VxRail – VVD 4.3 (Notes)

VMware Validated Design for SDDC on VxRail

Dell EMC VxRail and VMware Validated Design (VVD) brief notes:


  • VxRail was the first HCI appliance certified to run VVD.
  • For a list of the VVD 4.3 BOM see here.
  • VxRail & VVD BOM alignment delivered by both VMware and Dell EMC.
  • VVD 4.3 includes vSphere 6.5U2 – requires VxRail code versions 4.5 which include 6.5U2.
  • VxRail 4.5.225 or later recommended (4.7 targeted for .next VVD release).
  • VVD certification offers documented guidance on how to deploy the vRealize Suite (vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Business for Cloud and vRealize Log Insight) and NSX on VxRail.
  • VVD on VxRail arch includes two workload domains (wld’s) ‘management’ & ‘vi’ (includes shared edge and compute cluster) based on the VMware Standard VVD design.
  • VxRail E or P series are the recommended models for the management domains.
  • More detail for VVD on VxRail sizing here.
  • Recommend deploying VxRail Appliances with 4x 10Gbe (2 NICs used today with additional 2 NICs to cater for future VVD/VCF designs).
  • VxRail ESXi clusters remain fully life cycle managed by VxRail Manager (updates include ESXi, vSAN, Firmware, and the VIBs/Agents). vCenter and PSCs can be lcm leveraging VMware Update Manager (VUM).
  • vSAN is the primary storage used for both the Management domains.
  • 3x deployment options including DR and Stretch Clustering:
  • Dell switch configuration guidance for VVD can be found here.
  • Multi-AZ design with vSAN stretched cluster supported with up to 5ms RTT latency between Availability Zones and 10Gbps b/w.
  • Multi-Region design supports latency between regions up to 150ms.
  • vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (vRSLCM) utilized for the automated deployment of the vRealize Suite products namely: vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Business for Cloud and vRealize Log Insight.
  • vCenters and their associated PSCs reside in the management domain. VVD design requires that both the management & workload vCenters and PSCs must be deployed in the management domain VxRail.
  • VxRail Manager responsible for the deployment and LCM of ESXi, vSAN, cluster ops (create, add host, etc.) and ESRS.
  • DUAL Region VVD configurations have a single SSO Domain spanning 2 sites (consisting of 4X VxRails, 2 per site).
  • VVD supports a VADP compatible backup solution for integration with vSphere, for example Dell EMC Avamar or Networker.
  • VMware Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication to perform site protection and recovery of the Cloud Management Platform(CMP) that consists of vRealize Automation with embedded vRealize Orchestrator, vRealize Business, vRealize Operations Manager analytics cluster, and vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager. VVD 4.3 Site Protection and Recovery guide can be found here.
  • Non-VVD vRealize Automation endpoints are supported natively by vRA, see VVD documentation guidance.
  • Dell EMC community VVD on VxRail landing page.
  • Useful reference: Dell EMC™ VxRail™ – Accelerating the Journey to VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)






VxRail – Visio Stencils

Thanks to our prod marketing team for creating these VxRail stencils which can be used in Microsoft Visio. The zip download below contains images of all VxRail series appliances both 13&14G E|G|P|V| S, detailing front, rear, left and right elevations.


Note: these are the latest as of Dec 2018. Please refer to the VxRail enablement center to check for most recent dowloads. If you are working on VVD related solutions then it is also worth checking out these:  Visio Stencils for the VMware Validated Designs

List of VxRail stencils included:

vxrailstencils1 Continue reading

VxRail – Basic vSAN UI Overview

The following post provides a basic UI overview of how the VxRail Appliance disk groups are configured and viewed from both the VxRail Manager and the vSphere Client.

The VxRail Appliance vSAN disk groups are configured in one of two ways:
Hybrid – single SSD disk for caching and one or more HDD disks for capacity.
All-flash – single SSD disk for caching and one or more SSD disks for capacity.
The amount of storage available to the vSAN datastore is based on the capacity drives.

A VxRail node allows for multiple disk groups (please refer to official VxRail docs for specifics, as the quantity of disk groups differ per VxRail model) which in turn provides multiple cache drives per node thus potentially improving performance. In this example each VxRail Appliance node has two All-flash disk groups, each node in the cluster is required to have the same storage configuration.

vSphere Client UI

From the vSphere client click on the cluster and navigate to the ‘configure – vSAN – General’ from here we can see that the vSAN cluster for this VxRail appliance comprises of 24 disks in total (4x 13G servers).


‘vSAN – Disk Management’ displays both the Disk Groups and the disks associated with each Disk Group. Taking the example below of the first ESXi host in the cluster, we can see the VxRail node has a total of 6 disks contributing storage to the vSAN cluster, comprising of two disk groups with three disks in each disk group. Continue reading

VxRail – How to Check ‘PTAgent’ Status

VxRail manager utilizes the PTAgent running on the ESXi hosts as part of a VxRail cluster in order to pull hardware related information from the host. If you are experiencing host visibility issues in VxRail manager, then a good starting point is to check the PTAgent status,

PTAgent is bundled with VxRail code releases as part of the Dell PowerEdge components. ESXCLI can be used to determine the PTAgent version running on the host.

esxcli software vib list | grep dellptagent


Continue reading

VxRail Mgmt Pack for vROPS – Example Alert

For a detailed overview of the VxRail Management Pack for vROps please refer to the excellent post by Steve Hegarty:

VxRail Management Pack for vROps

This post provides an example use case of working with this mgmt pack. You can see from the image below capturing the Mgmt. pack dashboard ‘Dell EMC VxRail Clusters‘, is throwing an alert in relation to a VM that has exceeded the threshold for snapshot duration (by the way this is a lab and yes it has well exceeded said threshold!):


Clicking on the alert provides detailed info (‘Symptoms’) of the alert. Click on the ‘RUN ACTION’ button in order to be presented with the options for remediation: Continue reading

VxRail Manager – Manual Backup

Note: Please refer to the DELL EMC Solve procedures before performing this task, this is for example purposes only, running VxRail code 4.5.210.

This is an example of a manual file-based backup of your VxRail Manager config, which is invaluable in the event you are required to recover the VxRail Manager.

In this example I accessed the VxRail Manager via SSH with mystic account, su to root and navigate to the backup script directory:


Continue reading