Extreme Scale Infrastructure (ESI) Architects' POV Series: Simplified Rack Scale Management

Extreme Scale Infrastructure (ESI) Architects' POV Series: Simplified Rack Scale Management

Ed Bailey
Authored by: Ed Bailey – Distinguished Eng., ESI Architecture, Dell EMC, 14 Aug 2017, 10:00

"What if you could manage more devices, with fewer interfaces?"

In today’s large scale environments you are always managing more and more devices – more compute, more storage, more networking. As your infrastructure scales, management becomes increasingly complicated, time consuming, and expensive.

You need a new approach; one that simplifies your operations, your procurement, your service and your management. Buying integrated racks is key, but also critical is the ability to manage at a higher level – at rack scale. Rack scale management treats the entire rack as the unit of management, enabling faster scaling and more efficient resource utilization.

The Dell EMC DSS 9000 rack scale solution is unique in that it delivers both the extreme configuration flexibility large scale infrastructures require for a wide range of workloads and the simplified management and operations that improve their bottom-line efficiency. Part of how it does that is by making all aspects of rack scale management easy:

  • Easy to Purchase – A consistent architecture and components streamline scale-out procurement
  • Easy to Optimize - Highly flexible configuration options simplify multiple workload optimization
  • Easy to Deploy - Complete racks are delivered pre-configured, pre-integrated & fully tested
  • Easy to Manage - A single, open rack scale interface addresses the entire infrastructure
  • Easy Scale - You can add fully configured sleds or full racks in a single step
  • Easy to Service - Modular components, cold aisle service, proven global service network

The rest of this blog describes in more detail how the rack scale approach can help you address the most pressing large scale infrastructure management challenges.


As part of a simplified rack scale solution, the DSS 9000 offers a single interface to manage all the compute and storage devices in a rack. This rack management interface is based on the industry-accepted open Redfish APIs. With a pre-integrated DSS 9000, you roll the rack into the data center, plug it in, and then begin provisioning the system - talking Redfish to a single point of management. Immediately you know everything that is in the rack – and immediately have access to it all. You understand what needs to be provisioned and can issue commands to each device. You can provision that rack as easily and quickly as possible.

Another aspect of the DSS 9000 solution is its powerful management infrastructure, with a gigabit management network that is independent of the data network and a Rack Manager module that consolidates rack-wide communication and vastly simplifies cabling. Instead of needing to communicate to each individual compute or storage node – you just talk to the Rack Manager, and instead of connecting to all the nodes individually, connections are consolidated at the block level and cabling is reduced.


DSS 9000 rack management gives you more capability for configuration and provisioning of the rack. The DSS 9000 implements Intel ® Rack Scale Design (RSD) Pooled System Management Engine (PSME) APIs and firmware that enables the comprehensive inventory of all devices in the rack. This gives you the ability to manage with much greater efficiency using the Redfish APIs. For example, instead of performing firmware updates to each device in the rack individually, rack management (Figure 1) allows you to perform firmware updates to all the devices in the rack at once.

Orchestration Solution
Figure 1: Rack Management Capabilities

Other significant rack management capabilities include power-capping of blocks and nodes to improve energy efficiency, as well as monitoring and control of cooling fans. Both of these capabilities can be administered at the block level to provide greater granularity of control.


Managing at the rack level also delivers efficiency by allowing you to define a full rack configuration that meets your infrastructure’s needs and employ it as the "unit of purchase" or the "unit of deployment". This tremendously simplifies ongoing operational procurement and deployments. Improving time-to-value in this way – by reducing the time it takes to define, configure, order and deploy incremental infrastructure - provides another level of cost savings for you. At the same time, it has the added benefit of accelerating your organization’s responsiveness in terms of delivery of services and improving reliability.

The modular block infrastructure of the DSS 9000 also delivers higher efficiency. You can define workload-specific configurations for compute or storage nodes that can be available for rapid scaling of your infrastructure as demand increases. For example, some nodes in your infrastructure may be optimally configured for Hadoop workload performance with specific processors, memory capacity and storage. When the need to scale arises, an identically preconfigured node can quickly and easily be added to the rack. Procurement and deployment are streamlined and management of the new node is consistent… and instantaneous. The newly introduced node is automatically inventoried and immediately accessible for management commands.


Simplicity, capability, efficiency – the DSS 9000 rack management delivers answers for the challenges of administrating IT infrastructure at a massive scale. Inquiries about ESI rack Scale solutions can be made at ESI@dell.com.

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN313929

Last Date Modified: 09/13/2018 06:58 AM

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