Dell EMC World 2017: VxRack FLEX Updates!

We’re seeing a ton of growth and demand around VxRack FLEX. 

As a reminder – VxRack FLEX can be described in a single sentence: “If you want an insanely scalable and flexible HCI Rack-Scale system, with hypervisor of choice or bare metal… one that can start small and scale out – VxRack FLEX is for you.”

The “keyword” with VxRack FLEX is in the name: FLEXIBILITY.   Broad configurability, broad workload choice.  With an underpinning of ScaleIO – it’s performance and scaling is like nothing else out there.  And, like all VxRack Rack-Scale systems – it includes the physical network and the SDN as part of the system domain.

We’re working furiously on expanding the automation and management and orchestration domain – with Project Symphony building on top of iDRAC, PowerTools for full HCI management.   

VxRack FLEX is a CRITICAL strategic platform for Dell EMC.  Why?   Let me explain with a paragraph and a picture.

First – a picture!


This picture illustrates two very, very different ARCHITECTURAL approaches.   I use the words “vertical” and “horizontal” to group them.  

  • In the case of a “vertical” stack – you start with a single stack, and ALL your infrastructure choices then flow from that.   Those choices are fixed, but make sense – for that particular stack.   Want an example?  It’s not a coincidence on how Azure Stack scales right now (units of 4) – because it’s base of scaling is linked to the use of Storage Spaces Direct.   Want another example?  Why does VxRack SDDC and VMware Cloud Foundation have a particular switch fabric, or scale in the way it scales?  Because we know that each and every host will be in a vSphere ESXi cluster – and that those clusters have sweet spots.     This very tight coupling up and down the stack makes this approach result in the SIMPLEST stacks to deploy, to operationalize, and to lifecyle.   The flip side is that they are “rigid” in a sense, and also of course – they are for that stack only.
  • In the case of a “horizontal” stack – you are building an infrastructure platform that supports a multitude of stacks and use cases.   By DEFINITION that means it can never be as automated, as a simple as the “vertical” stacks – it means that their programmability becomes really important.   The flip side is that they are more “flexible”. 

Second – a paragraph.

“Composability” is another word for what we are doing today with VxRack FLEX – programmatic infrastructure with a clear, consistent API surface, and that can scale compute, network, storage in very independent ways.   Frankly, I think the way that we’re doing it is better than HPE – our focus is NOT on very proprietary hardware and binding the software management layer tightly, but rather making it a loose coupling of open micro services.   Our ingredients will always be based on our massive supply chain and PowerEdge innovation engine.  Why?   Because frankly otherwise you never get the scale economics that customers demand.  Time (and customers and the market!) will tell.

There’s a lot going on in VxRack FLEX land…


But the most important thing for me are customers.   I love getting pictures from customers that are choosing the wise path of buying what they shouldn’t build themselves 🙂

See below!

customer example 1

customer example 2

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being our customers!   

What about YOU – do you think you’re biased towards “vertical stacks” or “horizontal stacks” – or a blend of both?   What do you think the market is going to prefer over time?   Share your opinion and experiences – go ahead and comment!