Fast Track Your Hybrid Cloud with Intelligent Automation

Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure: Unify. Automate. Accelerate.

Today, companies of all sizes are fostering remote work with a hybrid approach. Similar transformations are occurring in the data center. Just as we have adapted to a “work from anywhere” model, hybrid cloud infrastructure will become the new norm as modern businesses embrace a combination of public cloud services, on-premises compute and private clouds.

Dell Technologies has been one of the leaders of hybrid cloud compute, as demonstrated most recently with Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI, a joint innovation with Microsoft. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is now readily available with new hybrid Azure Stack HCI host OS. Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI built on a foundation of fully engineered AX-nodes (based on PowerEdge Servers) for the rapidly growing HCI market with workload-focused configurations, specially trained technical support and services, and full stack lifecycle management through powerful  OpenManage Integration with Microsoft Windows Admin Center (OpenManage extension and snap-in).

Talal Alqinawi, senior director of Azure Marketing at Microsoft said, “At Microsoft, we’re focused on empowering the Microsoft Azure Stack HCI customer to have a seamless deployment and upgrade experience. Dell Technologies and the Microsoft teams collaborated to provide an integrated and seamless experience for the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. This delivers the latest firmware and driver updates to keep your Azure Stack HCI deployment always up to date. Dell EMC OpenManage Windows Admin Center snap-in automatically detects the model and loads a curated list of firmware and drivers that provides you with the latest features and functionality.”

Seamless deployment and maintenance of Azure Stack HCI

Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI management with Microsoft Windows Admin Center and OpenManage extension brings in effortless cluster creation  and enhanced full stack cluster-aware update experience. It’s set for optimal performance and reduced maintenance windows. First time administrators will be prompted with installation of the OpenManage snap-in. Furthermore, if there is an update available, it will pop up as a recommendation for the Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI.

Automation of Azure Stack HCI cluster creation

The Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI cluster creation with Windows Admin Center eliminates manual processes and guesswork. Steps that were previously executed manually by administrators can now be done with an outcome-based approach via this hybrid cloud infrastructure deployment. The Dell EMC policies ensure Azure Stack HCI cluster creation is optimal with the hardware check of nodes and components for symmetry. Microsoft recommends installing the latest operating system updates and patches, which can now be done together with Dell EMC infrastructure updates. Both updates will be staged to a single reboot per node part of this cluster creation workflow with the OpenManage snap-in.

Azure Stack HCI 1-click full stack update

Administrators will now spend less time in maintenance of Azure Stack HCI update with full stack Cluster-Aware updates. The OpenManage snap-in orchestrates updates of Azure Stack HCI operating system (updates, security patches) and Dell EMC hardware updates (BIOS, firmware, drivers). This single click full stack Cluster-Aware Updating is performed with no impact to virtual machines running on the Azure Stack HCI cluster. This is a huge step forward in better handling the change management experience. Typical change management requires change control board approval to ensure maintenance windows are well planned. Anytime there is a maintenance update failure could result in business impact. For instance, in the event of recharge services outage a mobile service operator could potentially be impacted with millions in revenue — even if services go down for short time.

Take control of your cluster updates

OpenManage extension (and snap-in), is a native integration offering lifecycle management across edge, local and remote environments. It does not require any additional software or agent. OpenManage Integration with Windows Admin Center leverages iDRAC agent-free management, adds full stack and hardware cluster-aware updates (CAU) in assisting HCI administrators to have essential visibility, control and management of clusters.

IT Administrators constantly look for ways to reduce the maintenance window by scheduling updates on optimal days and times or running updates immediately when possible during non-peak hours. Administrators can now schedule cluster-aware updates (of hardware) without impact to services directly from the OpenManage extension. Schedule cluster-aware update supports the Microsoft HCI solutions and failover clusters based on PowerEdge servers.

Organizations of all sizes can save time and eliminate human error through the introduction of increased automation. OpenManage extension delivers considerable automation benefits of 80-95% fewer steps, and 90-95% less focused time for 4-nodes to 16-nodes Azure Stack HCI cluster. This automated approach could save customers one week of effort per year for 20 discrete four-node clusters. For more details check out this detailed whitepaper from Dell Technologies lab testing.

For a reliable purpose-built hybrid cloud infrastructure look no further than the Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI.  For a more technical deep dive into the OpenManage extension features, check out the Microsoft HCI Solutions from Dell Technologies Infohub page.

About the Author: Viswanathan Balakrishnan

Viswanathan Balakrishnan is Senior Product Planning Manager in the Infrastructure Solutions Group, Server and Infrastructure Systems at Dell EMC focusing on Systems Management solutions; His career began with Engineering spans and evolved into Worldwide/Regional Product Planning and Management, Product Marketing, Strategy, Business Development, engaging with a broad set of Customers and Partners Worldwide; He holds USA and India Patents on Server Technology and has authored several technical articles. He earned his M.Sc. in Computer Technology from Coimbatore Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Madras, India.