Dell DC Products, Solutions and Services – CI and HCI

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In this series we are discussing the different products, solutions and services Dell offers for datacenters. In this one, we are going to talk about the converged (CI) and HCI Hyperconverged Infrastructure solutions.

Traditional Datacenter

With traditional infrastructure, the best option from each category of component is selected and possibly purchased independently of every other category. Categories include servers, storage arrays and networks, but decisions about individual adapter cards and even cables are required.

Purchasing traditional infrastructure takes large initial investment and maintenance is difficult. This is the reason organizations are trying to move away from traditional DC model to converged and hyper-converged infrastructure models.

Of course, Dell has a bunch of products in each category, and we’ll be covering them as we go along.

Refer here if you want to know more about the differences between a traditional, converged and hyper-converged datacenter.

Converged Infrastructure

Converged infrastructure (CI) is a purchasing and maintenance model where a collection of components is purchased as a complete system from one vendor. Every server, network adapter and cable is included down to the last power cable.

Dell offers the following solutions in this space:

VxBlock Converged Infrastructure Systems | Dell Technologies US

Dell EMC offers VxBlock as a validated, single turn-key solution that is deploy-ready in association with Cisco. It combines Cisco servers and switches for compute and network, and Dell EMC products for storage.

Ex. VxBlock1000

Ready Stack | Dell Technologies US

Dell EMC Ready Stack gives you the ability to build your own converged infrastructure from the wide portfolio of Dell products. There are a number of validated designs you can choose from depending on your use case and existing environment.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has the objective of making infrastructure as invisible as possible. It combines the compute and storage together in a single appliance so the deployment and maintenance is easy.

You can also leverage hybrid cloud benefits along with HCI to refresh your traditional datacenters and reduce hardware footprint.

VxRail Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance | Dell Technologies US

VxRail is the HCI appliance built for the VMWare shops. VxRail is a single turn-key appliance that is a validated, fully integrated, pre-configured, pre-tested solution and offers non-disruptive scaling.

VxRail offers high availability fail-over, an active/active stretch cluster, and vSAN Kernel integration.

VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail | Dell Technologies US

VxRail is the only jointly engineered HCI system with deep VCF integration, delivering a simple and direct path to modern apps and the hybrid cloud with one, complete, automated platform.

vSAN Ready Nodes for Hyperconverged Infrastructure | Dell EMC US | Dell Technologies US

Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes, built on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, enable easy deployment with factory installed, pre-configured and pre-tested configurations which can add up to a solution that scales quickly to meet growing needs.

Form factors range from 1U and 2U Rack servers, Towers models, Blades model and Modular solutions, including the kinetic infrastructure, PowerEdge MX.  Spanning all-flash, rugged, hybrid rack, NVMe-only.

If you’re confused between vSAN Ready Nodes and VxRail, remember that VxRail is the only vSAN appliance in the world, built exclusively by mutual collaboration between VMWare and Dell. vSAN Ready Node is only a vSAN certified server, and is offered by a number of vendors, with little variations.

Dell PowerFlex | Dell Technologies US

The Dell PowerFlex software-defined infrastructure platform enables organizations to harness the power of software and embrace change while achieving consistently predictable outcomes for mission-critical workloads.

Think of PowerFlex as the SDS layer by Dell that you can combine with a hypervisor to make it a HCI solution or a CI solution by keeping SDS independent. In other words, PowerFlex is to Dell what vSAN ready nodes are to VMWare.

Microsoft Azure Stack (MAS) | Dell Technologies US

Dell is also Microsoft’s industry-leading partner when it comes to hybrid solutions by Microsoft. As part of the Microsoft Azure Stack in collaboration with Dell, Dell offers two products.

Dell Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is a purpose-built HCI operating system that gives you the ability to seamlessly integrate your on-prem HCI cluster with Azure to leverage some of the cloud native services on prem using Azure Arc.

Dell integrated system for Azure Stack HCI is a joint engineering effort between Microsoft and Dell that delivers maximum hybrid and HCI value out of the HCI nodes using Dell’s OpenManage plugin for Windows Admin Center.

Ex. AX750, AX7525, etc.

Dell Integrated System for Azure Stack Hub

Azure Stack Hub is an extension of Azure that provides a way to run apps in an on-premises environment and deliver Azure services in your datacenter. It is basically like purchasing a mini Azure datacenter with most Azure services, but running on premise.

As part of the integrated system for Azure Stack Hub, Dell offers different configuration options depending on the scale and type of the workloads you want to run online.

Dell also has ruggedized hardware options for cases where working environments are harsh.

DELL XC Family of Hyperconverged Systems | Dell Technologies US

Like VxRail from VMWare, Azure Stack HCI from Microsoft, and PowerFlex from Dell, Nutanix also offers an HCI solution in collaboration with Dell called the Dell XC family of hyperconverged systems with Dell XC Core nodes.

That’s it for now! If you have any questions or want to know more about any of these products, I’ll encourage you to reach out to Dell themselves. You can also reach out to me and I may be able to route you to the right experts.

Note: No I haven’t attached the same image multiple times under different products. 😀 As I had previously mentioned, most of these servers are based off of PowerEdge portfolio so they look similar. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that each image has a different name on them towards the bottom right corner. They may all look the same, but they’re different 🙂

Until next time!

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