Thursday, October 22, 2015

EMC VSPEX Blue & Dell VRTX - Blurred Lines

On the heels of Dell World Day 3, I walked away seeing huge potential between Dell & EMC for co-innovations, parlays, collaborations, mash-ups, (you get the idea), but there is also a level of overlap in products that should be considered.  Let me attempt to dig into something that I thought was pretty interesting in the CI/HCI & ROBO space.

Sure Dell has a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure EVO:RAIL offering that is similar to EMC's VSPEX Blue (minus the ooey gooey goodness of the VPSEX Blue Manager & Marketplace of course) that is a great use case for ROBO and when the desire for simplicity is paramount.  But we all know the VSPEX Blue is, for the reasons of repeatability & simplicity, beholden to the EVO:RAIL software stack defined by VMware, and requires VMware, which may at times be too rigid.


This is where I see a potential opportunity for Dell VRTX to offer some more flexibility while still offering simplicity.  VRTX is an integrated stack that combines, Compute, Network, Storage, & Management all in one datacenter-in-a-box.  And by eliminating the need to cable, power, and manage an external switch, it's plug and play. 

Here is a SIMPLE breakdown of components per 5U Appliance that can be in a tower or rack mount configuration (if you want more detail go HERE):

  • Compute
    • 4 x Dell PowerEdge Server Nodes, with the ability to mix & match 2 and 4 socket configurations to meet your needs (M520, M620, M630, M820, and M830)
  • Network
    • Integrated 10GbE and 1GbE Switching
    • Dual or Quad 10GbE NIC per Server
  • Storage
    • Choice of 12 x 3.5" Drives or 25 x 2.5" Drives
    • Hot-Pluggable & Swapable HDD/SSDs (SSD, SAS, NL-SAS)
    • Up to 48TB
  • Extra Goodies
    • 8 x PCIe Gen 2 Slots
    • 3 x Full Height GPU slots
    • Most everything (Server, Drives, Fans, Power, PCIe, etc.) is modular and/or hot-swapable
  • OS/Hypervisor Support
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • VMware
If you want further education on VRTX, try this interactive site.  If you like interactive sites and want to learn more about Dell's product portfolio go Dell's Virtual Rack

Look, a panacea a VRTX aint, but neither is a VSPEX Blue....or any product for that matter.  VRTX is just another tool in the GIANT Dell & EMC toolbox that I happen to think is cool, simple, and customers will appreciate.  When approaching any opportunity, it comes down to understanding the customer's goals, use-cases, and requirements.  Then and only then can you make a technology recommendation.

Side Note: my co-host of The Hot Aisle Podcast, Brian Carpenter, gave some more insights into Dell's FX2 modular building blocks in his blog post.

Written by: Brent M. Piatt - Systems Engineer - EMC

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