VSAN Disk Group Validation Error in VxRail

Disk Group Validation “Host with all-flash disk types is not compatible with existing hybrid cluster”

I ran into an issue recently when I was building a new VxRail cluster that I had just re-imaged using the RASR process. The RASR tool is used by Partners and Services to automate the process of wiping a node back to factory default settings. The node I was using was an All-Flash node. I was adding it into an All-Flash cluster. I was perplexed when a validation error popped up during the node add process. Validation Errors. Disk group validation. Host with all-flash disk types is not compatible with existing hybrid cluster.

VxRail hosts validation errors disk group validation

Check if the RASR iso is still attached.

I had a flashback to a previous error I encountered with the RASR ISO. I was trying to build a new cluster with 3 nodes. One of the nodes needed to be reset to factory default. I used the RASR ISO by attaching it as bootable media through the iDRAC console. When the reset finished, I accidentally left the RASR ISO still attached as virtual media to the iDRAC. When VxRail manager tried to validate the 3 nodes, it picked up the RASR’d node as hybrid not all-flash. This prevented the validation from passing since the first 3 nodes in a VxRail cluster need to be identical.

idrac console connect virtual media

Check the ESXi console; Is SSD: True?

So I logged on to the iDRAC and checked the virtual media for an attached ISO. It wasn’t showing up this time. I decided to just take a quick look at the ESXi console to see if the disks were incorrectly detected as spinning.

esxcli vsan storage list

This will report back all the disks available for VxRail to configure for VSAN. The disks were all correctly reported as SSD. I was stumped. Something was causing the mis-alignment.

I had a bit of a brainwave. I had recently tested a custom RASR iso from the dev team that had a kixstart configuration. This ISO was a hands-off automated way of re-imaging the nodes from a batch file. It saved me a lot of manual steps by using an answer file for various prompts. I wonder was it somehow still mapped to the node?

I logged in to the iDRAC web interface and checked the “Attached Media” tab. There it was, still connected. Once I disconnected the RASR iso here the validation process passed. Huzzah!

Clean Coasts : Love Your Coast 2019 Competition

My Clean Coasts submissions this year.

I was not so successful this year in the Clean Coasts photography competition. I didn’t get a single picture into the finalist round this year and i didn’t end up going up for the event. Hoping maybe I will have better luck next year. I was pretty disappointed but looking back my images were not as good as last year and the competition is pretty fierce. Very happy for the friends i knew that got in. Looking forward to catching up at the dive show in March 2020.

Starting a vExpert Blog : Some tips and advice.

Just do it. Start a Blog. Today.

Stop procrastinating right now and start your vExpert Blog. This is the quickest way to get involved in the vCommunity. It doesn’t require any travel, and you don’t have to conquer your fear of public speaking. You only need to find a place to publicly share your ramblings and there is lots of choice there. From using a service like Medium, or publishing directly on LinkedIN you can get started almost immediately. If you want a little more control of where your content is hosted, then maybe starting a WordPress blog is for you. That’s what I ended up doing and I never looked back! Here is my advice on why I did it and some tips on the most useful Plugins i use for my vExpert Blog and why I use them.

Why I started a blog.

VMware vExpert

Why did I start writing a blog in the first place? The main reason I started a blog was to complete the #BlogtoberTech 2018 challenge. I had always threatened to start a blog and this gave me the motivation i needed to buckle down and get it done. Secondly I was looking for a way to publicly give back to the vCommunity in a way that was measurable. I wanted to include it in my vExpert application and improve my own personal brand. What I did not realize was how much I would enjoy doing it. I have found blogging to be a great tool for organizing my ideas, and capturing key concepts that i will later present to customers. Before i started blogging my ideas were lost on the back of napkins, buried in A4 diaries or spread out across multiple OneNote entries.

Blogging to help your presenting.

Strangely enough I find that blogging actually helps my public speaking. The best advice I ever got around how to give better presentations was to start with an agenda. I used to just get on stage and wing it. I was notorious for drifting from one idea to the next with very little structure and no beginning, middle or end in sight! If you get up in front of an audience, you only have a few seconds of attention span before their eyes start to glaze over and they get that far-away look. When you write or blog, your audience is similar, you just don’t see them when they get bored and click past! I find blogging is one way to organize my thoughts and to put some structure around my ideas.

