In February, we released VxRail code version 7.0.320 which is based on ESXi 7.0U3c inclusive of the log4j fix, as well as many other 7.0U3 features. This release was available for all existing VxRail customers that are on 13G, 14G and 15G hardware and is accessible through the Dell Technologies Support Site. As part of our 7.0.320 rollout, on March 15th we released this version to factory and introduced 5 new models that provide more configuration flexibility on our latest 15th generation PowerEdge server platform. Of these 5 new models, 2 of them are vSAN enabled node options and the remaining 3 are the 15G versions of our new Dynamic Nodes which provide a compute only ESXi host option for customers who would like to leverage external storage as primary storage. Currently for Dynamic Nodes with code version 7.0.320, we only support leveraging vSAN HCI Mesh and Dell EMC PowerMax, PowerStore PowerFlex and Unity XT storage arrays for external primary storage. Let's take a look at the new models in greater detail.
This node is an All NVMe, 1 RU node based on the PowerEdge R650. The E-series nodes are great for overall compute density and workloads that have low storage capacity needs. The E660N introduces NVMe capacity drives in addition to the cache drives. While vSAN does not yet leverage NVMe protocol, this is a great way to future proof your infrastructure so when vSAN leverages NVMe to its fullest intent, an upgrade to the appropriate version would be the enabling factor.
Flexible Disk Groups
As part of our initial 15G release, we introduced the ability to have flexible disk group design options. This allows you to configure the nodes at first run with a variety disk group methodologies in mind. In previous E-series nodes, the disk group configuration was limited to 1 or 2 disk groups, each with a maximum of 4 capacity disks. You will see in the graphic below that we still over that configuration option but in addition we now have the ability to configure the node with a single disk group with a maximum of 7 capacity disks. When you choose the Disk Group configuration methodology that suits your needs, you cannot change it once the system has been deployed so make sure you work with your Dell Tech Solution Architect to determine the appropriate configuration.
This node provides a Hybrid Storage Dense option based on the 2 RU PowerEdge R750 that offers a lower upfront cost. This node has a total of 16 drive bays, 4x 2.5" in the rear of the node and 12x 3.5" drives accessible in the front of the node. This can be a great option for deployments that do not need high performance. With this model, because it’s a Hybrid node, you are able to leverage the vSAN Standard license edition which aids in the lower cost benefit. Keep in mind, by leveraging Hybrid node deployments, you miss out on Erasure Coding and Deduplication & Compression features that come with All Flash deployments. For this model, we do not allow the Flexible Disk Group configuration as an option. You can configure anywhere from 1-4 Disk Groups, each with up to 3 capacity disks. The predecessor, S570, was 1-2 DG's, each with up to 5 capacity disks. The S670 offers double the write performance due to the 2 additional DG's.
VxRail version 7.0.240 included our Dynamic Node release which was the debut of VxRail compute only nodes on PowerEdge 14G, providing customers with the flexibility of provisioning a VxRail cluster consisting of non-vSAN ESXi nodes to leverage external storage via vSAN HCI Mesh or Dell EMC storage arrays. 7.0.320 release includes the 15G Dynamic Node models. The supported arrays for these nodes are:
Dell EMC PowerStore
Dell EMC PowerMax
Dell EMC Unity XT
Dell EMC PowerFlex
Storage connectivity support for these models is via Fibre Channel (16/32Gb). In a follow-on release, 7.0.350, which is available now for upgrade, we support NFS and iSCSI as well. PowerFlex support is via ethernet connectivity. The alternative storage option is to use vSAN HCI Mesh which allows you to take existing vSAN storage capacity from 1 cluster to another cluster. This is a nice feature that allows you to leverage unused storage and lend it to external clusters regardless if they are vSAN clusters or standalone ESXi clusters.
With VxRail version 7.0.320 we offer a wide range of configurable options that are able to meet the majority of use cases and provide the value of centralized management and automation of time-consuming tasks such as initial deployment, lifecycle management and expansions. Reach out to your Dell Technologies Account Team for more info on VxRail!