Dell refreshes VxRail HCI portfolio with new platforms, software upgrades and new dynamic nodes

The dynamic nodes allow VxRail to be used for more compute-heavy use cases, by adding compute nodes which remove the parallelism in HCI between storage and compute.

Today, Dell Technologies is announcing a series of updates to its hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) systems portfolio. New Dell EMC VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure systems based on new Dell EMC PowerEdge servers are able to provide faster performance, improved data processing, and greater capacity. VxRail use cases are also being expanded with new dynamic nodes that let customers overweight compute nodes over storage if they have a job that requires that. Several software enhancements specifically around HCI are also part of the announcement.

“With these updates to our HCI portfolio, we are reimagining simplicity, agility, and transformation, ” said Nancy Hurley, Senior Manager Product Marketing HCI/CI at Dell Technologies.

A key part of the release is the announcement of the next-gen VxRail platforms, with new 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

“The enhancements here actually come from the new PowerEdge servers, but the benefit of having VxRail on them is that customers get a fully curated experience,” Hurley stated. The new systems deliver 42% more cores for faster performance when compared to previous generations. They also provide 166% more memory capacity, 20% more disk capacity, and 50% more PCIe slots to add additional resources. In addition, VxRail V Series systems now offer NVIDIA A40 or A100 GPU options.

“The use cases for VxRail are skyrocketing, and so we are making it easier to expand VxRail use cases,” Hurley indicated. “We do this with dynamic nodes. They have ESXi, and HCI System system software but no storage component. That helps us expand these use cases,  to enable more efficient use of existing storage. We take advantage of VMware HCI mesh implementations to do this. In the past, if you needed additional compute, you had to buy extra storage and pay for additional licensing.”

“Some workloads are storage heavy and some are compute heavy,” said Rick Reddy, Senior Director of Product Management, VxRail, at Dell EMC. “In the past, you had to scale out in relatively even fashion. What this allows us to do is separate the two. Customers constantly come to us with new things they want to use it for.”

The HCI software upgrades are a series of integrated value-added components built on top of VMware software that enable automation orchestration, and take the burden off the user to have their environments in a ready state. They fall into several buckets.

New self-service tools give customers greater control over VxRail installations, so that they can validate, orchestrate and automate cluster deployment.

“This enables customers to self-deploy on their own schedule,” Hurley said. It is likely to fit into use cases involving enterprise customers with remote or distributed environments. Lifecycle management will be even more streamlined by offering VMware updates, such as NSX-T and Tanzu, in a single upgrade cycle.

“Our configuration portal and node image management – NIM – now allows for evolution in the environment,” Hurley pointed out, You can take a node you may not want in a central cluster any more, reimage it and reuse it.”

There is now also more flexibility when upgrading when it comes to pause and stop.

The new hardware platforms will be available in July. The software enhancements will be released to web for existing customers in mid-July, and will ship on new nodes in August. The new dynamic nodes will be available in August as well.

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