Capture ideas in WordPress not OneNote.

I have started writing directly in WordPress. Once I started writing directly into WordPress I found it much easier and quicker to get the blog to published status. Write it and walk away, save it in drafts. Sometimes you will come back to it and delete it, other times you will finish it. The default WordPress editor interface is simple to use. You don’t want to get distracted with lots of tools for formatting and layout, just a quick way to get your ideas down on the page. Sometimes all you need to kickstart a new vExpert blog is editor time. There is a handy WordPress app for mobile devices that you can use when on the go.

5 Best Plugins for WordPress Blogs

There are a ton of free and paid WordPress plugins available in the marketplace. You can browse directly from the WordPress Admin console. They have lists of Featured, Popular and Recommended Plugins, or you can search for a topic and see what is out there. For example I needed an SSL cert solution for my WordPress site and I didn’t want to pay for a Certificate.

Free SSL Certificate for WordPress

Using this plugin you can finally setup your site to be secure. You may not be reaching all your audience if you don’t enable SSL as many browsers will not even let your readers in. This Plugin enables you to use the free Certificate Authority from LetsEncrypt.org. The process to request and renew certificates can be handled directly from the Plugin interface. It’s free to use, but the author gives you a button to donate coffee. No self respecting vExpert blog is complete without https!

JetPack by WordPress.com

This is a very powerful plugin for your WordPress site. It has features to help prevent unwanted spam, security against brute-force attacks and has site accelerator for serving your images through a global CDN. Some of the basic features are free but you can upgrade paid-for options as well. There are Personal, Premium and Professional options with different features.

reSmush.it Image Optimizer

Do you like to include pictures with your blog writing? Then I highly recommend using a plugin that will optimize your images. reSmush.it is a free plugin that automatically compresses your images so that your site doesn’t start to crawl. If it takes too long for your blog to load, then your visitors will not hang around waiting.

Yoast SEO

Even if you are a total novice and have no idea what SEO is – you are going to want this plugin. Search Engine Optimization is a vast topic. Some people make their living providing services to help websites rank highest in searches. You don’t have to spend hours keeping up with the latest techniques if you install Yoast. The plugin will make suggestions and recommendations on how to simply improve your content. This will help to get that blog ranking to the first page in google search results. Must have!

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

How can you improve if you don’t measure? I use both JetPack and Google Analytics to report on my blog site traffic. The detail that google provides is immense and lets face it – if you don’t show up there than it is very unlikely your blog is going to ever be read by anyone! Using a combination of Yoast and Google Analytics you can even write blogs to target specific search terms from your audience. This is a great way to get noticed.

VxRail Error Codes reference

Download the VxRail error codes guide.

Last week a customer asked me about some of the alarms showing up in vSphere on their VxRail hosts in VMware vCenter. The alarms were actually generated by VxRail manager and are VxRail error codes unique to the HCI appliance. VxRail Manager uses these codes to highlight any insights at the hardware, hyper-visor or software layer of the integrated appliance. The codes start with VXR in the description.

VxRail Event Code Reference document
Download the VxRail Event Codes Reference Guide PDF

This customer wanted access to details around these event codes and error codes that appeared in vSphere. I shared a link to a document that contains all the VxRail appliance event codes. This document is regularly updated and publicly available here. The document is titled the VxRail appliance event code reference. These include the events for vCenter, iDRAC, SRS, the VxRail appliance and VxRail Manager.

Setup SRS and ACE for the best experience

The error codes will be used to phone home to Dell EMC support through SRS (Secure Remote Support). SRS is able to automatically create an SR (Service Request) for any issues that may be more serious in nature. Customers that have SRS installed will enjoy faster time to resolution for issues that require support from Dell EMC.

This customer was not using the latest version of VxRail software (4.7.300 at time of writing). I encouraged the customer to take advantage of both SRS and ACE. This makes it much easier to monitor and manage multiple clusters. There are also improvements to VxRail error and event code handling in the latest code.

