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VMware VxBlock CI

Dell EMC VxBlock 1000: Some history and What’s New

Ignacio Borrero

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.

Wrapping up

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.

Ignacio Borrero - LinkedIn, Twitter: @virtualpeli

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