VCF on VxRail – More business-critical workloads welcome!
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:11:17 -0000|
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New platform enhancements for stronger mobility and flexibility
February 4, 2020
Today, Dell EMC has made the newest VCF 3.9.1 on VxRail 4.7.410 release available for download for existing VCF on VxRail customers with plans for availability for new customers coming on February 19, 2020. Let’s dive into what’s new in this latest version.
Expand your turnkey cloud experience with additional unique VCF on VxRail integrations
This release continues the co-engineering innovation efforts of Dell EMC and VMware to provide our joint customers with better outcomes. We tackle the area of security in this case. VxRail password management for VxRail Manager accounts such as root and mystic as well as ESXi have been integrated into the SDDC Manager UI Password Management framework. Now the components of the full SDDC and HCI infrastructure stack can be centrally managed as one complete turnkey platform using your native VCF management tool, SDDC Manager. Figure 1 illustrates what this looks like.
Support for Layer 3 VxRail Stretched Cluster Configuration Automation
Building off the support for Layer 3 stretched clusters introduced in VCF 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300 using manual guidance, VCF 3.9.1 on VxRail 4.7.410 now supports the ability to automate the configuration of Layer 3 VxRail stretched clusters for both NSX-V and NSX-T backed VxRail VI Workload Domains. This is accomplished using CLI in the VCF SOS Utility.
Greater management visibility and control across multiple VCF instances
For new installations, this release now provides the ability to extend a common management and security model across two VCF on VxRail instance deployments by sharing a common Single Sign On (SSO) Domain between the PSCs of multiple VMware Cloud Foundation instances so that the management and the VxRail VI Workload Domains are visible in each of the instances. This is known as a Federated SSO Domain.
What does this mean exactly? Referring to Figure 2, this translates into the ability for Site B to join the SSO instance of Site A. This allows VCF to further align to the VMware Validated Design (VVD) to share SSO domains where it makes sense based upon Enhanced Linked Mode 150ms RTT limitation.
This would leverage a recent option made available in the VxRail first run to connect the VxRail cluster to an existing SSO Domain (PSCs). So, when you stand up the VxRail cluster for the second MGMT Domain that is affiliated with the second VCF instance deployed in Site B, you would connect it to the SSO (PSCs) that was created by the first MGMT domain of the VCF instance in Site A.
Application Virtual Networks – Enabling Stronger Mobility and Flexibility with VMware Cloud Foundation
One of the new features in the 3.9.1 release of VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is use of Application Virtual Networks (AVNs) to completely abstract the hardware and realize the true value from a software-defined cloud computing model. Read more about it on VMware’s blog post here. Key note on this feature: It is automatically set up for new VCF 3.9.1 installations. Customers who are upgrading from a previous version of VCF would need to engage with the VMware Professional Services Organization (PSO) to configure AVN at this time. Figure 3 shows the message existing customers will see when attempting the upgrade.
VxRail 4.7.410 platform enhancements
VxRail 4.7.410 brings a slew of new hardware platforms and hardware configuration enhancements that expand your ability to support even more business-critical applications.
- New VxRail P580N model, features four-socket PowerEdge server platform with 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors delivering 2x the memory per system* making it the optimal VxRail platform for SAP HANA and other in memory databases. The P580N provides 2x the CPU compared to the P570/F and offers 25% more processing potential over virtual storage architecture (VSA) 4S platforms that require a dedicated socket to run VSA. See Figure 4.
- New cost-effective E560N, an all NVMe platform for read intensive applications. See Figure 4.
- New configuration choices, including Mellanox 100GBe NIC cards for media broadcast use cases, 8TB high density disk drives for video surveillance. See Figure 5.
- GPUs now available in the E Series. For the first time GPU cards are supported outside the V Series. NVIDIA T4 GPUs in 1U E series platforms for entry level AI/ML, data inferencing and VDI workloads enable customers to expand the breadth of critical business applications across VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail cloud infrastructures. See Figure 5 for the available options in VCF on VxRail configurations.
There you have it! We hope you find these latest features beneficial. Until next time…
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Innovation with Cloud Foundation on VxRail
Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:24:55 -0000|
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VCF 3.9 ON VxRail 4.7.300 Improves Management, Flexibility, and Simplicity at Scale
As you may already know, VxRail is the HCI foundation for the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform. With the new Dell Technologies On Demand offerings we combine the benefits of bringing automation and financial models similar to public cloud to on-premises environments. VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail allows customers to manage all cloud operations through a familiar set of tools, offering a consistent experience, with a single vendor support relationship from Dell EMC.
Joint engineering between VMware and Dell EMC continuously improves VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail. This has made VxRail the first hyperconverged system fully integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager and is the only jointly engineered HCI system with deep VMware Cloud Foundation integration. VCF on VxRail to delivers unique integrations with Cloud Foundation that offer a seamless, automated upgrade experience. Customers adopting VxRail as the HCI foundation for Dell Technologies Cloud Platform will realize greater flexibility and simplicity when managing VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail at scale. These benefits are further illustrated with the new features available in the latest version of VMware Cloud Foundation 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300.
The first feature expands the ability to support global management and visibility across large, complex multi-region private and hybrid clouds. This is delivered through global multi-instance management of large-scale VCF 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300 deployments with a single pane of glass (see figure below). Customers who have many VCF on VxRail instances deployed throughout their environment now have a common dashboard view into all of them to further simplify operations and gain insights.
The new features don’t just stop there, VCF 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300 provides greater networking flexibility. VMware Cloud Foundation 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300 adds support for Dell EMC VxRail layer 3 networking stretch cluster configurations, allowing customers to further scale VCF on VxRail environments for more highly available use cases in order to support mission-critical workloads. The layer 3 support applies to both NSX-V and NSX-T backed workload domain clusters.
Another area of new network flexibility features is the ability to select the host physical network adapters (pNICs) you want to assign for NSX-T traffic on your VxRail workload domain cluster (see figure below). Users can now select the pNICs used for the NSX-T Virtual Distributed Switch (N-VDS) from the SDDC Manager UI in the Add VxRail Cluster workflow. This allows you the flexibility to choose from a set of VxRail host physical network configurations that best aligns to your desired NSX-T configuration business requirements. Do you want to deploy your VxRail clusters using the base network daughter card (NDC) ports on each VxRail host for all standard traffic but use separate PCIe NIC ports for NSX-T traffic? Go for it! Do you want to use 10GbE connections for standard traffic and 25GbE for NSX-T traffic? We got you there too! Host network configuration flexibility is now in your hands and is only available with VCF on VxRail.
Finally, no good VCF on VxRail conversation can go by without talking about Lifecycle Management. VMware Cloud Foundation 3.9 on VxRail 4.7.300 also delivers simplicity and flexibility for managing at scale with greater control over workload domain upgrades. Customers now have the flexibility to select the clusters within a multi-cluster workload domain to upgrade in order to better align with business requirements and maintenance windows. Upgrading VCF on VxRail clusters is further simplified with VxRail Smart LCM (4.7.300 release) which determines exactly which firmware components need to be updated on each cluster, pre-stages each node in a cluster saving up to 20% of upgrade time (see next figure). The scheduling of these cluster upgrades is also supported. With VCF 3.9 and VxRail smart LCM, you can streamline the upgrade process across your hybrid cloud.
As you can see the innovation continues with Cloud Foundation on VxRail.
Announcing General Availability of VCF 126.96.36.199 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 188.8.131.52 on VxRail 4.7.511.
Why we are releasing 184.108.40.206?
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 220.127.116.11 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 18.104.22.168 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