The VxDoctor is in the house.

The latest update to VxRail in the 4.7.300 code includes a new framework for intelligent event handling. This new engine will gather alerts generated and perform logic to either report or dismiss. Only the important events will be forwarded to support. The logic will suppress any benign events to avoid unnecessary SR creation. This event throttling capability will determine if the event can be self-healed first. If self-healing is not possible than a smart logging feature will kick in. It will gather the correct logs required for this specific issue, rather than all logs on the system.

Customers that choose the VxRail appliance see the value that automation brings to infrastructure management. Intelligent appliances are replacing the need for DIY infrastructure. that gives a public-cloud-like experience. Systems that are designed with the principal of SRE are the new normal. Using VxRail and ACE together with SRS a customer can more quickly achieve a cost-effective and reliable on-premises infrastructure.

VxRail ACE in Continuous Development

New VxRail ACE features arriving fast and often

Did you know that VxRail ACE dashboard has had 4 updates since the soft launch in May this year? As customers log into the Ace dashboard they are first presented with the latest updates that have been released since their last visit. So far there is roughly a monthly cadence between updates. This rapid development is down to the ACE solution being built on the Pivotal platform. Since the soft launch of VxRail ACE in I have been talking to customers about ACE and showing off this first phase of capabilities. Have you had the chance to check out ACE yet?

Customers dont need to install ACE, the data lake is on our side.

A big advantage for customers is that the ACE Data lake sits on our infrastructure. The customer requires no resources to collect and process the data. This data lake is swelled by the 6200+ customers of VxRail. We want to enable as many customers to use ACE since more data gives better results. The next phases of ACE will begin to introduce AI technologies like machine learning. This will give customers options to have VxRail self-drive and auto-repair their clusters.

How do i setup VxRail ACE?

Getting connected to ACE is even easier with the 4.7.300 update for VXRail . We now can deploy SRS directly in vSphere with just a few clicks. Customers need a Dell EMC support logon and the plugin will auto deploy the srs appliance in seconds. Just provide the Support account credentials and an ip address for the SRS appliance(s). The new appliance will be deployed in the VxRail cluster. You can still point SRS at an existing external SRS appliance that is already running in your network.

Dell EMC Secure Remote Support SRS

Remind me. What is VxRail ACE?

How can customers take advantage of new technologies without requiring a heavy lift on their internal IT resources? Firstly offer an appliance rather then DIY build for infrastructure helps (VxRail). Then give customers a choice to subscribe to premium services that add value beyond the simplified HCI experience. “VxRail ACE (Analytical Consulting Engine) is a centralized data collection and analytics platform that streamlines monitoring of your VxRail clusters, improves serviceability, and helps you make better decisions to manage the performance and capacity of your pre-engineered hyperconverged infrastructure. ” – From the ACE overview.

Deleting a Workload Domain in VCF on VxRail

Warning: Check Solve before reading.

This Blog comes with a health warning! This is not to be consumed by customers directly. This is not a procedure for them to use in VCF on VxRail environments at this time. I wrote this as a reminder to myself and for other engineers that might need to perform the task in demo or POC environments. Always check Solve Online and download the current procedure for any tasks you might want to perform. If there isnt a procedure to perform the tasks in Solve then you may need to check if you are authorized to perform the task.

Always check Solve Online for the correct procedure for any tasks. If its not listed, you many not be authorized to perform the task!

VCF on VxRail is a white glove experience.

One of the advantages of using VxRail as the infrastructure for VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF on VxRail) is the simplified and automated processes that the engineered appliance brings to bear. This solution is a white glove experience for customers as only qualified and experienced installers perform the Day Zero deployment activities. Configuration is automated and validated to remove the chance of human error. Once VCF is deployed, many of the manual tasks that could be difficult are automated by SDDC Manager. Deleting a Workload Domain is one of those workflows.

Once a Workload Domain is deployed, you will see the option to Delete the Workload Domain, ever wondered what this does?

Warning! Deleting a WLD is permanent.

