node farm from the rest of the servers in the datacenter—a simple feature that enables such powerful automation. On top of this, from a support perspective, the Identity Module enables Dell teams to more rapidly triage and diagnose any system anomaly. This feature helps the more than 1.800 VMware certified Dell support engineers solve above 90% of the cases in-house, avoiding the need to route level 3 tickets to VMware.
Consider it another technology tidbit that helps differentiate Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes from other similar offerings.
To read more about Identity Modules driven automation, check out this blog (Tony’ blog on IDMod automation, when available).
For more technical information on Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes, check here.
Inigo Olcoz, Senior Principal Engineering Technologist at Dell Technologies
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The Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes Differentiator
Thu, 14 Oct 2021 20:45:18 -0000|
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It’s been over a decade since hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) disrupted technology. An ideal architecture for HCI would be a simple, modular architecture, in which all datacenter components (compute, storage, and networking) are consumed in a virtualized way to simplify allocating and managing resources. With this architecture, all physical components reside in the same box. When we combine these boxes, we can scale our datacenter power in all resource domains to accommodate almost any type of workload. This is due to extremely fast processors, large and efficient storage devices, and advanced network connections.
If we abstract the hardware layer in this architecture and imagine a solution that fills all the roles previously described, (virtualization of the three infrastructure domains, compute, network and storage) VMware can easily come to mind. VMware has a strong portfolio of software defined compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN), and networking (NSX family) to create a best of breed hyper-converged infrastructure product.
It will come as no surprise that VMware leads the HCI market due to its vSAN based systems, as reported by IDC1:
In this VMware led market, Dell PowerEdge servers stand out as a logical choice in terms of providing the modular box (server), for this hyperconvergence paradigm. Dell Technologies, as a global server market leader (Worldwide Server Market, IDC), has a long tradition of Ready Systems that allow a simpler customer deployment experience.
Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes (vSAN Ready Nodes) are a great example of an HCI implementation, providing a robust and mature datacenter platform — pre-configured, tested, and certified to run VMware vSAN.
This HCI market is especially relevant as its current growth rate far surpasses that of the server market. According to Gartner2 while the server market is growing at 5.6%, the HCI market is increasing by 23 percent (IDC3). That represents a growth rate more than four times that of the server market:
Server market growth:
HCI market growth:
In this prosperous landscape, Dell Technologies holds an outstanding leading place, with a wide portfolio of HCI offerings, led by Dell EMC VxRail in tandem with vSAN Ready Nodes. More than 20 years of collaboration endorses the relationship between Dell Technologies and VMware, specifically in the server space, where we have worked to simplify our joint customers’ technology experience.4
Dell EMC Ready Nodes simplify and accelerate infrastructure modernization providing IT a strategic advantage with their flexibility, simplified operations, and breadth of choice.
This leadership is founded on four pillars:
- Form factors: Dell Technologies offers an unmatched portfolio of vSAN Ready Nodes options, ranging from 1 to 2U rackmount servers, tower models, and MX series blade options. There are more than 250 different configurations available for Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes. As part of this rich offering, Dell provides unique solutions that scale up to four processors per node.
- Identity Module: This module declares the system a vSAN Ready Node, distinguishing it from a standard off-the-shelf server. All vSAN Ready Node capabilities derive from this Identity Module, facilitating the Day 0 operations provided by vLCM in unison with OMIVV.
- OMIVV (OME): The Dell EMC Open Manage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV) is designed to streamline the management processes in your data center environment by allowing you to use VMware vCenter Server to manage your full server infrastructure, both physical and virtual.
- vSphere Lifecycle Management (vLCM): Consistency across ESXi hosts is essential for creating reliable and high performing platforms, but it is difficult to obtain, especially at scale. vLCM solves the complexity by enforcing consistency across ESXi hosts in a cluster using a declarative model. vLCM not only accomplishes this by using an ESXi base image but extends it with the desired state for firmware and driver versions as well.
Watch for my next blog where I’ll provide more info about the rich variety of vSAN Ready Nodes form factors available from Dell Technologies and how that represents a significant business advantage. For the latest technical content on vSAN Ready Nodes, check out our Info Hub site!
Inigo Olcoz, Technical Marketing Engineer at Dell Technologies
- IDC’s Q32020 Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, December 15th, 2020
- Worldwide End-User Spending on IT by Technology Segment and Subsegment, 2019-2025 (Millions of U.S Dollars).
