VxRail delivers unmatched value to federal agencies starting with deployment

Many federal IT staffs already know about the many benefits that Dell EMC’s VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliance deliver from an IT modernization and transformation perspective. Its ability to lower total cost of ownership, simplify management, and automate and orchestrate infrastructure around virtualization — in effect, delivering agile, cloud-like IT to the enterprise — brings enormous value to federal agencies. We have discussed how many of these benefits connect to federal agencies’ needs in our latest solution brief Advancing Energy Department Data Center Modernization Goals With Dell EMC VxRail™.

But a key benefit of VxRail that often gets overlooked is its ability to deploy quickly and easily. One of the biggest headaches associated with setting up and deploying any new piece of infrastructure is the time investment required. Whether it’s storage, compute, an application, or an infrastructure management or monitoring platform, getting a new appliance from the box to operation can eat up days, even weeks in some cases.

Federal agency IT staffs have a lot on their plates, and time is in short supply. And that’s why VxRail makes great sense for agencies looking to smartly modernize and scale their on-premises infrastructures. Besides providing all the same scalability, agility, efficiency, and performance that a cloud environment offers, VxRail HCI is also super quick and easy to set up.

So what makes VxRail so quick and easy to deploy?

First, it is a hyperconverged infrastructure, so there are fewer components to deploy.

Second, it is jointly engineered by Dell EMC and VMware, so it integrates natively with VMware’s vSphere (server virtualization), vSAN (HCI), and other advanced VMware software tools. This translates into a time-to-value velocity two-and-a-half times faster than other offerings.

Third, VxRail is the only HCI appliance with network configuration automation, so there is 98 percent less work involved in deployment and administration.

Fourth, VxRail is preconfigured and pre-tested by Dell EMC, so it’s ready to go right out of the box.

And being quick and easy to deploy is a big deal because VxRail is a highly scalable building block for IT modernization. It can be configured as a stand-alone cluster or as the beginning of a deployment that can scale up to thousands of nodes. So saving days worth of staff time for each deployment can really add up.

Dell EMC and VMware invested a great deal of time and attention to automating and streamlining the setup workflow for VxRail so customers derive tangible business value from the get-go. By comparison, other HCI products on the market may offer vSAN-ready nodes, but they still require considerable work to get them online and integrated with an existing VMware infrastructure.

Deployment of VxRail can be done interactively with a browser-based tool or, alternatively, through a pre-generated JSON-formatted configuration file so that VxRails are deployed with many basic settings already in place. An intuitive, automated deployment assistant leads the administrator through a series of steps, eliminating repetitive tasks. And an automated validation tool performs functional tests along the way to make sure configurations and connections are made correctly.

As I mentioned earlier, because VxRail is a hyperconverged infrastructure, there are fewer components to deploy. A stark depiction of that benefit can be seen in the 2016 Dell EMC VxRail ™ Appliance Cost and Maintenance Advantages report by Edison Group Inc.

To assess the lower complexity and simplified management that comes with VxRail, Edison compared the installation of 64 compute nodes in 16 VxRail appliances housed within a single enclosure with a more traditional build-your-own (BYO) deployment of 64 2U Intel-processor-based servers plus a hybrid storage array with Fibre Channel SAN.

Just the installation of the hardware took roughly 10 1/2 hours for VxRail versus 46 hours for the BYO model, or roughly one-quarter of the time. Following that, the initialization and configuration process for the VxRail required 15 steps and took about 15 minutes while the BYO set-up required 111 steps and took more than five hours.

But it is not just VxRail that deploys quickly. Once the VxRail is operational, it can spin up additional nodes for greater performance and capacity in just five minutes.

The point here is that VxRail is not just a way to efficiently expand and modernize the data center — it is a way to transform what it means to deploy and run a data center. We hear this all the time from our customers: Deploying VxRail has substantially reduced the amount of staff time required for them to deploy, manage, and support their environments. This simplification extends to every aspect of IT management. Even basic tasks like patch management are far easier with VxRail. Market analyst IDC calculates that on average, study participants require 60 percent less staff time for management and 53 percent less staff time to handle problems related to their Dell EMC VMware-based HCI environments.

Federal agencies understand that gaining the most from an IT investment begins with deploying new appliances into production quickly, with minimal effort. For VxRail, a fast and easy deployment is just the first instance of a long lifecycle of unmatched value for federal customers.

Carly RhodesideComment