Once you select the Delete Workload Domain workflow from the current inventory, you are presented with a popup warning. I highly recommend you read carefully exactly what this message says as the process is irreversible. As the warning suggests the entire Workload Domain will be removed and deleted. This includes VSAN as well as the vCenter and NSX Manager and NSX Controllers associated with this Workload Domain.

Don’t click past this warning message!

VxRail Makes LCM Great (Again)

VxRail LCM updates are a huge differentiation to any other HCI competitor since it includes the entire stack in a single bundle file; Hardware, hyper-visor and software on top!

New LCM Changes for VxRail in 4.7.300.

There is now a new Updates Tab for VxRail LCM (Life Cycle Management). I gave this feedback way back when the first HTML5 plugin for VxRail came out. The link to check for updates was tiny and easily missed hidden away in the System tab. VxRail LCM updates are a huge differentiation to any other HCI competitor since it includes the entire stack in a single bundle file; Hardware, hyper-visor and software on top! I wrote previously about the VxRail LCM process and why it matters to HCI solutions here.

Aaron Buley was quicker than me in digging into the latest LCM improvements.

Updates Tab embedded in H5 client

The new Updates tab integrated in vSphere H5 client. So much nicer and easier to find!

The update tab gives you quick access to view the current version of ESX, vCenter and the VxRail Manager itself. The tab for Internet Upgrade is here, where you can automatically pull the latest bundle. VxRail Manager will check for VxRail LCM bundles and alert you when its available.

Applying a local bundle in offline mode.

Schedule updates and find out how long they will take.

You do not have to be online to update the cluster, you may be required to run the cluster as a dark site and manually apply updates in the Local Updates tab. This is also a great way to control which bundle you want to apply rather than take the most recent version. Some customers prefer to plan updates in a more controlled manner, and stay a version or two behind.

it is now possible to schedule an update to run in future right from the GUI interface. This means you have time to plan an update to happen out of hours and you dont have to be there to kick it off. Customers were also asking for a way to estimate how long a bundle update would take. This is built in now as well showing Minimum Estimated Time.

You can change a scheduled update or even cancel it from the GUI.

What else changed in the VxRail Plugin?

Convert vCenter Mode in GUI form…

The System Tab now has an option to “Convert vCenter mode”. There was a Script available to externalize an embedded vCenter running in VxRail already, but now its built in the GUI. This is super useful for example when customer wants to convert the VC and PSC and connect multiple VxRails to a mgmt cluster. This aligns the deployment with the VVD automatically allowing them to stay fully compliant.

easy button for externalizing the VC and PSC deployed in VxRail.

Simple SSL Certificate Management

There is a new SSL certificate tab in the VxRail plugin. This allows you to easily replace the VxRail Manager SSL Certificate.

Multi-Rack discovery using a proxy node.

There is a feature in VxRail hosts tab to expand an existing cluster to another rack with new unassigned VxRail nodes. The new rack will have its own TOR switches and may be seperated by a different VLAN to the existing cluster.

Its a simple task to declare one of the unassigned nodes to act as a proxy node using this CMD:

esxcli network ip interface ipv4 set -i vmk2 -I <Management IP Address> -N <subnet mask> -t static

Use the GUI as below to declare this new proxy at the cluster. The proxy node will transmit details of all unassigned nodes in the 2nd rack. Proceed to expand cluster by adding these new nodes as before.

ACE gets top billing now.

If you don’t know what ACE is all about yet, then pop over to this blog i wrote earlier explaining all about it. ACE is getting new updates every couple weeks now (its running on the Pivotal engine so you know its going to be adding new features fast! There is a link to the ACE FAQ in the Support Tab so that customers can quickly get connected and up and running. ACE is still free for customers.

Traffic throttle between VxRail and vCenter

Physical View of appliances now in H5!

No longer do we need to link and launch to access the Physical View of our VxRail appliance nodes. Everything is embedded in the HTML5 interface. My good buddy Jeremy Merrill wrote up an excellent blog already detailing this why not check it out.

Kubernetes and Kommunity!

