At the VMworld 2017 conference this week, Dell EMC enhanced its portfolio of hyperconverged and converged infrastructure platforms as part of a longer-term plan to integrate the management of both platforms.
The latest version of the Dell EMX VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliance adds support for REST application programming interfaces that can be employed to automate management of the appliance. The VMware-based appliance also now supports encryption via support for VMware vSAN 6.6 software as well as providing a capability that allows IT organizations to provision multiple VxRail appliances in batch mode.
In terms of the converged infrastructure portfolio for building a software-defined data center (SDDC), Dell EMC also added support for the latest version of VMware Cloud Foundation, which combines VMware hypervisors, storage and networking software into a single offering, to the Dell EMC VxRack SDDC across what is now a total of 40 different configurations.
Dell EMC also updated the private cloud software it makes available on these platforms. Dell EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) now supports integration with Microsoft Azure clouds alongside existing support for Amazon Web Services and other cloud service providers hosting instances of VMware software. Dell EMC has also made it simpler to provision Dell EHC on its appliances and rack systems in addition to adding multi-site support for now both appliances and racks. Dell EMC also makes available a Dell EMC Native Hybrid Cloud (NHC) optimized for deploying the distribution of the Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment curated by sister company Pivotal Software. Dell EMC NHC is now available in a preview mode on Dell VxRack SDDC platforms in addition to existing support for VxRail appliances. In the near future, Dell EMC plans to add support for a distribution of Kubernetes container orchestration software that Pivotal plans to make available.
The appliances and rack systems can now be acquired in a fashion where they come pre-integrated from Dell EMC or as a series of VMware Ready systems that allow IT organizations to provision those systems themselves. Dell EMC also pledged this week that its entire appliance portfolio will be based on 14th generation PowerEdge servers by the end of 2017. Dell EMC this week also announced XtremeIO X2, an update to the company’s all-Flash array offering that is significantly faster than its predecessor.
Chad Sakac, president of the Dell EMC Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, says most new workloads today are being deployed on HCI appliances, while legacy applications are being upgraded using converged infrastructure that comes in the form of rack-based systems. The only time most organizations will opt for a rack-based system, says Sakac, is when the workload won’t fit on an appliance or there is a performance issue that drives a need to access external storage. Most IT organizations, says Sakac, are going to wind up deploying both HCI appliances and rack systems side by side for years to come. Dell EMC’s long-term goal, says Sakac, is to increasingly unify the management of both platforms.
In fact, Sakac says the ability to easily add appliances to any environment is changing the IT procurement process. IT organizations no longer need to commit to large-scale IT infrastructure purchases up front.
“They can start small and dynamically add nodes as the workload grows,” says Sakac.
In effect, Sakac says, the role of most IT organizations is going to increasingly be focused on making sure capacity is optimized for workloads that will continually be scaling up and down.
HCI appliances are clearly the fastest growing segment of IT infrastructure for good reason. Naturally, there’s no shortage of appliances and software stacks for IT organizations to choose from. Both the VxRail and VxRack systems are a collaboration between Dell EMC and sister company VMware, making them the only hardware platform on which VMware engineers contribute to development. Given the dominance of VMware when it comes to on-premises IT deployments, chances are good Dell EMC appliances and systems are always going to be on the short list of platforms considered in those environments.