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
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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.
Talking CloudIQ: Capacity Monitoring and Planning
Fri, 09 Dec 2022 15:37:42 -0000|
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This is the third in a series of blogs discussing CloudIQ. In my first blog, I provided a high-level overview of CloudIQ and some of its key features. My second blog talked about the CloudIQ Proactive Health Score. I will continue the series with a discussion of the capacity monitoring and planning features in CloudIQ.
Capacity monitoring helps you plan for expansions of storage arrays, data protection appliances, storage-as-a-service, and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to help overcome unexpected spikes in storage consumption. CloudIQ uses advanced analytics to provide short-term capacity prediction analysis, longer-term capacity forecasting, and capacity anomaly detection. Capacity anomaly detection is the identification of a sudden surge in utilization that may result in a space full condition in less than 24 hours.
The CloudIQ Home page displays the Capacity Approaching Full tile which identifies storage entities that are full or expected to be full in each of the following time ranges:
- Imminent (predicted to run out of space within 24 hours)
- Within a week
- Within a month
- Within a quarter
Figure 1. The Capacity Approaching Full tile
In situations where there is a storage entity in the Imminent category, CloudIQ identifies the components of the entity that are experiencing the sudden increase in utilization. This gives users the necessary information about where to look to correct the offending behavior. In the following example, CloudIQ has identified a storage pool that is expected to run out of space in five hours. The pool details page identifies the file systems and LUNs that are the top contributors to the expected rise in utilization.
Figure 2. Capacity Forecast for a pool that has a capacity anomaly
Two other CloudIQ features help you quickly find a solution for storage that is fast approaching full. First, there is the identification of reclaimable storage that shows you where you can recover unused capacity in a system. Second, there is the multisystem capacity view that lets you scan all your storage systems to pinpoint which have excess capacity to relieve approaching-full systems of their workloads.
CloudIQ identifies different types of storage that are potentially reclaimable. The following criteria are used to identify reclaimable storage:
- Block objects with no hosts attached
- File objects with no front end I/O in the past week
- Block objects with no front end I/O in the past week
- Block-based virtual machines that have been shut down for the past week
- File-based virtual machines that have been shut down for the past week
Users can quickly see the storage objects, where the object resides, and the amount of reclaimable space. The Last IO Time is provided for block and file objects that have no detected IO activity in the last week. For VMs that have been shut down for at least a week, the storage object on which the VM resides along with the vCenter and time that the VM was shut down is available. The following figure shows an example of reclaimable storage for block objects that have had no front-end IO activity in the past week.
Figure 3. The Reclaimable Storage page – Block Objects with no front end IO activity
Multisystem capacity view
The multisystem capacity view provides a quick view of physical usable, used, free, and storage efficiencies across all storage, HCI, and data protection systems monitored by CloudIQ. This allows users to see quickly which systems are low on usable space, determine which systems are good targets for workload migration, and verify that their storage efficiencies and data reduction numbers are what they are expecting.
Figure 4. Multisystem capacity view for storage
Storage system details
Detailed capacity views for storage systems and storage objects provide additional information, including data efficiencies and data reduction metrics. The following figure shows the physical and logical storage breakdown and data reduction charts for a PowerStore cluster.
Figure 5. PowerStore cluster storage details
For APEX block storage service subscriptions, CloudIQ provides both subscribed and physical storage views. Subscribed views provide the storage usage including base and on-demand storage usage.
Figure 6. APEX block storage services subscription view
With custom reports and the use of custom tags, users can create meaningful business reports and schedule those reports to be delivered to the required end users. Reports can include both line charts and tables and can be filtered on any field. The following figure shows a simple table that includes used and free capacities, data reduction values, and several custom tags.
Figure 7. Custom report for storage
CloudIQ’s intelligence and predictive analytics helps users proactively manage and accurately plan data storage and workload expansions, and to act quickly to avoid rapidly approaching capacity full conditions. Custom reports and tagging allows users to create, schedule, and deliver reports with technical and business information tailored to a wide variety of stakeholders. And for users looking to integrate data from CloudIQ with existing IT management tools, CloudIQ provides a public REST API.
How do you become more familiar with Dell Technologies and CloudIQ? The Dell Technologies Info Hub site provides expertise that helps to ensure customer success with Dell Technologies platforms. We have CloudIQ demos, white papers, and videos available at the Dell Technologies CloudIQ page. Also, feel free to reference the CloudIQ Overview Whitepaper which provides an in-depth summary of CloudIQ. Interested in DevOps? Go to our public API page for information about integrating CloudIQ with other IT tools using Webhooks or REST API.
Author: Derek Barboza, Senior Principal Engineering Technologist