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Dell EMC Enhances Integrations for Multicloud VMware Environments

Dell EMC's enhanced HCI and CI VMware integrations align with customers' multicloud aspirations.

VMWORLD EUROPE — Focusing on customer demand for hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and converged infrastructure (CI), Dell EMC Tuesday announced enhanced automation and tighter integration of its VxRail and VxBlock offers with VMware.

Dell EMC made the announcement at VMworld 2018 Europe, being held this week in Barcelona.

“This is the year that we’re seeing a multicloud strategy become a top priority for most of our data-center customers,” said Jon Siegal, vice president of product marketing at Dell EMC, on a web call. “They’re looking for workload placement flexibility based on application demand so that they can manage the data where it resides, on or off-prem.” 

In the multipart announcement, Dell EMC will offer seamless automated network integration with VxRail appliances; operational transparency between VxRail Manager and vCenter; and joint engineering of VxRail and VMware Cloud Foundation. 

The vendor also announced that customers will now find Dell EMC VxBlock 1000 in the Dell EMC Cloud Marketplace with new VxBlock Central software and integration with VMware vRealize Suite. VxBlock 1000, CI, was announced earlier this year. 

Here’s a deeper dive into the VxRail enhancements beginning with networking, which continues to be a key area for HCI, as network issues such as connectivity problems and poor performance potentially diminish the promise of HCI, Siegal said.

Jon Siegal

Network improvements begin with automated networking. Dell EMC SmartFabric services enable automated awareness and configuration during setup; cluster expansio; and day-to-day management. SmartFabric Services, as part of Dell EMC Networking OS10 Enterprise Edition will, reportedly, reduce 98 percent of the network configuration and administration through the integration with VxRail Manager and VMware vSphere. SmartFabric Services also allow customers to deploy and automate data-center networking fabrics while being fully interoperable with existing data-center infrastructure. 

Additionally, Dell EMC SmartFabric integration is available today across 10GbE Dell Open Networking switches and soon the new S5200 25GbE Top of Rack (ToR) switch. 

When it comes to agility, in addition to the operational transparency between VxRail Manager and vCenter – such as complete VxRail cluster management from the vCenter web client, a single dashboard, and even more integrations with vRealize Suite – Dell EMC is upping the ante of customer choice with flexible vSAN software licensing to best match the features they need, at an affordable price point.

Taking a closer look at VMware Cloud Foundation, Dell EMC offers choices today: Dell EMC VxRail is a VMware-validated design for SDDC on VxRail; and Dell EMC VxRack is VxRack SDDC-powered by VMware Cloud Foundation. Today, Dell EMC will preview VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail.

“The VxRail will become the only jointly engineered appliance integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation,” Siegal noted. The benefits: new levels of SDDC automation, enterprise-class cloud capabilities and flexible networking options. 

The vendor announced a new VxRail entry point with support for two-node direct connect VxRail deployment, whereas Dell EMC previously required a three-node appliance.

“This makes VxRail more accessible to more organizations including retailers, where a full three-node deployment could be cost-prohibitive,” said Siegal. 

Finally, Dell EMC is delivering the synchronous availability of vSphere/vSAN 6.7U1 in VxRail 4.7, or tighter alignment with VMware releases.

“By delivering within 30 days we can deliver VMware functionality on the vSAN and vSphere side, two-and-a-half times faster for HCI appliance customers,” said Siegal. 

Here’s a deeper dive into what’s new with VxBlock.

“When it comes to VxBlock, customers have wanted more. They want more visibility into the health of their CI, they want more ways to automate their daily workflows and spend less time on manual tasks, and they want more real-time analytics,” the Dell EMC spokesman said. 

The new VxBlock Central provides converged awareness, automation and analytics to simplify CI administration. It includes a single, unified user interface for accessing VxBlock System information in real time. It also includes an integrated launch point to VMware vRealize Orchestrator for automating daily operational tasks and a launch point to vRealize Operations to provide detailed analytics and an easy way to manage VxBlock storage capacity. 

Integration between VxBlock Central and VMware vRealize Suite provides a foundation for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and a simplified path to implementing a private/multicloud operations model on VxBlock Systems. VxBlock Central’s CI-aware integration with vRealize Operations and vRealize Orchestrator software provides greater visibility into CI system status and time-saving orchestration workflows. It also allows enterprises to leverage an additional layer of vRealize software tools – including vRealize Automation – to enable full cloud-service delivery and management. Using the vRealize Suite on VxBlock opens the path for enterprises to achieve a consistent experience across other Dell EMC cloud platforms including VxRack SDDC and VxRail appliances, according to the vendor. 

New Dell EMC VxRail capabilities, from VxRail 4.7 software, will be available this month via web download for existing customers and next month for new node deployments and expansions. Additional functionality, including support for two-node clusters and vCenter transparent operations, is planned for early first-quarter 2019, followed by VMware Cloud Foundation and Project Dimension sometime in the first half of the new year. 

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 next month 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.

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