Vblock Review

Designed to make IT life simpler (infrastructure framework) and more cost effective (an appliance) for an organization.


Valuable Features:

Vblock™ – 3 of the World Technology Leaders Come together (something rarely seen) 

To start out I am NOT an employee for VCE/EMC/Cisco. This is based off of my own opinions and experiences. Now let’s get started 

The future of technology seems to be about effectively using datacenter resources and underutilized hardware. I believe that you need to converge infrastructure components to effectively use a datacenter. To me, a Vblock™ is basically a Technology Appliance that allows organizations to raise the bar for infrastructure utilization.

In order to maximize you’re spending (OPEX - operating expense) as well as your infrastructure utilization, you will have to have convergence and Vblock™ does this effectively. 

I also believe that Vblock™ will allow you to build and get to a cloud model in a much faster well-organized way.What I believe and have seen with the Vblock™ is that it allows an organization to move more effectively toward a Private Cloud model as well as maintain a high-level of performance to their customers. The Vblock™ alone will NOT get you to a “cloud model” but it’s a major step in the right direction. Vblock™ allows you to have a converged infrastructure that allows you to pool storage, computing and networking to optimize datacenter infrastructure (lower TCO - total cost of ownership). Seemingly, you get better performance in a black box at a lower cost. 

In my opinion Vblock™ technology allows you to virtualize and consolidate your systems while continuing to provide a high-level of performance that has been tested prior to running in your datacenter environment (validation of an outcome). Vblock™ (Standard components and devices based on my experiences): 

  • Cisco UCS blade chassis 5108s. • Cisco B230s and B200s UCS Blade Models
  • VMax and VNX 7500 Storage Models (EMC storage devices). 
  • Cisco networking switches (6140s & 55xx) and FCOE inside UCS for connectivity (Standard Vblock™) 
  • EMC RecoverPoint™ SAN replication (Block Base) with native splitters on the storage devices

Vblock™ allows an organization to standardize on what I call a ‘complete infrastructure framework/platform’ with many different components (Compute/Network/Storage). This can simplify an organization’s support as well as help companies move away from a fragmented infrastructure. This convergence (pooling) allows you to share resources to infrastructure components at the same time. 

Vblock™ allows for higher density level in a datacenter which can reduce your physical footprint. I have seen where Vblock™ technology allows cost savings by reduction in hardware maintenance cost (smaller carbon footprint) as well as consolidation on the virtual side. 

UCS manager allows companies to profile their systems for specific settings based on what application may run and where it will run (server profiles) for fast deployments and provisioning. This builds in versatility when you have hardware failures. 

Finally, Vblock™ model has allowed for ease of management from my experiences.

In addition, Vblock™ does enable disaster recovery plans/exercises and effective off-site recoverability to be more structured (i.e. simpler to perform) from my experience. That’s not only the Vblock™ but a major component of disaster recovery and business continuity. I have also experienced EMC RecoverPoint™ deployed with Vblock™ technology to perform state-full SAN replication on the backend with EMC storage to do block replication. This type of replication allows for a smaller RPO (recover point objective). I have also experienced EMC Data Domain® and Avamar® Grids deployed for effective virtual machine and database backup and restore capability. The replication from Vblock™ to Vblock™ allows us to focus on true “application” DRs vs. infrastructure DR opportunities. 

My Opinion: The Vblock™ is designed, to make IT life simpler (infrastructure framework) and more cost effective (an appliance) for an organization.

Room for Improvement:

I think there needs to be more tools to monitor and manage the Vblock™ as a whole, instead of pieces.

Scalability Issues:

Vblock™ has full scalability. It is flexible from storage to networking components to Cisco UCS blades & chassis (opinion - which in this day and age is one of the leaders in the industry for server hardware) and supports many different configurations.

Other Advice:

The views and opinions expressed above are the author's opinions and not do not necessarily reflect his employer’s policies or positions and the author does not intend to so represent his employer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
3 Comments
Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employeesVendor

Great article! Another great benefit of the Vblocks is that it's pre-engineered and tested prior to deployement. The code for all the devices within the Vblock is tested very carefully to mitigate any issues with different versions of code.

The answer to needing more tools to monitor and manage the Vblock as a whole is answered on 4/15 with a new application called VCE Vision Intellegent Operations.

10 April 13
Ronald BarefieldReal User

Thanks vcloudso5856. I have seen some of hte Vision stuff and it seems good but if you have vCOPs it will be a big boost! Standalone, I am not sure how well this will be for management... time will tell.

11 April 13
Head of Engineering at CloudBearingsConsultant

Am not a user of Vblock technology but sounds like we have a similar offering from Oracle i.e. Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud which Oracle claims world’s Best Foundation for Applications:-)

Exalogic is a private cloud have options to create hundreds of server on the fly and lot of options there. Also it hardware and software engineered together to provide extreme performance, reliability and scalability for Oracle, Java and other applications, while delivering lower TCO, reduced risk, higher user productivity and one-stop support.

21 June 13
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