Ireland VMware User Group: Kubernetes, k8s, Kubernetes!

I will give you three guesses what the September Ireland VMware User Group meeting in Dublin was all about. The VMUG event was packed with updates on Kubernetes, vSphere, and VMworld. It was standing room only from the start. The VMUG organizers moved everyone to a bigger room after the first session! Cormac Hogan began his own session by reminding everyone that VMUG is all about the community, all about the users. He would rather see end-users on the VMUG stage presenting how they used VMware solutions to solve problems, rather than only vendors sales pitches. All of the VMware presenters sessions were excellent, but i have to agree, the best session of the day came from the vCommunity.

VMUG is about vCommunity

The VMUG community session was presented by two community members from AIB. It was the last session of the day and the room was still full. The presenter from AIB asked the room, “How many of you look after infrastructure?”. I think almost every hand in the room shot up. This was in contrast to an earlier VMware presenter that had asked, “How many people are using Kubernetes?”. Very few hands went up that time. The presenter acknowledged Kubernetes was like teenage sex, it seems like a lot of people are talking about it but few are implementing it. Yet!

Ireland VMUG VMware User Group

The presenter from AIB went on to describe how they had considered many different vendors and solutions on their digital transformation journey. AIB needed a new modern infrastructure strategy that worked for both Developers and Operators. They would need to maintain legacy applications they had and be able to pivot to new app development methods. They had decided that HCI was the answer for their infrastructure and they choose VxRack powered by VxRail. The best part of the session covered how they sold this new vision back to the business and were able to convince the board to make the new investment needed. It was very interesting to see how a business oriented session drew as much engagement as technology deep-dive one.

@edhoppitt says #RunAllTheThings

Ed Hoppitt from VMware kicked off the opening keynote. Ed works on the Modern Apss & Cloud Native Platforms team. He began by talking about innovation and how companies need different skillsets to innovate. He detailed the Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners concept very well. I had read about this originally from the great Simon Wardley.

consistent infrastructure vS[here VMware

Ed had an excellent one-slide that illustrated how VMware is enabling customers Digital Transformation journey from traditional to cloud native applications. The slide described how vSphere and Consistent Infrastructure could cover everything from traditional to micro-services and cloud native. Ed talked about how a UK Finance company was using multi-cloud to satisfy governance rules. They needed to leverage multiple clouds and be able to shift from one cloud to another in less than 30 days. This is the true multi-cloud nirvana and a really great use case.

VMworld 2019 Recap by @rsudding

Project Pacific and VMware Tanzu
Build ! Run! Manage!

Ryan Sudding from Vmware was up next. He is a regular Ireland VMware User Group advocate and supporter. Ryan had the mammoth task of breaking down everything that was announced at VMworld in San Francisco. Ryan talked about VMware’s strategy to transform how customers Build, Run and Manage software on Kubernetes. He talked about the new acquisitions that complement this strategy including Bitnami, Pivotal and Heptio and the announcements around Project Pacific and Tanzu.

At VMUG if you aren’t networking your doing it wrong.

At the break I got the chance to sit down with Cormac Hogan for lunch. We were joined by Jason Pearse and Dean Lewis from VMware. We are all in the Dell Technologies family now so its great to chat about what is going on in VMware and Dell EMC. Dean is active on twitter and has an excellent blog running here.  The conversation at lunch was really all about Project Pacific, Kubernetes, and VCF on VxRail. The future is bright! I also met up with Rob from Asystec as well as a friend I had not met up with my Y2K IT days. Small world, small vCommunity.

@CormacJHogan vSAN and Kubernetes

VMware User Group Dublin

Cormac Hogan continued the trend of the day by talking about Kubernetes in his session. Cormac is a well known speaker and expert on vSAN. He started by covering the What’s New in VSAN 6.7u3. This included new features for Enhanced Performance, Intelligent Operations and Unified Management. The second part of the session was a high-level explanation of using vSAN as persistent storage for Kubernetes. He pointed out that everything in his session can be accessed on Storage Hub which is a great resource.

