VxRail, VxBlock get significant enhancements in Dell EMC VMware-related announcements

A new VxRail integration with Dell EMC Smart Fabric Services provides VxRail with automated networking configuration, while VxBlock gets major awareness, automation and analytics upgrades to its software.

Today, Dell EMC is making a flurry of announcements which relate to their integrations with VMware, to coincide with the VMWorld Europe event. They involve their VxRail hyperconverged [HCI] offerings, their converged VxBlock solutions, their open networking switches and the expansion of  integrated cloud platform options in the Dell EMC Cloud Marketplace.

“These announcements are really game changing, in the context of data centre challenges that customers face, especially for customers facing multi-cloud challenges,” said Jon Siegal, VP Product  Marketing, Dell EMC.

The Dell EMC VxRail enhancements include the addition of dedicated networking, through an integration with Dell EMC Smart Fabric Services, a component of the Dell EMC Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition network operating system.

“Poor network performance is a top of mind issue for HCI,” Siegal said. “This seamless integration with Dell EMC networking is the first of its kind in the market, and provides an easy button for networking functionality. It’s the only fully automated networking environment for the VxRail environment.” Siegal said it will reduces 98 per cent of network configuration and administration through integration with VxRail Manager and VMware vSphere. SmartFabric Services also let customers quickly deploy and automate data center networking fabrics.

VxRail can now be managed directly through the VMware vCenter Server console.

“This gives 500,000 vSphere customers 100 per cent transparency to manage VxRail through VCenter,” Siegal said. “Customers want simple and the majority are using vCenter for management, so being in that environment is easier for them.”

More automation for the entire VMware cloud stack is also coming to more efficiently manage hybrid cloud environments with VxRail clusters. That will include a VMware jointly engineered HCI appliance with VMware Cloud Foundation, which the company says is coming soon.

“This appliance, which is jointly engineered with VMware Cloud Foundation, is now in preview,” Siegal indicated.

Customers can now start with a two-node VxRail cluster rather than three.

“The two-node cluster has a significantly lower barrier to entry,” Siegal said. Dell EMC expects that the two-node format will play in edge deployments at larger organizations, such as smaller retail chain stores. “We are complementing this with new flexible vSAN licensing,” Siegal added.

Other VxRail-related enhancements include tighter integration with VMware technology on the latest vSAN release (version 6.7U1), support for VMware Validated Design for SDDC 4.3, and integration with VMware’s planned Project Dimension, which they announced at the last VMWorld in Las Vegas, and which will extend VMware Cloud to deliver software-defined data centre infrastructure and hardware as-a-service to on-premises locations.

The Dell EMC VxBlock converged offering now adds converged awareness, automation and analytics to simplify daily administration to the VxBlock Central software.

“This is the single biggest innovation we have ever had with VxBlock,” Siegal said. It will provide more visibility into the health of the converged infrastructure, more ways to automate and more real-time analytics. The new converged management and automation dramatically simplifies operations, improves awareness, automates service delivery, and proactively manages with an analytics perspective.”

The software now also includes a launch point to vRealize Operations to provide detailed analytics and an easy way to manage VxBlock storage capacity. VxBlock Central’s CI-aware integration with vRealize Operations and vRealize Orchestrator software gives greater visibility into system status and orchestration workflows. It also permits leveraging an additional layer of vRealize software tools, including vRealize Automation, for full cloud service delivery and management.

“The vRealize integration is game-changing for the customer,” Siegal stated. “It fulfills the vision of making VxBlock something that’s truly turnkey.”

The networking component of the announcement involves new 25GbE-enabled S5220-ON top-of-rack switches being added to Dell EMC’s open networking offerings, and integrating with VMware NSX network virtualization and software-defined storage implementations.

“This marries the leader in virtual networking, VMware NSX, with Dell EMC, the leader in open networking,” Siegal said. The S5200 family helps form high-performance 100GbE data centre fabrics for traffic between racks and provides a robust network underlay for VMware NSX network virtualization and software-defined storage implementations.

Finally, an expanded range of VMware-based cloud platform and cloud consumption options are now available within Dell EMC Cloud Marketplace. Data Center Utility is a newly available Cloud Consumption solution which gives organizations the control of private cloud with the benefits of public cloud consumption including elastic capacity, metered usage and an OpEx model. Data Center Utility is a custom metered usage solution that provides maximum flexibility for resource consumption – with or without professional services. The new platform options include Cloud Building Blocks that let customers  design and build a custom cloud platform using cloud-enabled infrastructure like Dell EMC Unity and Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes.

“From a channel perspective, we are enabling our partners to simplify multi-cloud operations to a greater extent, bringing together combinations of offerings that come together in an integrated fashion,” Siegal said. “The level of integration between Dell EMC and VMware here is unprecedented in the market, especially around VxRail and with the VMWare Cloud Foundation.”

New Dell EMC VxRail capabilities, from VxRail 4.7 software, will be available this month via web download for existing customers and this December for new node deployments and expansions. Additional functionality, including support for two-node clusters and vCenter transparent operations is planned for early Q1 2019, followed by VMware Cloud Foundation and Project Dimension within 1H 2019. Customers can sign-up for the Project Dimension Beta now.

Dell EMC VxBlock Central software will be available for download in December by current and new VxBlock System customers. The VxBlock Central Base software license is included with the purchase of a new VxBlock System.

Dell EMC S5200 ON switches are available now. SmartFabric Services for VxRail will become available in December with Dell EMC Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition 10.4.2 and VxRail 4.7.0 software. SmartFabric Services are included at no additional cost in the Dell EMC Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition license