‘Welcome to the New era of Dell EMC CI’

Some brief highlights and related articles covering the next generation of Dell EMC CI – VxBlock System 1000


4X Storage Array Types

The VxBlock 1000 architecture is designed to allow for the option of running multiple storage arrays within a single VxBlock system supported under one RCM (beginning with RCM 6.5.3), which means the concept of storage extensions becomes a mute point and allows for the ease of expansion and mixing of storage arrays and their associated resources as required for specific workloads. The four Dell EMC array types include VMAX, Unity, Isilon Gen6 and XtremIO X2(available post GA). Previous VxBlock systems allowed for a single array per system, now dependent on the SAN switch chosen the VxBlock 1000 supports up to 10 arrays per system (mixed array types if required to cater for varying workloads).

Models supported:
Unity: 350F, 450F, 550F and 650F
VMAX 250F/FX and 950F/FX
Isilon F800, H600, H500, H400, A200 and A2000
XtremIO* X2S and X2R (Available post GA)
Note: ‘F’ denotes All-flash only systems, helping to improve TCO by reducing associated power and cooling costs


SAN Networking:
Cisco MDS (9148S/9396S/9706/9710) provides the SAN network and supports 16Gb fibre channel access from both the compute and storage arrays. The number of storage arrays connected within a single VxBlock 1000 system will be determinded by the number of 16Gb FC ports that are available in a single Cisco MDS director per SAN fabric.


Cisco UCS Servers (2X Compute Types)

In terms of the VxBlock 1000 compute architecture the Cisco UCS Gen3 is leveraged and both the Cisco UCS B-series & C-Series (M4/M5) are options as compute types allowing for a combination of both types in a mixed environment. The Cisco UCS 6332-16UP Series Fabric Interconnect is part of this UCS design which is capable of 40Gb Ethernet (previous VxBlock provided 10G connectivity) and 16Gb FC connectivity to/from UCS Gen3.


The VxBlock 1000 system can now scale to 800 C-Series or 400 B-Series servers, the scale varies based on number of UCS domains (each domain can have a maximum of 160 C-Series or 80 B-Series servers) and each UCS domain requires 2x Gen3 Fabric Interconnects with uplinks to the LAN and SAN switches. Net result is when connected to Cisco Nexus 93180LC-EX ToR switches and when 5x Cisco UCS domains are used the following max config options are available:
– 400 Cisco UCS B-Series half-width servers
– 800 Cisco UCS C-Series FEX-connected servers (New Fabric Extender 2348UPQ)
Note: Cisco USC B-Series=Blade and C-Series=Rack servers.

Management (AMP-VX)

One of the core technology highlights in VxBlock 1000 is the introduction of a new multi-system centralized management architecture ‘AMP-VX’ (Advanced Management Platform) capable of managing 8x VxBlocks (reducing OPEX and CAPEX), running a core-set of software, integrated log analytics and data protection providing an integrated management offering.


The AMP-VX is built on Dell PowerEdge 14G Servers (default 4x server configuration to support a single CI system) at initial release it can scale up to 8 servers (up to 64 in later releases) with an option to increase the AMP-VX server base by increments of x1 added as required to manage multiple CI Systems. The 14G R640 server used in the AMP-VX has a fixed server configuration:
– 1 RU single-socket R640 server
– 384 GB Memory
– 20 core, 2.4 GHz CPU
– 25 GbE NIC card
– SD card for VMware vSphere ESXi boot
– VMware vSAN all flash shared storage (a single VMware vSAN cluster)
– 14 TB raw usable storage per server
– Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 enabled (optional)
The Cisco Nexus 31108TC-V switch provides out of band management connectivity at 10Gbps.


Cisco Nexus 93180LC-EX or 93180YC-FX switches provide the LAN switching capabilities with the ability to connect at 40G or 100G north bound. Greater bandwidth capabilities with 40G LAN inside the system and 100G northbound to the top of rack switch, which is an increase from 10G inside and 40G to top of rack offered with previous CI systems.

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