Dell EMC and Cisco Joint Innovation Drives IT Transformation through Greater Simplicity

As Cisco Live 2017 kicks off early next week, the Dell EMC Converged Platforms and Solutions Division has exciting updates to share as we continue joint engineering efforts with Cisco to further simplify the data center for our customers.

Modernizing data centers with converged systems is one of the top requirements for IT leaders aiming to digitally transform their businesses to remain relevant and competitive in their markets. This is not surprising because there’s hard evidence that converged systems simplify operations, so IT staff and engineering can focus less on managing, supporting and sustaining infrastructure, and more on accelerating their business’ digital transformation.

The key word here is “simplify.” Our customers continue to seek IT simplification, and we continue to focus on delivering it for them. It’s as simple as that.

Along these lines, we have some key Dell EMC and Cisco joint innovation updates around our Converged Infrastructure (CI) portfolio and substantial enhancements and customer momentum with the Dell EMC Vscale Architecture to share. It’s this team that has been at the very center of the converged infrastructure trend for the past seven years.

Dell EMC and Cisco Innovation and Collaboration Extends the Engineered System Experience across Data Centers

Seven years ago, Dell EMC collaborated with Cisco to pioneer the CI market with a simple premise: enable IT to spend less time building and maintaining IT infrastructure (i.e., keeping the lights on), so they can spend more time driving business outcomes by bringing new applications and services to market – faster. The solution: a CI system, where compute, storage, virtualization and network resources are managed, supported and sustained together as a single system throughout their lifecycle.

Thousands of customers later and counting, we continue to see great traction with VxBlock and are jointly committed to bringing innovations to market faster than ever. For example, the latest all-flash arrays from Dell EMC–including Dell EMC VMAX 950F/FX, Dell EMC Unity 350F/450F/550F/660F, and Isilon Gen 6 Infinity–will be available for VxBlock this summer.

And we’re not stopping there. For the last 18 months, our Dell EMC and Cisco collaboration has been about accelerating IT transformation in a new direction. We are extending the benefits of the individual converged infrastructure systems to the entire data center–and across multiple data centers–through the Dell EMC Vscale Architecture.

The Vscale Architecture extends the converged (a.k.a., engineered) system experience of a single block to resources across data centers. This simplifies IT by assuring that upgrades, expansion and patches to those resources are fully interoperable. Imagine this across your data centers. That’s what Vscale Architecture does.

Specifically, Cisco’s ACI enables the architecture to scale beyond the capacity of an individual VxBlock and stretches that experience to a pool of Cisco compute and Dell EMC storage and data protection resources across high-performance Cisco spine-leaf LAN network fabrics. The approach to policy-based automation enables open scaling across platforms, both bare metal and virtual, while automatically enforcing rules for compliance and governance using white-list policies. This pool and the network are lifecycle assured, and the pool can be shared by converged infrastructure systems (VxBlocks), new-generation hyper-converged infrastructure, and non-converged systems.

Imagine the agility, security and peace of mind this brings across your enterprise. Taken together, the ROI for your organization will be phenomenal.

This is for businesses that need to scale beyond a single converged system’s design; share resources between converged, hyper-converged and non-converged equipment; replicate data and move workloads across converged systems and data centers with agility; add quickly to capacity; and, integrate new technologies into the environment.

We announced the Vscale strategy in 2015, and with Cisco’s collaboration, we’ve been deploying it across a wide range of businesses: airlines, service providers, manufacturers, government agencies, retailers, financial service companies and more. The business use cases are equally diverse. Customers are using the Vscale Architecture to:

  • Modernize production data centers to support new digital business services with improved levels of orchestration and automation
  • Upgrade disaster recovery data centers to meet new business continuity requirements
  • Bring the cloud infrastructure in-house when managed services are not yielding enough ROI
  • Update infrastructure for more agility, faster onboarding and more predictable costs to scale out
  • Share valuable data between old and new systems during Platform 2 to 3 application transition
  • Freely and securely move evolving data and apps across systems to balance cost and performance trade-offs

Since the Vscale Architecture initial announcement, we’ve been busy extending capability and adding several new components that we’re officially announcing today:

