VCE is the converged infrastructure business unit of EMC. There are three products in the lineup, Vblock, VxRack, and VxRail and all are developed to provide the highest level of availability and support. With a VCE solution there is one point of contact for all support issues for hardware and software. Today we will be introducing EMC’s simple to manage, hyper-converged offering, VxRail.
What is VxRail?
VxRail is a hyper-converged appliance based on VMware vSphere and Virtual SAN (VSAN) that only requires 2U of rack space each. VSAN is software defined storage that pools the internal disks of industry standard servers to provide integrated, high speed VM storage. An appliance contains four nodes which are vSphere hosts; each with corresponding disk drives. Hyper-converged appliances have been around for a little while, so what makes this new generation of hardware and software so special? Flexibility and choice!
The previous generation of EMC’s hyper-converged appliance line was very limited and configuration choices were almost non-existent. If your needs did not fit in to the narrow scope of the hardware, it was not a fit. This has changed with VxRail and especially because of VSAN 6.2. EMC now has a wide range of appliances going from the VxRail 60 with 6 cores all the way up to the VxRail 280F with 28 cores per node. They are available either as a hybrid model or all-flash to support the highest performance demands. The minimum configuration is a fully populated appliance containing four nodes, but from there it drastically differs from earlier versions.
Earlier models had to be ordered with all the disk drives you would potentially need. Now nodes can be configured with less drives and increased dynamically as your requirements grow. For example, each node could be configured with two hard disks initially, but capacity can be added as the requirements increase. Another shortfall of earlier generations was that nodes had to be added in fully populated appliances. Once again, this is no longer the case. After the initial fully populated appliance is deployed, additional nodes can be added one at a time as needed. These nodes do not even have to be the same model or type as the initial nodes that were purchased, once again allowing flexibility! Also, the cluster can now scale to 64 nodes that can run thousands of VMs, and this allows you to truly pay-as-you-grow.
Finally, the biggest change is in the all-flash arrays. First, in the ability to do deduplication and compression on SSD nodes. This coupled with the fact that the SSD drives are large capacity and based on 3D NAND technology means that a fully populated appliance has 74TB of raw SSD storage that is effectively much larger depending on deduplication and compression rates. The second advantage of the all-flash arrays is that they support erasure coding which is basically RAID 5 or 6 across nodes. In a traditional hybrid VSAN data must be kept on two nodes which cuts your usable capacity by half as with RAID 10. With erasure coding parity can be used across nodes increasing your storage utilization with very little impact due to the high performance of SSD drives.
The VxRail appliance is a flexible, scalable, high performance infrastructure in a simple and efficient package. The ability to easily scale from as few as four nodes to sixty-four allows the VxRail to grow as your business does. With the all-flash arrays being as fast and efficient as they are, tremendous workloads can run in fewer racks using less power and cooling when compared to traditional architectures. If you would like additional information please visit the VCE website at http://www.vce.com/products/hyper-converged/vxrail or contact your Focus Account Manager.