The Dell Technologies Cloud Platform – Smaller in Size, Big on Features
Wed, 20 May 2020 13:07:08 -0000|
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The latest VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 on VxRail 7.0 release introduces a more accessible entry cloud option with support for new four node configurations. It also delivers a simple and direct path to vSphere with Kubernetes at cloud scale.
The Dell Technologies team is very excited to announce that May 12, 2020 marked the general availability of our latest Dell Technologies Cloud Platform release, VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 on VxRail 7.0. There is so much to unpack in this release across all layers of the platform, from the latest features of VCF 4.0 to newly supported deployment configurations new to VCF on VxRail. To help you navigate through all of the goodness, I have broken out this post into two sections: VCF 4.0 updates and new features introduced specifically to VCF on VxRail deployments. Let’s jump right to it!
VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 Updates
A lot great information on VCF 4.0 features was already published by VMware as a part of their Modern Apps Launch earlier this year. If you haven’t caught yourself up, check out links to some VMware blogs at the end of this post. Some of my favorite new features include new support for vSphere for Kubernetes (GAMECHANGER!), support for NSX-T in the Management Domain, and the NSX-T compatible Virtual Distributed Switch.
Now let’s dive into the items that are new to VCF on VxRail deployments, specifically ones that customers can take advantage of on top of the latest VCF 4.0 goodness.
New to VCF 4.0 on VxRail 7.0 Deployments
VCF Consolidated Architecture Four Node Deployment Support for Entry Level Cloud (available beginning May 26, 2020)
New to VCF on VxRail is support for the VCF Consolidated Architecture deployment option. Until now, VCF on VxRail required that all deployments use the VCF Standard Architecture. This was due to several factors: a major one was that NSX-T was not supported in the VCF Management Domain until this latest release. Having this capability was a prerequisite before we could support the consolidated architecture with VCF on VxRail.
Before we jump into the details of a VCF Consolidated Architecture deployment, let's review what the current VCF Standard deployment is all about.
VCF Standard Architecture Details
This deployment would consist of:
- A minimum of seven VxRail nodes (however eight is recommended)
- A four node Management Domain dedicated to run the VCF management software and at least one dedicated workload domain that consists of a three node cluster (however four is recommended) to run user workloads
- The Management Domain runs its own dedicated vCenter and NSX-T instance
- The workload domains are deployed with their own dedicated vCenter instances and choice of dedicated or shared NSX-T instances that are separate from the Management Domain NSX-T instance.
A summary of features includes:
- Requires a minimum of 7 nodes (8 recommended)
- A Management Domain dedicated to run management software components
- Dedicated VxRail VI domain(s) for user workloads
- Each workload domain can consist of multiple clusters
- Up to 15 domains are supported per VCF instance including the Management Domain
- vCenter instances run in linked-mode
- Supports vSAN storage only as principal storage
- Supports using external storage as supplemental storage
This deployment architecture design is preferred because it provides the most flexibility, scalability, and workload isolation for customers scaling their clouds in production. However, this does require a larger initial infrastructure footprint, and thus cost, to get started.
For something that allows customers to start smaller, VMware developed a validated VCF Consolidated Architecture option. This allows for the Management domain cluster to run both the VCF management components and a customer’s general purpose server VM workloads. Since you are just using the Management Domain infrastructure to run both your management components and user workloads, your minimum infrastructure starting point consists of the four nodes required to create your Management Domain. In this model, vSphere Resource Pools are used to logically isolate cluster resources to the respective workloads running on the cluster. A single vCenter and NSX-T instance is used for all workloads running on the Management Domain cluster.
VCF Consolidated Architecture Details
A summary of features of a Consolidated Architecture deployment:
- Minimum of 4 VxRail nodes
- Infrastructure and compute VMs run together on shared management domain
- Resource Pools used to segregate and isolate workload types
- Supports multi-cluster and scale to documented vSphere maximums
- Does not support running Horizon Virtual Desktop or vSphere with Kubernetes workloads
- Supports vSAN storage only as principal storage
- Supports using external storage as supplemental storage for workload clusters
For customers to get started with an entry level cloud for general purpose VM server workloads, this option provides a smaller entry point, both in terms of required infrastructure footprint as well as cost.
With the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform, we now have you covered across your scalability spectrum, from entry level to cloud scale!
Automated and Validated Lifecycle Management Support for vSphere with Kubernetes Enabled Workload Domain Clusters
How is it that we can support this? How does this work? What benefits does this provide you, as a VCF on VxRail administrator, as a part of this latest release? You may be asking yourself these questions. Well, the answer is through the unique integration that Dell Technologies and VMware have co-engineered between SDDC Manager and VxRail Manager. With these integrations, we have developed a unique set of LCM capabilities that can benefit our customers tremendously. You can read more about the details in one of my previous blog posts here.