  • Single Point of orchestration, automation, and security for compute, network, and storage – UCS Director in conjunction with Cisco ACI automation reduces the risk and time to onboard services
  • Vscale Border Technology Connect – Cisco Nexus, ASA and Firepower, ISR and ASR, assure secure, high-performance data communications between the Vscale resources and external networks
  • Vscale Open Technology Connect – Cisco Nexus and MDS service for third-party equipment integration maximizes ROI of Vscale and non-Vscale assets through resource sharing
  • Vscale Fabric Technology Connect for storage – All-flash Dell EMC Unity, XtremIO and VMAX storage and Isilon NAS optimize application performance and cost of scaling out storage
  • New Services – Cisco Advanced Services for UCS Director and ACI deployment and Dell EMC  Vscale Services speed data center modernization and time to business results

Big data analytics projects are a premier use case for this new direction in data center architecture.  Inovalon, a leading big data analytics service provider for the healthcare ecosystem, is an example business that has deployed the Vscale Architecture with outstanding results.

“Inovalon implemented Vscale to decrease cycle times dedicated to provisioning resources dedicated to our sophisticated private cloud offerings, most importantly, our Inovalon ONE platform,” said Faisal Khalid, Senior Vice President, Technology Solutions at Inovalon. “With this competitive advantage, Inovalon ONE delivers a highly scalable, flexible Platform-as-a-service capability – unrivaled in the industry today – to enable value-based healthcare across the healthcare ecosystem. Further, the architecture’s level of automation enables my team to focus their time on delivering greater value and innovation for our business.”

Our joint work with Cisco is helping customers achieve this success with Vscale Architecture.

“Cisco’s policy driven automation with ACI is an important enabler for digital business and Cisco sees strong market momentum with over 3,500 ACI customers,” said Tom Edsall, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Insieme Networks Business, Cisco Systems. “We are pleased to see the adoption of the Vscale Architecture by our largest converged infrastructure customers. We look forward to our continued investment together with Dell EMC to deliver fabric solutions like Vscale to our joint customers using converged systems like VxBlock.”

Imagine the experience of receiving a VxBlock on your shipping dock, within 60 days of order, with fully integrated compute, storage, data protection, internal network fabric and a hypervisor that is logically configured to your specifications. Now imagine this benefit covering the breadth of your data center, plus automation and assured interoperability as you add technology options and capacity and upgrade firmware and software releases. That’s Vscale Architecture with Dell EMC and Cisco innovating together.

If you’re attending Cisco Live, our team would love to meet with you. As a Diamond Sponsor, you’ll see a lot from Dell EMC during the show. Stop by our booth (#2315) to learn more about our joint offerings, see solutions onsite and hear from our experts.

About the Author: Trey Layton

Trey started his career in the US Military stationed at United States Central Command, MacDill AFB, FL. Trey served as an intelligence analyst focused on the Middle East and conducted support of missions in the first days of the war on terror. Following the military Trey joined Cisco where he served as an engineer for Data Center, IP Telephony and Security Technologies. Trey later joined the partner ecosystem where he modernized the practices of several national and regional partner organizations, helping them transform offerings to emerging technologies. Trey joined NetApp in 2004 where he contributed to the creation of best practices for Ethernet Storage and VMware integration. Trey contributed to the development of the architecture which became the basis for FlexPod. In 2010 Trey joined VCE, where he was promoted by Chairman & CEO, VCE, Michael Capellas to Chief Technology Officer, VCE. As CTO Trey was responsible for the product and technology strategy for Vblock, VxBlock, VxRack, Vscale and VxRail. During his tenure, VCE was recognized as one of the fastest technology companies to reach $1 Billion in revenues and one of the most successful joint ventures in IT history. The origional VCE products Trey has led strategy on continue to be leaders in their respective share categories around the world. In 2016 Trey was asked to lead from concept the development of an all Dell Technologies converged product. From that initial concept Trey led a global team of engineers to deliver Dell EMC PowerOne, the industry’s first autonomous infrastructure solution, embedding open source technologies which enable automated infrastructure integration based on declarative outcomes.