The year is 2018 and we are riding the wave of this Digital transformation era. If you are attending technology events, semimars or just spending time listening to podcasts you will be well aware that its a software defined everything. Leading the way in this space has been companies including VMware, Nutanix, Dell EMC with stiff competition from some really good companies. Its an exciting time to be involved in this field. the motivation for me to write this post was looking at the recent announcements at VMworld for the jointly engineered platform by VMware & Dell EMC which is VXRail.
VXRail has been riding a wave of success over the last couple of years and now this month at VMworld came the announcement that VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5 will be supported on this platform. In my opinion this is the fur coat on an already well finished solution. let me try and explain this a little. VXRail is a vSAN based appliance that boasts an easy button deployment wizards making you operational in hours instead of days. Users of VXRail are running vSAN 6.2 and 6.6 depending on whether they have upgraded or not. Scaling this solution is straight forward, if you need additional compute you can scale 1 node at a time and with several different flavours such as VDI optimized nodes you have choice! In addition to scaling out the cluster VMware Stretched Cluster is also supported allowing customers consume this technology in an Active/Active Topology, finally VXRail has a one click upgrade process which is the real power. A single bundle can take your entire environment from vSphere 6.2 up to a vSphere 6.5 environment running vSAN 6.6 as an example. in simple terms what does this mean? It means that systems admins dont have to worry about keeping the lights on anymore , they can focus on adding value to their companies.
Fast Forward a little and Dell EMC & VMware announced support for VVD on VXRail, a set of blueprints & best practices to ensure you are configured in the best possible way. Complimenting this now is the announcement that VCF3.5 will be supported on VXRail. This in my opinion completes this solution. Why? VCF is deployed aligned to VMware Validated Design (VVD 4.X) with the added capability of NSX-T. At this stage some people might be thinking this guy is talking about VXRack. I am not. these are very different approaches. VXRack is very rigid as a solution but has rack scale in its favour. The value in VXRail & VCF is clear.
- 1. Bring your own Networking
- 2. Management workload domains can be run on 4 nodes
- 3. Support for NSX-T
- 4. HCX - providing a route to public Cloud
- 5. Workload domain for Kubernetes
- 6. NFS Based workload domains
- 7. Support for Stretch Cluster
Taking the above key features as I see them which are all governed by the new look SDDC Manager and we add the VXRail Manager into the equation now we have end to end Management with a heavy volume of orchestration. A couple of these updates are really interesting.
Referencing point 6. In the last couple of days Dell EMC announced that the midrange Storage product Unity was certified for use with VMware Cloud Foundation 3.5. this offers flexibility especially for Service Providers who often have predefined bundles per customer type. now they can use vSAN based workload domains and can use NFS based workload domains with a wide range of Unity models to pick from.
Referencing Point 7. i attended a session by Daniel Koeck at VMworld in Barcelona where he walked through configuring a stretch cluster using VCF. its early days for this feature but it offers flexibility unseen by the rack scale solutions provided by the industry leaders.
I am really excited about this release and over the coming weeks i will be testing VCF 3.5 on vSAN with NFS WLD's. I plan to evaluate as much of the above as possible and will do my best to share that information.
If you would like to learn more about VMware Cloud Foundation following the below link:
Learn about VXRail at the below link:
I hope you are as excited as I am , if you like this post please take a minute and share.