Taking HCI to Extremes

Admittedly, I miss the opportunity to get out and meet with customers to discuss how they are using VxRail and share our latest innovations and roadmaps. However, I am beyond impressed by how IT organizations have stepped up to enable organizations to remain productive. Our goal is to continuously innovate to empower IT and I am excited that  our team has come up with some great ways  to share all of our VxRail announcements, and engage everyone in our VxRail – Taking HCI to Extremes virtual launch.

The launch covers how VxRail brings the power of HCI to the extreme edge with a rugged version that can withstand the harshest conditions, how new platforms and eco-system enhancements deliver extreme performance for demanding workloads and how software upgrades continue to deliver extreme operational efficiencies. We will also touch on how our latest Tanzu enabled hybrid cloud helps deliver extreme modern applications to the market. Here’s a quick review of all of the exciting announcements.

I’ll cover some of the highlights of our announcements, spanning new hardware platforms, ecosystem options as well as the latest in software innovations for use cases across the edge, core and cloud.

HCI at the Extreme Edge

We are introducing two new platforms to meet the demand for more compute, performance, storage and more importantly operational simplicity- at the edge and remote locations. First, we are excited to announce a brand-new Dell EMC VxRail Series – the most extreme yet – the D Series. The D560/D560F is a ruggedized, durable platform that delivers the full power of VxRail for workloads at the edge, in challenging environments, or for space-constrained areas. ​

Bottom line, you can’t just put a device built for a data center in extremely harsh environments — from manufacturing plants to oil rigs to submarines — in remote locations where dust is blowing or in sub-zero temps, and expect it to operate. We built the D-series to go to the extremes — extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme altitudes — so customers can get the power and simplicity of VxRail no matter where they need it.

  • Resilience to extreme heat, sand, dust and vibration​ – VxRail D Series is certified to take heat up to 45C/113F and can even go up to 55C/131F for up to 8 hours, and have a certified cold start down to -15C/5F
  • Light-weight, short depth, durable form factor that allows for flexible deployment options​ — at only 20” deep, it’s our smallest form factor
  • Rugged build and rigid cover to withstand sudden shocks ​– certified to withstand 40G of operational shock and for operation at up to 15K feet of elevation

Providing even more platform flexibility, we are also announcing a new VxRail E Series model based on, for the first time, AMD EPYC processors. The single socket, 1U nodes offer dual socket performance making them ideal platforms for desktop VDI, analytics and computer aided design. As our second lightest and second shortest depth chassis (only the D560 is lighter weight and shorter depth) with a high efficiency dual redundant power sipping 550W power supply, this an ideal option for edge deployments.

Extreme Performance and Operational Efficiencies

More than ever, new workloads require extreme IO and graphics performance, and we continue to provide new ecosystem options to meet those demands while at the same time continuously enhancing our VxRail HCI System Software to deliver extreme operational simplicity.

The addition of Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory to the E560 and P570 platforms offers high performance and significantly increased memory capacity with data persistence at an affordable price. VxRail is the first, fully integrated VMware HCI system to support Intel’s new groundbreaking technology innovation, Intel Optane persistent memory.

Our testing showed VxRail with Intel Optane persistent memory in app direct mode delivers 90 percent lower latency and 6x higher IOPs for small I/O workloads compared to those same VxRail models with NVMe, making it ideal for in-memory intensive workloads and use cases such as SAP HANA.

We have also added the latest NVIDIA® Quadro RTX 6000 and 8000 GPUs to the V570F bringing the most significant advancement in computer graphics in over a decade to professional workflows. Designers and artists across industries can now expand the boundary of what’s possible, working with the largest and most complex graphics rendering, deep learning, and visual computing workloads.

VxRail continues to set the pace in delivering operational simplicity with our HCI System Software, the core differentiation of VxRail regardless of your workload or platform choice. Our integrated, value added software extends VMware native capabilities to deliver a seamless, automated, operational experience, including automated  full stack lifecycle management that keeps the infrastructure in continuously validated states to ensure workloads are consistently up and running. In our latest software release supporting vSphere 6.x – VxRail 4.7.510 – we continue to add new automation and self-service features enabling customers to schedule and run upgrade health checks in advance of upgrades to ensure clusters are in a ready state for the next upgrade or patch, and offer more flexibility in getting all nodes or clusters to a common release level.

Extending the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform to New Extremes

This launch is jam-packed. In addition to new platforms, the Dell Tech Cloud Platform, VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail, now enables extreme simplicity so IT can enable developers of modern applications and extreme flexibility with an entry level cloud configuration.

Furthering our commitment to supporting the latest VMware technologies, customers can now run vSphere Kubernetes on the Dell Tech Cloud Platform, VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 on VxRail 7.0.

VMware recently introduced the highly anticipated vSphere 7.0. In keeping with our synchronous release commitment, we introduced VxRail 7.0 with support for vSphere 7.0 in late April – within 30 days of VMware’s release. VCF 4.0 on VxRail 7.0 delivers a simple and direct path to Kubernetes at cloud scale with one complete automated platform. Unique integration across the stack enables developers and operators to quickly and easily support modern application development with infrastructure managed as a single automated private cloud.

Additionally, VCF 4.0 networking advancements have made it easier than ever to get started with hybrid cloud. With a more accessible Consolidated Architecture, Dell Technologies Cloud Platform can now be deployed starting with a 4-node configuration, lowering the cost of entry level hybrid cloud.

Enabling IT to Deliver Extreme Results

As you can see, we never stop innovating. Whether you are accelerating data center modernization, extending HCI to harsh edge environments or deploying an on premises Dell Tech Cloud platform to create a developer-ready Kubernetes infrastructure, VxRail delivers a turnkey experience, extensive platform configuration options, automation, orchestration and consistent hybrid cloud operations to address the broadest range of traditional and modern workloads across the core, edge and cloud- taking HCI to Extremes.

We miss getting the chance to see everyone face to face; however, we have some great virtual platforms that you should check out — you can attend our virtual launch event and crowd chat, visit the post event page to watch the event replay, register for deep dive Meet the Expert Q&A breakout sessions, or interact with our VxRail augmented reality virtual tour (it’s a super cool way to look under the hood of a VxRail without needing a screwdriver!).

Chad Dunn headshot

About the Author: Chad Dunn

Chad Dunn has been with EMC and Dell Technologies for over 15 years. He currently leads APEX Portfolio Management across Dell, driving the transformation of Dell’s industry-leading product portfolio to a cloud-like as a service consumption model and experience for our customers. Prior to APEX, Chad led the Product Management organization for Dell's multi-billion dollar Hyperconverged and Converged Infrastructure portfolio. There, he built and led the Product Management team that created VxRail, Dell’s flagship HCI product now recognized as number one in this rapidly growing market. Prior to his work in Hyperconverged Infrastructure, he created and led EMC's VSPEX reference architecture program, that generated over $2B in incremental revenue for EMC and its partners. Chad also worked in EMC's Emerging Technologies group and held leadership positions for several start-up companies in the Boston area.