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
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.
Talking CloudIQ: Proactive Health Scores
Fri, 05 Aug 2022 20:29:33 -0000|
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This is the second 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. I will continue with a series of blogs, each talking about one of the key features in more detail. This blog discusses one of CloudIQ’s key differentiating features: the Proactive Health Score.
Proactive Health Score
The Proactive Health Score uses various factors to provide a consolidated view of a system’s health into a single health score. Health scores are based on up to five categories: Components, Configuration, Capacity, Performance, and Data Protection. Based on the resulting health score, the system is put into one of three risk categories: Poor, Fair, or Good. The score starts at 100 and is reduced by the issue with the highest deduction.
A system in the Poor category has a score of 0 to 70 and poses an imminent critical risk. It could be a storage pool that is overprovisioned and full, meaning that systems will be trying to write to storage that is unavailable. Or it could be a significant component failure. Whatever the issue, it is something that requires your immediate attention.
A system in the Fair category has a score of 71 to 94. Systems in this category have an issue that should be looked at, but certainly not something that requires you to get out of bed at 3:00am to address immediately. It could be something like a storage pool predicted to be full in a week or a system inlet temperature that exceeds the upper warning threshold on a PowerEdge server.
A system in the Good category has a score of 95 to 100 and is doing fine. There may be a minor issue that you need to look at, but nothing significant that is expected to cause any near-term problems. An example would be a fibre port with a warning status on a Connectrix switch.
Now what happens if there are multiple issues on a system? We hinted at this earlier. The score is only affected by the most critical issue. Let’s say that there are four issues on a system: one 30-point deduction, one 10-point deduction, and two 5-point deductions. In this case, the health score is 70. When the 30-point deduction is addressed, the score would become 90. We do this to prevent a system with several minor issues from appearing at high risk or at a higher risk than a system with a significant issue.
Figure 1. System Health page
So now that we have been notified of an issue on a system, what do we do next? Well, with CloudIQ, we will offer up recommended remediation actions to address the issue before it has a significant impact on the environment. This may come in the form of a recommended configuration change or other action, a knowledge base article with a resolution, or some commands to run to gain the necessary information to resolve the issue.
Figure 2. Recommended remediation
Health Score History
CloudIQ also tracks the history of the Proactive Health Score. We can see both new and resolved issues along a chart with a selectable date range. Details of the issues are listed below the chart. By providing the history of the health score, CloudIQ allows users to identify possible recurring issues in the environment.
Figure 3. Health Score history
What if we do not want to log in to CloudIQ on a daily or weekly basis to check our systems? We can easily be notified by email any time a system health change occurs. These notifications can be set up for a configurable set of systems, allowing users only to receive notifications for those systems for which they are responsible.
For the more motivated user, CloudIQ supports Webhooks. With this feature, users can send a Webhook for any health change notification to integrate with third-party tools such as ServiceNow, Slack, or Teams. Webhooks are sent for both open and closed issues with a unique identifier. This allows users to correlate the resolved issue with the open issue to automatically close out any created incident. Some Webhook integration examples can be found here.
Whether it be for storage, networking, hyperconverged, servers, or data protection, the Proactive Health Score summarizes the health of a system into a single number, providing an immediate indication of the status of each system. Developed in tandem with experts from each product team, any issues identified for a system are accompanied by recommended remediation to help with self-service and quickly reduce risk. And with email notifications and Webhooks, users can be notified proactively any time an issue is identified.
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.
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I'll talk about capacity forecasting and capacity anomaly detection in CloudIQ.
Author: Derek Barboza, Senior Principal Engineering Technologist