- IDC Converged Systems Tracker Forecast, Q4020, March 2021
- IDC Quarterly Converged Systems tracker, 2021-Q1.
Satellite nodes: Because sometimes even a 2-node cluster is too much
Tue, 01 Mar 2022 14:58:21 -0000|
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Wait a minute, where's me cluster? Oh no.
You may have noticed a different approach from Dell EMC VxRail in Daniel Chiu’s blog A Taste of VxRail Deployment Flexibility. In short, we are extending the value of VxRail into new adjacencies, into new places, and new use cases. With the release of VxRail dynamic nodes in September, these benefits became a new reality in the landscape of VxRail deployment flexibility:
- Using VxRail for compute clusters with vSAN HCI Mesh
- Using storage arrays with VxRail dynamic nodes in VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail
- Extending the benefits of VxRail HCI System Software to traditional 3-tier architectures using Dell EMC for primary storage
The newest adjacency in 7.0.320 is the VxRail satellite node, as sometimes even a 2-node cluster may be too much.
A VxRail satellite node is ideal for those workloads where the SLA and compute demands do not justify even the smallest of 2-node clusters – in the past you might have even recycled a desktop to meet these requirements. Think retail and ROBO with their many distributed sites, or 5G with its “shared nothing” architecture. But in today’s IT environment, out of sight cannot mean out of mind. Workloads are everywhere and anywhere. The datacenter and the public cloud are just two of the many locations where workloads exist, and compute is needed. These infrastructure needs are well understood, and in the case of public cloud – out of scope. The challenge for IT is managing and maintaining the growing and varied infrastructure demands of workloads outside of the data center, like the edge, in its many different forms. The demands of the edge vary greatly. But even with infrastructure needs met with a single server, IT is still on the hook for managing and maintaining it.
While satellite nodes are a single node extension of VxRail, they are managed and life cycled by the VxRail Manager from a VxRail with vSAN cluster. Targeted at existing VxRail customers, these single nodes should not be thought of as lightweights. We’re leveraging the existing VxRail E660, E660F, and V670F with all their varied hardware options, and have added support for the PERC H755 adapter for local RAID protected storage. This provides options as lightweight as a E660 with an eight core Intel Xeon Gen 3 Scalable processor and spinning disks, all the way up to a V670F with dual 40 core Intel Xeon Gen 3 Scalable processors, accelerated by a pair of NVIDIA Ampere A100 80GB Data Center GPUs, and over 150 TB of flash storage. Because edge workloads come in all sizes from small to HUUUUGE!!!
Back when I started in IT, a story about a Missing Novell server discovered after four years sealed behind a wall was making the rounds. While it was later claimed to be false, it was a story that resonated with many season IT professionals and continues to do so today. Regardless as to where a workload is running, the onus is on IT not only to protect that workload, but also to protect the network, all the other workloads on the network, and anything that might connect to that workload. This is done in layers, with firewalls, DMZ, VPN, and so on. But it is also done by keeping hypervisors updated, and BIOS and firmware up to date.
For six years, VxRail HCI System Software has been helping virtualization administrators keep their VxRail with vSAN cluster up to date, regardless as to where they are in the world -- be it at a remote monitoring station, running a grocery store, or in the dark sealed up behind a wall. VxRail satellite nodes and VxRail dynamic nodes extend the VxRail operating model into new adjacencies. We are enabling you our customers to manage and life cycle these ever growing and diverse workloads with the click of a button.
Also, in the release of VxRail 7.0.320 are two notable stand-outs. The first is validation of Dell EMC PowerFlex scale-out SDS as an option for use with VxRail dynamic nodes. The second is increased resilience for vSAN 2-node clusters (also applies to stretched clusters) which are often used at the edge. Both John Nicholson and Teodora Hristov of VMware do a great job of explaining the nuts and bolts of this useful addition. But I want to reiterate that for 2-node deployments, this increased resilience will require that each node have three disk groups.
Don’t let the fact that a workload is too small, or too remote, or not suited to HCI, be the reason for your company to be at risk by running out-of-date firmware and BIOS. There is more flexibility than ever with VxRail, much more, and the value of VxRail’s automation and HCI System Software can now be extended to the granularity of a single node deployment.