- Amitrajit Chatterjee, Staff Engineer
- Peter Brown, Director R&D
- Tony Huynh, Director Product Management
Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail
VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail has been hailed as the easiest and fastest path to a hybrid cloud. Now that Cloud Foundation on VxRail is generally available, we want to provide our customers more information on this new offering. In this multi-part blog series, we’ll provide an in-depth overview of Cloud Foundation on VxRail, review the architecture, provide step-by-step deployment details and discuss how the system is managed.
Before we discuss Cloud Foundation on VxRail, let’s first review Dell EMC VxRail and VMware Cloud Foundation. Having a solid understanding of each of these respective offerings will be helpful throughout this blog series.
Dell EMC VxRail is a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) appliance purpose built for VMware environments and out-of-the-box integrates compute, storage (VMware vSAN), and virtualization (VMware vSphere) technologies to provide a turnkey experience. With VxRail, everything is integrated, pre-validated and pre-configured out of the box, which provides the speed and simplicity that customers love.
VMware Cloud Foundation helps customers deploy and manage private clouds by automating the buildup of a Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC) architecture leveraging VMware’s software-defined stack – this includes VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX and VMware vRealize suite. With Cloud Foundation, customers are ensured that their cloud software platform is built according to VMware Validated Design, which provides consistent infrastructure and consistent operations. Once deployed, Cloud Foundation simplifies ongoing management and operations with its automated lifecycle management capabilities.
With the background for VxRail and Cloud Foundation now provided, let’s discuss the genesis of Cloud Foundation on VxRail. By now, you may have noticed that VxRail and Cloud Foundation complement each other very well. So, what Dell EMC and VMware wanted to do was bring the public cloud experience to our customer’s private cloud deployments by providing speed, operational simplicity and automation.
Diagram 1 – Cloud Foundation on VxRail
Cloud Foundation on VxRail is the industry’s first fully integrated hybrid cloud infrastructure offering, leveraging Cloud Foundation and VxRail as the building blocks. Customers deploying Cloud Foundation on VxRail will quickly realize that the offering is deployed, managed and operated as a single integrated stack, thereby providing a unified user experience.
During the deployment process, unique automation capabilities streamline the bringup and configuration of the VxRail clusters and also the deployment of the VMware cloud stack. With these new capabilities in place, the total deployment time is reduced to a few days instead of a few weeks. Customers can start small and scale horizontally as needed to meet their business needs.
To provide operational simplicity, new integrations were developed to allow Cloud Foundation on VxRail to be managed as a single integrated stack from a common toolset. This provides a unified user experience for day N operations, including ongoing provisioning and management tasks, patching, upgrades, etc. Moreover, the teams developed new plugins to share information between Cloud Foundation and VxRail, so that the administrator has full visibility of the hardware and software stack from within SDDC manager.
Diagram 2 – View of VxRail Cluster from vSphere client
Diagram 3 – Information on VxRail Nodes from vSphere client
Dell EMC and VMware also expanded the automated lifecycle management capabilities to provide that “consumer simple” experience. The experience that customers receive when managing patches and updates is very similar to that of the App Store on their iPhone – customers receive notifications when new updates are available and with a few clicks can choose to update the hardware and software stack! How’s that for simple?
Cloud Foundation on VxRail highlights
There are many reasons to be excited about Cloud Foundation on VxRail. Cloud Foundation on VxRail provides:
- Fully–validated and integrated stack
- End–to–end lifecycle management
- Agility of a public cloud
- Network flexibility
- Single vendor support
Most customers don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to continuously check endless compatibility matrixes to ensure interoperability. With a fully validated stack, VMware and Dell EMC do all the heavy lifting to ensure compatibility between the all the software and hardware components (bios, drivers, firmware, patches, etc). This allows customers to spend more time and focus on delivering apps and services that transform and differentiate their business.
To simplify management and streamline operations, Cloud Foundation on VxRail provides automated end-to-end lifecycle management (LCM) capabilities. SDDC Manager works in concert with VxRail manager leveraging APIs to lifecycle manage the complete hardware and software stack, all from a unified pane of glass. Customers are notified when new updates are available. With a few clicks, customers can review the updates, perform a pre-check and schedule a time for the update to be performed.
To provide cloud-like agility, Dell EMC and VMware have adopted a frequent and synchronous release cadence to ensure that customers get critical updates and new features sooner! These updates ensure that customers are up to date with the latest critical patches, and software component bundles. Additionally, with each new release of Cloud Foundation, customers get day 0 support with VxRail.
From a networking perspective, customers can choose from an integrated rack system with all required networking pre-configured or a cluster of appliances that leverages the customer’s existing network infrastructure. This Bring Your Own Network (BYON) model is required by many customers who have unique networking requirements and designs already in place.
Moreover, many customers prefer to have a single vendor to call when troubleshooting issues with a platform or solution. With Cloud Foundation on VxRail, customers have the option of selecting a single vendor support model if they so choose.
The power of Cloud Foundation on VxRail
Once deployed, Cloud Foundation on VxRail supports a plethora of deployment models, use cases, and workloads. If you recall, at the beginning of this blog, we talked about how Cloud Foundation on VxRail could help customers achieve their hybrid cloud strategy. Well, once customers deploy Cloud Foundation on VxRail, they can leverage native capabilities such as VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) to establish secure connections between their cloud environments. HCX allows customers to address key use cases such as Datacenter extension, Datacenter evacuation and Disaster Recovery (DR).
Cloud Foundation on VxRail also provides customers the flexibility to deliver a variety of workloads including server workloads, graphics intensive virtual desktops, modern applications, containers and more! With the release of Cloud Foundation 3.7, support for VMware Horizon was added to allow customers serve virtual desktops and published applications.
We hope this first blog provided a good introduction to Cloud Foundation on VxRail. Tune in for the next part in this blog series where we will discuss the deployment of Cloud Foundation on VxRail and review key concepts such as VxRail clusters, Management and Workload domains and more!