VCF 4.0 on VxRail 7.0 customers who benefit from the automated full stack LCM integration that is built into the platform can now include in this integration vSphere with Kubernetes components that are a part of the ESXi hypervisor! Customers are future proofed to be able to automatically LCM vSphere with Kubernetes enabled clusters when the need arises with fully automated and validated VxRail LCM workflows natively integrated into the SDDC Manager management experience. Cool right?! This means that you can now bring the same streamlined operations capabilities to your modern apps infrastructure just like you already do for your traditional apps! The figure below illustrates the LCM process for VCF on VxRail.
VCF on VxRail LCM Integrated Workflow
Introduction of initial support of VCF (SDDC Manager) Public APIs
VMware Cloud Foundation first introduced the concept of SDDC Manager Public APIs back in version 3.8. These APIs have expanded in subsequent releases and have been geared toward VCF deployments on Ready Nodes.
Well, we are happy to say that in this latest release, the VCF on VxRail team is offering initial support for VCF Public APIs. These will include a subset of the various APIs that are applicable to a VCF on VxRail deployment. For a full listing of the available APIs, please refer to the VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail API Reference Guide.
Another new API related feature in this release is the availability of the VMware Cloud Foundation Developer Center. This provides some very handy API references and code samples built right into the SDDC Manager UI. These references are readily accessible and help our customers to better integrate their own systems and other third party systems directly into VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail. The figure below provides a summary and a sneak peek at what this looks like.
VMware Cloud Foundation Developer Center SDDC Manager UI View
Reduced VxRail Networking Hardware Configuration Requirements
Finally, we end out journey of new features on the hardware front. In this release, we have officially reduced the minimum VxRail node networking hardware configurations required for VCF use cases. With the introduction of vSphere 7.0 in VCF 4.0, admins can now use the vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS) for NSX-T. The need for a separate N-VDS switch has been deprecated. So why is this important and how does this lead to VxRail node network hardware configuration improvements?
Well, up until now, VxRail and SDDC management networks have been configured to use the VDS. And this VDS would be configured to use at least two physical NIC ports as uplinks for high availability. When introducing the use of NSX-T on VxRail, an administrator would need to create a separate N-VDS switch for the NSX-T traffic to use. This switch would require its own pair of dedicated uplinks for high availability. Thus, in VCF on VxRail environments in which NSX-T would be used, each VxRail node would require a minimum of four physical NIC ports to support the two different pairs of uplinks for each of the switches. This resulted in a higher infrastructure footprint for both the VxRail nodes and for a customer’s Top of Rack Switch infrastructure because they would need to turn on more ports on the switch to support all of these host connections. This, in turn, would come with a higher cost.
Fast forward to this release -- now we can run NSX-T traffic on the same VDS as the VxRail and SDDC Manager management traffic. And when you can share the same VDS, you can get away with reducing the number of physical uplink ports to provide high availability down to two and reduce the upfront hardware footprint and cost across the board! Win win! The following figure highlights this new feature.
NSX-T Dual pNIC Features
Well, that about sums it all up. Thanks for coming on this journey and learning about the boat load of new features in VCF 4.0 on VxRail 7.0. As always, feel free to check out the additional resources for more information. Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy out there!
Related Blog Posts
Announcing VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0.1 on Dell EMC VxRail 7.0
Wed, 29 Jul 2020 13:38:33 -0000|
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The latest Dell Technologies Cloud Platform release introduces new support for vSphere with Kubernetes for entry cloud deployments and more
Dell Technologies and VMware are happy to announce the general availability VCF 4.0.1 on VxRail 7.0.
This release offers several enhancements including vSphere with Kubernetes support for entry cloud deployments, enhanced bring up features for more extensibility and accelerated deployments, increased network configuration options, and more efficient LCM capabilities for NSX-T components. Below is the full listing of features that can be found in this release:
- Kubernetes in the management domain: vSphere with Kubernetes is now supported in the management domain. With VMware Cloud Foundation Workload Management, you can deploy vSphere with Kubernetes on the management domain default cluster starting with only four VxRail nodes. This means that DTCP entry cloud deployments can take advantage of running Kubernetes containerized workloads alongside general purpose VM workloads on a common infrastructure!
- Multi-/multi- during VCF bring-up: The Cloud Builder deployment parameter workbook now provides five vSphere Distributed Switch () profiles that allow you to perform bring-up of hosts with two, four, or six physical NICs () and to create up to two vSphere Distributed Switches for isolating system (Management, , ) traffic from overlay (Host, Edge, and Uplinks) traffic.
