The Dell PowerEdge FX2 is a 2U rackmount blade chassis with a common infrastructure allowing servers and storage to share power, cooling, network switching, and chassis management. When it was announced last fall, there were two options: the FC630 two-socket, half-width Xeon blade, and the FM120x4, an Intel Atom–based microserver option. Dell quietly started shipping two additional modules this week. The FC430 is a two-socket, quarter-width Xeon blade, allowing up to eight servers in the FX2, for a total of 224 cores. The FD332 is a direct-attached disk module that contains up to two RAID controllers and sixteen 2.5-inch drives, assignable to the compute nodes inside the FX2.
On the January 2, 2014, the Virtualization Security Podcast was joined on the spur of the moment by @Josh_Atwell, who works for VCE, to discuss the security of converged infrastructures. This was of particular interest to me due to my current research on the security of a VCE Vblock. The research got me thinking about converged infrastructures in general. Before the podcast, I posed two questions on Twitter:
- Are converged infrastructures more secure than traditional implementations?
- Can converged infrastructures be more secure than traditional implementations?
Cisco announced today their intent to acquire Whippany, NJ based WHIPTAIL, a manufacturer of Solid-State Disk (SSD) storage. The strategy for Cisco is to provide a “converged infrastructure including compute, network and high performance solid state that will help address our customers’ requirements for next-generation computing environments,” said Paul Perez, vice president and general manager, Cisco Computing Systems Product Group. Continue reading News: Cisco Intends to Acquire SSD Pioneer WHIPTAIL
Nutanix, one of the fastest growing IT infrastructure startups around, shows no signs of slowing down with their release of Nutanix OS 3.5. For those not familiar with Nutanix, they offer a truly converged virtualized infrastructure. This generally consists of four nodes in two rack units of space, where each node has CPU, RAM, traditional fixed disk, SSD, and Fusion-IO flash built in. Their secret sauce is really NDFS, the Nutanix Distributed File System, built by the same folks that created Google’s File System, as well as a unified, hypervisor-agnostic management interface. Continue reading Nutanix OS 3.5: Deduplication, New GUI, SRM, Hyper-V Support
Right now is a particularly interesting time in the world of IT. Historically, IT has swung back & forth between centralization and decentralization, closed and open, tightly controlled and loosely controlled. Lately, though, a third option has cropped up: centralized control with decentralized workloads. In my opinion it’s a function of speed, implemented through bandwidth and processing capacity. We now have enough bandwidth between our devices to start treating the device in the next rack column like a slightly-less-local version of ourselves. We also have enough bandwidth that we’ve outstripped our need for separate storage and data networks, and can converge them into a single wire, running a single set of protocols (most notably TCP and IP). On the processing side, each node is basically a datacenter unto itself. 16, 32, 64 cores per server, terabytes of RAM. The advent of SSD and PCIe flash rounds out the package, lessening the need for large monolithic collections of spindles (aka “traditional storage arrays”). The problem then becomes one of control. How do we take advantage of the performance and cost that local processing brings, but maintain all the control, redundancy, and management benefits we had with a monolithic solution, while keeping the complexity under control? And while we usually talk about doing this at great scale, can we do this on a small scale, too?
Converged infrastructure comes in many forms. Some vendors put a bunch of discrete hardware together on a pallet and call it “converged.” Others think that their use of iSCSI or FCoE means they’ve got converged storage. Yet the real holy trinity of convergence is when a vendor converges compute and storage resources on three fronts: acquisition, implementation, and ongoing management. This is where Nutanix operates. Continue reading A Look at the Nutanix NX-3000 Virtual Computing Platform