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With Dell's release of VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail, also known as VCF on VxRail, the company is aiming to make a splash in its efforts to transform the Dell EMC hyper-converged platform into a cloud hub. But what exactly is this shiny new offering, and how can it help your organization address its ongoing business needs?
What is VxRail?
If you've been looking at the hyper-converged space for long, you know that VxRail is a VMware vSAN-centric hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) built atop Dell EMC PowerEdge servers. VxRail is a Dell product through and through, from the underlying hardware to the software that overlays your cluster of servers.
Over the years, Dell has released targeted editions of VxRail as different series of devices. For example, the G series is the company's general-purpose HCI platform. It is tuned to support a wide variety of business applications. But not every workload is equal, and so there are other appliance series that target the edge (E series), performance-centric workloads (P series) and virtual desktop infrastructure appliances (V series). There's also the S series that supports storage capacity-hungry workloads.
The critical point to bear in mind is that HCI -- in this case, VxRail hardware coupled with vSAN software -- is designed to take the guesswork and effort out of IT infrastructure deployment. As a powerful way for organizations to streamline infrastructure management, hyper-convergence has become a viable alternative to traditional three-tier data center environments in the decade-plus since its inception.
VCF on VxRail takes HCI a step further by bringing the hybrid cloud into the equation.
Regardless of the workloads being supported, most organizations today -- if they haven't already -- are looking for the on-ramp to hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is a mashup of public and private clouds, with private cloud having a specific meaning here. It's an on-premises environment that looks, acts and is managed similarly to a public cloud.
It's not always an easy transition from data center to private cloud, and too many admins attempt to equate the two when nothing could be further from the truth. Getting to this point is where VMware Cloud Foundation comes in. VMware Cloud Foundation consists of SDDC (software-defined data center) Manager, vSphere, vSAN (thanks to VxRail here), NSX and NSX-T for vSphere, and vRealize Suite. vRealize Suite, in turn, includes vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations Manager.
This full suite of products helps organizations transform what was just a conglomeration of hardware into a streamlined workload operating environment that functions more like the public cloud and provides integration opportunities into public cloud services. This is an ideal integration point for those running VMware on AWS.
A lot of companies run HCIs, and many are using VMware Cloud Foundation. So, what's so special about VCF on VxRail?
Well, VCF on VxRail is Dell's first purpose-built offering that combines engineering expertise from across Dell -- VMware and Dell EMC -- to create a turnkey product that enables quick migration from traditional approaches to infrastructure to a private cloud that can seamlessly interconnect with the public cloud to create a flexible hybrid cloud environment. VMware Cloud Foundation provides all of the software-defined goodness of vSphere, vSAN, NSX and more, as well as all of the management, operations and automation tools organizations need to deploy private cloud in on-premises environments.
Time to deployment has quickly become a leading metric in gauging the success or failure of IT initiatives. VCF on VxRail slashes deployment times, enabling companies to quickly stand up hybrid cloud environments without incurring costly hardware deployment times and attempting to deploy various software services from a variety of different vendors. It is architected to just work, which is one of the overarching goals of both HCI and the public cloud.
This deep integration enables complex management of the underlying hardware with APIs that aren't available to other vendors and that also extend to other parts of the infrastructure. It's the next iteration of a software-centric architecture that uses comprehensive and completely managed hardware to help organizations move with more speed and agility, which ultimately improves the bottom line.