- Multi-/multi- API support: The VCF API now supports configuring a second vSphere Distributed Switch () using up to four physical NICs (), providing more flexibility to support high performance use cases and physical traffic separation.
- NSX-T cluster-level upgrade support: Users can upgrade specific host clusters within a workload domain so that the upgrade can fit into their maintenance windows bringing about more efficient upgrades.
- Cloud Builder API support for bring-up operations – VCF on VxRail deployment workflows have been enhanced to support using a new Cloud Builder API for bring-up operations. VCF software installation on VxRail during VCF bring-up can now be done using either an API or GUI providing even more platform extensibility capabilities.
- Automated externalization of the vCenter Server for the management domain: Externalizing the vCenter Server that gets created during the VxRail first run (the one used for the management domain) is now automated as part of the bring-up process. This enhanced integration between the VCF Cloud Builder bring-up automation workflow and VxRail API helps to further accelerate installation times for VCF on VxRail deployments.
- BOM Updates: Updated VCF software Bill of Materials with new product versions.
Twitter - @vwhippersnapper
Announcing General Availability of VCF 188.8.131.52 on VxRail 4.7.511
Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:57:10 -0000|
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Improved automated lifecycle management and new hardware options
Today (7/2), Dell Technologies is announcing General Availability of VMware Cloud Foundation 184.108.40.206 on VxRail 4.7.511.
Why we are releasing 220.127.116.11?
Because we’ve been notified about an upcoming important patch for the Cloud Foundation version 3.10 from VMware, and we wanted to incorporate it in a GA version on VxRail for the best experience for our customers.
This new release introduces VCF enhancements and VxRail enhancements.
VMware Cloud Foundation 18.104.22.168 enhancements:
- ESXi Cluster-Level and Parallel Upgrades - Enables customers to update the ESXi software on multiple clusters in the management domain or in a workload domain in parallel. Parallel upgrades reduce the overall time required to upgrade the VCF environment.
Figure 1. ESXi Cluster-Level and Parallel Upgrades
- NSX-T Data Center Cluster-Level and Parallel Upgrades - Enables customers to upgrade all edge clusters in parallel, and then all host clusters in parallel. Again, parallel upgrades reduce the overall time required to upgrade the VCF environment. There’s also a possibility to select specific clusters to upgrade, using multiple upgrade windows, so that there’s no requirement for all clusters to be available at a given time.
- Skip Level Upgrades - Enables customers to upgrade to VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail 3.10 from versions 3.7 and later. Note: in case of VCF on VxRail, this must be performed by Dell EMC Professional Services at this time – customer enabled skip level upgrades will be supported when the feature is available in the GUI.
Option to disable Application Virtual Networks (AVNs) during Bring-up - AVNs deploy vRealize Suite components on NSX overlay networks. We recommend using this option during bring-up. Customers can now disable this feature, for instance, if they are not planning to use vRealize Suite components.
- Support for multiple NSX-T Transport Zones - Some customers require this option due to their architecture/security standards, for even better separation of the network traffic. It’s now available as a Day 2 configuration option that can be enabled by customers or VMware Professional Services.
- BOM Updates - Updated Bill of Materials with new product versions. For an updated BOM, please consult the release notes.
VxRail 4.7.511 enhancements:
- VCF on VxRail login using RSA SecurID two-factor authentication - Allows customers to implement more secure, two-factor authentication for VCF on VxRail using the RSA SecurID solution.
- Support for new hardware options - Please check this blog post and the press release for more details on VxRail 4.7.510 platform features:
- Intel Optane Persistent Memory
- VxRail D560 / D560F – ruggedized VxRail nodes
- VxRail E665/F/N – AMD-based VxRail nodes
VMware Cloud Foundation 22.214.171.124 on VxRail 4.7.511 provides several features that allow existing customers to upgrade their platform more efficiently than ever before. The updated LCM capabilities offer not only more efficiency (with parallelism), but more flexibility in terms of handling the maintenance windows. With skip level upgrade, available in this version as a professional service, it’s also possible to get to this latest release much faster. This increases security, and allows customers to get the most benefit from their existing investments in the platform. New customers will benefit from the broader spectrum of hardware options, including ruggedized (D-series) and AMD-based nodes.
Blog post about VCF 4.0 on VxRail 7.0: The Dell Technologies Cloud Platform – Smaller in Size, Big on Features
Blog post about new features in VxRail 4.7.510: VxRail brings key features with the release of 4.7.510
Blog post about VCF 3.10 from VMware: Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation 3.10
Author: Karol Boguniewicz, Senior Principal Engineer, VxRail Technical Marketing