On Day 3 of Dell World, Michael Dell MADE IT RAIN. Literally. However, the weather outside had no reflection on the mood inside the Austin Convention Center. The theme of the final day was focused on innovation for the future of IT. Being future ready means solving new types of problems around the Internet of Things, Analytics, Cloud Native Apps, and the different modern architectures that enables these modern application stacks.
The Dell FX2 line was recently released and takes a unique step towards the flexibility and density that highly efficient Platform 2 environments can leverage, as well as being highly configurable and dense to tackle the requirements of a Platform 3 application design accordingly.
The first time I put my eyes on the FX2, my mind started spinning with curiosities. I was pretty impressed with the actual form factors available to me. In 2U, you can deploy 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 -7 – and 8 servers in some crazy number of different scenarios. Pretty damn cool if you ask me – and still cool even if you don’t ask me. Servers come in 1U full width, 1U half width, and 1U quarter width configurations with a few varying design options – and there’s also a 1U half width storage node that can be dedicated to a single server, or bifurcated between two servers with up to 16 disks total (8 each in the bifurcated scenario). * I love saying bifurcated, it’s so fun! reminds me of the 16GB FC cards on a VMAX3, bringing this all back home. *
On October 12, 2015 Dell announced its intentions to acquire EMC. in the prior week (or so) both Duncan Epping and Rawlinson Rivera posted blogs around the FX2 architecture from a VMware perspective. Quite serendipitous if you ask me. So convenient, I couldn’t not share it!
Here’s Duncan Epping’s post on the value of the Dell FX2 platform on VSAN. Likewise, here’s Rawlinson Rivera’s post on the VSAN ready nodes from the Dell FX2 Family. My personal preferred design would be (4) FD430 + (2) FD332 in a 2U chassis for VSAN, but the awesome part is there choices are relatively limitless and there’s no right answer!
Circling back to the conversation around being future ready and designing for modern application stacks, there are numerous use cases where an entire FX2 stack of 9 chassis in a single management domain (18U) and / or a single 2U chassis with anywhere from 1-8 servers in various configurations (compute heavy, storage heavy, memory heavy, etc) can be used to deliver modern application stacks. Designing for OpenStack, VMware, Cloud Foundry, Photon, and Docker is easy and flexible with the modular architecture. Here’s an article around a reference design for deploying Hadoop on Dell FX2, for example.
The Dell team was nice enough to put a fantastic webpage together that allows you to browse all of their enterprise products more thoroughly through their ESG Virtual Rack site. You can also directly browse the modular converged server platforms via the Dell Server Virtual Rack.
I dropped this introductory video in at the bottom so that your ADD didn’t kick in and keep you from reading the rest of the blog post. 🙂 A lot of fun innovation delivered in a very easily consumable form factor. Coming soon to a lab near me, I hope!
And, if you have a spare 40 minutes, here’s a presentation on Tech Field Day as well: