Enabling Software Defined Infrastructure through the Convergence of Great Technologies

By Albert Diaz, Intel VP Data Center Group, GM Product Collaboration and Systems Division

When Intel’s Platform Collaboration Solution Division (PCSD) was approached by EMC & VMware® about collaborating on a best of breed Hyper-Converged Infrastructure appliance we realized that PCSD had the ability to integrate assets across Intel’s product groups and make a compelling solution to meet a growing storage market need. The EMC® VSPEX® BLUE hyper-converged infrastructure appliance is more than the convergence of software-defined compute, networking and storage infrastructure; it is the convergence of great brands.   Each company brings its expertise to ensure that the resulting product addresses the many challenges that Enterprise IT is facing as their organizations evolve to meet the real-time workload demands of private/hybrid cloud deployments.  VSPEX BLUE gives IT managers what they need, but without complicating their lives, the product just works!

Hiding all the complexity from the user is…well its complex, but we knew we were up for challenge.  It is all about ensuring that pluggable fixed configuration H/W is all synchronized through a common S/W stack.  We needed to ensure the product had the memory and I/O bandwidth to meet the demands of the enterprise and mid-market, and what better choice than the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600 Product Family.  Putting 8 processors into a dense 2U chassis was made easier by our 20+ years of experience in the server board and system business. The solution includes a modular Intel 10GbE Network connection from our Networking Division (ND), giving users the choice of fiber SFP+ or copper RJ45 connectivity and ensuring that users have the flexibility to integrate as their cable plant requires.  Adding high performance solid state disks with technology from the Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group (NSG) and being able to seamlessly scale, from 100 to 400 Virtual Machines and 250 to 1000 VDTs, with the goal of getting customers up and running in 15 minutes, was super challenging from a H/W integration perspective.

From the initial requirements discussion with EMC and VMware through final production release, we always kept the design goal of SIMPLICITY in mind.   Installation and management needed to be fully orchestrated.   Patching and upgrading needed to be intuitive.  Very importantly, the EMC VSPEX BLUE appliance had to easily grow and contract based on business needs in order to offer mid-market enterprise customers the fastest, lowest-risk path to new application and technology adoption.

I want to be sure to mention that our team enjoyed working on the VSPEX BLUE project.  Storage has reached an important inflection point.  Delivering truly converged solutions that have great brands doing the validation and integration together makes successful deployments of private/hybrid clouds predictable. IT Directors want proven configurations that enable the businesses they support to go from idea to solution without incurring the risk normally associated with new cloud deployments.  Our team is proud to have been part of the creation of a product that is simple to manage and simple to scale, so that IT Directors can invest their valuable resources elsewhere, because I know their lives are complex enough!