One of the core value propositions of the Vblock is the reduction of risk and increase in speed-to-market for our customers as they build out their own private cloud or consuming it from one of our service provider partners. This reduction of risk comes as part of a process that is incorrectly labeled as a lack of flexibility, usually by someone selling a reference architecture that, by definition, can’t offer the same risk avoidance.
As a way of showing how a Vblock can provide both benefits, and to add on to the VNX announcements being made here at EMC World, I want to give everyone a peek into some of the Vblock features that are currently in testing to be released as part of upcoming Compatibility Matrix releases. Most of these are either capabilities of the technology that’s in the Vblock 300 platform, or configurations that customers have asked for, and that we’ve formalized in order to be able to support them. All are (or will be) offered as standard options when purchasing a Vblock, all will be certified and tested as part of a Compatibility Matrix and all will be handed by VCE one-call support.
- Unprecedented Storage Flexibility
- Per-tier RAID Typing
- New RAID Configurations (8+1 R5, 14+2 R6)
- NFS Virtual Data Movers with Multi-LDAP Support
- Automatic Storage Pool Re-Balancing
- I/O Bandwidth Enhancement – Block
- Customers can choose to add FC or 10GbE expansion cards to increase bandwidth between the Fabric Interconnect and the storage array
- I/O Bandwidth Enhancement – File
- Customers can choose to add additional 10GbE connections between the Fabric Interconnect and the VNX Data Movers
- Cisco UCS 2.0 Hardware Update
- Vblock 300 will standardize on the Nexus 6248UP Fabric Interconnect with the 2104 FEX, offering 4x10Gb interconnects.
- Customers will also be able to lever age the new 2208 FEX with 8x80Gb interconnects if more performance is needed.
- Virtual Switch (Nexus 1000v) Update
- Addition of VXLAN to enable migration of virtual machines between servers across Layer 3 networks and address new requirements for scalable LAN segmentation.
- Better integration with VMware vCloud Director
- External File Access
- Enables customers to consolidate Enterprise-Wide NFS/CIFS functionality onto a single Vblock. Using VNX Data Movers, this allows data resident on Vblock storage to be made available outside the platform without endangering the performance or availability of the Vblock itself
- Unified Network Architecture
- Using the inherent multiprotocol – Fiber Channel, FCoE and Ethernet – switching capability of the Cisco Nexus 5548UP, customers can consolidate all switching (LAN and SAN) onto a single component within the Vblock.
- In “low-throughput” environments (<160Mbps), Layer-3 capabilities can also be leveraged on the same switch, providing “core” switching functionality inside the Vblock!
- Data Encryption
- Customers will be able to implement a full-array data encryption solution on the Vblock 300, the same way that Vblock 700 customer are able to now.
- Linux-Based VMware vSphere Appliance
- Customers wishing to remove some Microsoft licensing from their management stack will have the option to utilize the vCenter vApp in the AMP.
- VMware vSphere 5.0 Auto Deploy
- Decouples the VMware ESXi host from the physical server and eliminates the need for boot disk.
- Flexible Uplinks
- Customers may select different uplink connections between Cisco UCS 2×00 FEX and Cisco UCS 6×00 Fabric Interconnects to increase compute density for a given Vblock configuration.
- Allows an organization to select a Vblock Platform geometry that matches their service level requirements.
If you haven’t yet made the decision to base your IT infrastructure around a Vblock, make sure to ask your vendor how you take advantage of these features. Remember, this isn’t just a statement that “sure, you can do it!” It’s a fully supported, interoperability and performance tested set of configurations that preserve the scalability and balance of the Vblock platform. It’s delivered to your data center pre-configured, and supported from end-to-end. It’s a product with incredible flexibility that can support almost any enterprise workload, and can do it in a way that integrates in best with your existing processes and business requirements.
Looking at the list above, I see a lot of possibilities for how customers could implement a Vblock. What about you?