Cormac continued to give an update on vSphere Cloud Native Storage (CNS). He was sporting a CNS t-shirt therefore he must know his stuff. The content of this session is covered here in a blog. He finished up with a demo of CNS and briefly covered vSAN Native File Services. Cormac asked the audience what protocols they would like to see made available for vNFS next. The audience answers fell roughly inline with expectaions; NFS v3 then SMB followed by S3.

@opowero Kubernetes: Smooth Operators

Kubernetes Operators

Olive Power worked formerly at Heptio and now works at VMware. She presented the last session which was titled Smooth Operators: A rough guide to Kubernetes Operators. Olive blogs a bit about Kubernetes and Operators here. Olives session covered why we use Kubernetes; to reduce complexity, shorten release and test cycles. This is done by breaking up monolithic application architectures into micro-services and requires different/better tooling. The role of Kubernetes is to maintain the desired state. That way it can be self-healing for Containers and Applications running on K8s. Olive explained how Kubernetes is extensible and the role that Operators have on making it easier to deploy applications. She referenced a couple places to learn more about this topic: Awesome Operators and OperatorHub.io.

I was rejected (again) for vExpert, should i just give up?

My rocky road to vExpert

vexpert advice
Rejected this time for vExpert? Don’t give up!

I wanted to tell my vExpert story. It is not a nice story about how I submitted the perfect application and nailed it first try. Its about how I was rejected on my first and my second attempt. Its how i kept that rejection secret and told no one, instead of getting vExpert advice. I really felt i had let myself down. The story has a nice ending for me. Because after getting a lot of help from the vCommunity, i was finally successful on my third try! I figured it was a good time to write this blog on the anniversary of my first (or was it my second?) failed submission.

Attend a local VMUG

What I learned was that being a vExpert meant you should be party of the community. If you aren’t participating in the community then why would you want to be a vExpert in the first place? I had not attended a VMUG before my first application. Seriously, what was i thinking? I had plenty pf excuses for why I had not gone to one. Its too far away. I don’t know anyone going. I have a meeting scheduled that day. Stop. These are terrible excuses. Go to a VMUG. Speak at a VMUG. Help out at a VMUG. Join the community and play a part in it. No matter how small, there is something you can do. The best part of attending the VMUG is the people you meet. This leads on to the next bit of advice.

Look for a Sponsor

I started my vExpert journey in total secret for fear of rejection and public humiliation. I look back on my first pitiful application and realize i would have rejected me too. Although I had friends in VMware I refused to ask them for help at first. When I was trying for the third time I finally decided to ask for help from a sponsor and get a reference. I waited for the reply nervously and was over the moon when i got back a positive response.

Contact a local vExpert Pro.

On my third attempt, I also reached out to one of the vExpert Pro’s for my country (Ireland). I asked them to review my draft vExpert application. They gave me really great vExpert advice and encouragement. Leave this task until after you have put together the final submission. Do not expect the vExpert PRO to write your application for you. The best advice he shared was make sure my focus was on helping the community.

Study the example vExpert Application.

There is a great example vExpert application up on the vExpert portal. Read this application and think about how your own application might look. Obviously do not try and copy this content word for word. Anything you write about will be “checked out” so stick to the facts. The example is a good guide for the level of detail that you should include. I realized that my bullet point list was too short, and i needed to expand on the impact of things i was claiming credit for. The advice i still remember was to focus on the community. You can always be doing more, you just need to find your niche and what way you are naturally good at helping others. Then tell them about it in the application!

Read Blogs. Listen to Podcasts.

What I didn’t realize is vExperts want to help you out. They really want you to succeed. It doesn’t take much searching in the blogsphere to find great tips and advice to get you started from these people. One of my best bits of vExpert advice when you starting out your application is to listen to the VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast. Episode #451 is literally “How to do a great vExpert application” with Corey Romero. This is well worth a listen as it gives specific detail into the voting process and how much weight they assign to different content. Speaking about content…

Create a Blog. Join a Podcast.

