Dell EMC VMAX In The Cloud

It might seem strange to some that our customers ask us to support their enterprise storage, including Dell EMC VMAX. After all, many clouds are built on commodity hardware, and it seems unusual to build a cloud with a massive, mission-critical storage back-end.

In many cases, however, there’s a reasonable amount of sense in adding a specialized storage device for a specific workload in your on-premise private cloud — not just because you need to manage costs and leverage existing infrastructure.

Dell EMC’s Symmetrix (known today as VMAX) has been the trusted Tier 1 storage workhorse for over two decades, and probably impacts your everyday life as the back-end for a mission-critical application where downtime is not an option (think banking or healthcare). VMAX’s 6 9’s SLA helps to ensure that your data is always available.

As more and more users move to OpenStack private clouds, they don’t want to leave behind any workloads and want everything to move into the cloud, including their mission-critical workloads. This is why Rackspace and Dell EMC are working closely together to ensure that VMAX is supported in our private cloud as a service solution.

Dell VMAX1


Using the standard reference architecture for Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud, Dell EMC’s VMAX becomes a drop-in solution for Cinder, nova-boot and Glance (using eNAS).  The Dell EMC VMAX is accessed via a fully redundant ethernet fabric, with multiple 10GbE links. iSCSI is used for cinder and nova-boot, and NFS for Glance.

We’re also able to configure and manage array-specific features, such as Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST). If your VMAX array is configured with different types of disks, such as Flash and NL-SAS, data is automatically moved between those tiers depending on user access patterns. The benefit here is that rarely accessed data can be moved to more cost-effective high-capacity disks, rather than consume more costly flash storage.

By default, we deploy all VMAX’s with data-at-rest encryption, which meets numerous compliance requirements an\d is enabled to protect against data loss from the physical removal of disks from a data center.

Finally, if you have very specific performance requirements, we can work hand-in-hand with Dell EMC to engineer a VMAX solution to meet your high IO and low latency solutions by utilizing VMAX3 All Flash 250F/450F solutions.

Rackspace has been awarded Dell EMC’s Global Alliances Partner Award three years running, which is a testament to the strength of our technology partnership and the cooperation between our two organizations to create the right solutions for our customers. Our aim is to ensure you can extract the highest level of business benefits from your Dell EMC storage, including:

  • Reducing your TCO by leveraging existing hardware
  • Maximizing your uptime and minimizing operational challenges
  • Ensuring higher levels of customer satisfaction from increased data availability

Our support for Dell EMC VMAX and many other kinds of storage, including NetApp FAS, Ceph and OpenStack Swift helps ensure you have an optimized private cloud that fits your needs for years to come.

Rackspace has successfully scaled OpenStack to thousands of nodes and operates private clouds for some of the world’s largest companies. To learn more and ask questions about whether private cloud as a service might be a good fit for your organization, take advantage of a free strategy session with a private cloud expert — no strings attached. SIGN UP NOW.

Philip Williams is responsible for the integration of enterprise hardware and open source software defined storage with Rackspace's Openstack Private Cloud products. He joined Rackspace in 2011 after stints at Yahoo! and EMC in storage-related roles. He has designed solutions and infrastructure to support many different industry sectors including Rackspace’s multi-tenant environments, massive scale internet properties and financial institutions. Philip holds a BSc (hons) degree in Computing Science from UMIST, Manchester, England, and now lives with his wife in Austin, Texas.



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