I chose to start a blog. Well this blog actually. I wrote my first few blogs as part of the #BlogtoberTEch challenge. This was just the kickstart I needed just before my third application. You might not be a blogger, that’s OK too. You might not be a blogger, that’s OK too. Have you made any podcast recordings yet? You don’t have to start your own Podcast. It is easy to get invited as a guest to a podcast if you try. I have been lucky to have made a few podcast friends and been able to go on as a guest. One of the best ways to do this easily is to volunteer to present a topic you are an expert at. They can only say no!

More options for content.

There are lots of options for content creation. I cannot list them all. You may even think of a new and unique way to create something that the community is lacking. Seek out opportunities to join in the community and help out in other ways. You could always contribute to public forums. Slack channels are another way you could potentially be active. There is of course twitter and social media options. But as the podcast above will tell you, you don’t get a lot of points for retweeting other vExpert advice. Talk about your own opinion based on your experience. If you have content that is not public you can always submit offline content example’s, agendas, etc. If you think you have enough content already, then start that vExpert application.

Apply again and improve it.

My final word of advice should be obvious. If you are rejected do not give up. Take pause and look back objectively on your contribution to the community. Could you have done more? Keep track of your past applications. Start a list of goals and look back monthly. What more did you do since last month? Can you do more next month? Write your application offline, keep a copy of the online application, improve it every time you submit. Best of luck to you and hit me up with a tweet or a comment if this blog helped you at all.

The best HCI appliance just got better. Introducing ACE

VxRail had an ACE up its sleeve: Data.

Every day data is generated on the health, performance and consumption of customers VxRail VSAN clusters. This data can be sent back to Dell Technologies using Secure Remote Support (SRS) and customers benefit from an improved support experience. SRS can be used to send a heartbeat and create automated alerts and to allow remote access when needed. The VxRail team store this telemetry info in a support cloud and built a platform to run analytics against this rich data set. This gives support the ability to see common issues across different customers configurations. They have now enabled a front end interface to this data lake called ACE (Analytical Consulting Engine). ACE allows customers access to their own hci appliance data including CPU, memory, storage and VM details.

ACE for existing customers no extra cost

The first phase of the ACE project comes for free to existing VxRail customers. So if you are already using SRS and sending heartbeat data home then you just need access to login to the VxRail portal. Enabling SRS is really easy using a virtual appliance and your Dell EMC support account logon and Site ID. If you didn’t deploy this initially, I highly recommend installing it now. It takes no time at all.

ACE global dashboard for all sites

What if you have multiple sites with multiple clusters? The ACE dashboard provides a simple interface to view all your sites and clusters easily at a glance. Drill down from location to Cluster to individual nodes and VMs. Customers have loved the VxRail appliance experience. Some of the largest customers have said they only thing they have been missing is a VxRail manager of managers. In future, ACE will be the answer for them.

Cluster health scores made simple

ACE uses the data collected from SRS and continually monitors the health of a customers cluster. ACE will present a health score that is easy to understand at a glance. “VxRail ACE provides a health score for you entire HCI appliance stack. Allowing you to proactively address trouble spots that may affect delivery of services. Customers can efficiently scale their HCI based on the projected growth of IT needs.” You can learn more about ACE capability in this overview here, and also find instructions on how to get connected.

How do you polish a diamond?

The VxRail team have been on an amazing tear for the last few years. They have listened to customer need and are releasing new features on a regular cadence to improve upon an already great solution. The team have stayed clearly focused on making VxRail the only appliance for VMware VSAN the best experience for customers. They did it by offering a solution to offload from infrastructure teams as much work as a any customer will allow them. Tasks like configuration, sizing, deployment as well as day 2 ops including automated full stack patching are handled by the appliance now. This reduces risks and allows those infrastructure teams to focus their energies around projects the business wants and needs. No one ever gets a pat on the back for managing infrastructure!

Where can you see ACE and learn more?

I was lucky to get to meet some of the ACE product team in Vegas at Dell Technologies World this year. I learned about the current technology and the future exciting roadmap for ACE right there at the Meet The Experts zone. As soon as I got back home to the Customer Solution Center I made sure to get my VxRail HCI appliance configured and setup for customers to test drive. As new features are added to the platform we will be able to show off the capability immediately.