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Computers_global_internet_network_data_processing_s_198188897_720x396_72_RGB.jpgI spent eight really great years working with .NET developers at the Microsoft Technology Center in Mountain View, CA.  There was one drum that I beat regularly during those design meetings and lab testing engagements - "why don't you instrument your code?"  Having good telemetry really makes it so much easier to baseline your environment and do trouble shooting. I would always point out the rich sets of application and hardware specific performance counters that Microsoft and other vendors would implemented with every piece of equipment, OS version, and application that they shipped.  What I found out was that my customers weren't doing anything with all the rich sources of telemetry they already had available - until the data center was smoking rubble.  Then a bunch of folks would scramble around trying to do forensics on what logs were still available.  The real problem was log data collection and processing, not adding more sources of telemetry.

 

splunk decn.pngWhatever you call it - digital exhaust, log files, time-series, big data.- machine data is one of the most underused and undervalued assets of any organization. But some of the most important insights that you can gain—across IT and the business—are hidden in this data: where things went wrong, how to optimize the customer experience, the fingerprints of fraud.


All of these insights can be found in the machine data that’s generated by the normal operations of your organization.  The team at Splunk develop software that make this largely untapped wealth of machine data accessible, usable and valuable to everyone interested in enabling digital transformation.


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VCE Vblock 540 For Splunk Enterprise


Dell EMC and Splunk recently published a solution guide that describes a VCE Vblock® 540 converged infrastructure solution that shows how the flexible scaling options of converged platforms and tight integration with Splunk Enterprise for analyzing large quantities of machine data.  The engineers at Splunk put a lot of effort into designing a data storage system that can utilize different classes of storage.  This helps utilize the highest performance (and cost) storage for recent data that is more highly utilized and less expensive (lower perfomance) storage for older "cold" data.  This architecture pairs beautifully with the rich portfolio of converged platforms and storage options available from Dell EMC.  In this solution we used an XtremIO all flash product for the recent hot/warm data and the massive scale and attractive $/TB of Isilon for cold data.


The solution guide shows how VCE™ converged infrastructure offers scalable solutions that meet and exceed the performance and capacity requirements for a high-performance Splunk deployment. Our sales teams can help you configure a solution according to the sizing guidance provided by Splunk and following the documented best practices for Splunk Enterprise, XtremIO, Isilon, and VMware.

 

Dell EMC converged solutions enable customers to simplify purchasing and deployment, reduce their hardware management overhead, and accelerate their time to value for all your enterprise workloads. VCE offers a wide portfolio of options to match the performance and pricing needs of large and small Splunk Enterprise deployments. If you are interested in mixed workload consolidation, you might also consider using VCE Vblock systems for multiple application workloads, including Splunk.

 

The primary benefits of running Splunk Enterprise on VCE converged infrastructure

are:

  • Splunk-validated configurations
    • Jointly validated by Dell EMC and Splunk
  • Optimal storage tier alignment for Splunk Enterprise
    • Flexible sizing options to achieve the desired retention and performance profile for indexing and searching data in Splunk Enterprise
  • Cost-effective and flexible scale-out
    • Scale-out compute and storage management in a single converged platform package
  • Powerful data services
    • Out-of-the-box secure data encryption and data reduction services, along with integrated copy data management for efficient backup and restore capabilities

 

Next Steps


Machine-generated data is one of the fastest growing and complex areas of big data. It's also one of the most valuable, containing a definitive record of all user transactions, customer behavior, machine behavior, security threats, fraudulent activity and more. Splunk paired with the Vblock 540 turns machine data into valuable Operational Intelligence no matter what business you're in.  Operational Intelligence gives you a real-time understanding of what’s happening across your IT systems and technology infrastructure so you can make informed decisions.


the Vblock System 540 combined with the VCE Technology Extension for EMC Isilon storage is an excellent scale-out solution for a high performance Splunk Enterprise deployment. In this solution guide we show why the Vblock 540 provides predictable performance, low latency, flexibility, and room for future growth for mission-critical Splunk Enterprise big data applications.

 

You can download a copy of the solution guide discussed here by using the hyperlink below:

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VCE Vblock 540 Infrastructure For Splunk Enterprise Solution Guide

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

Look for me on Twitter  @GotDisk

 

Please share this article with your social networks

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Introduction

In the spring I wrote an article for this blog summarizing the results of a project that demonstrated the use of a Vblock® 540 system with All-Flash XtremIO storage for running mixed application workloads (Oracle, SAP and Microsoft SQL Server).   The test workload included a near real life mixture of transaction processing and decision support across several of the worlds most demanding enterprise applications running on a single converged infrastructure platform.  In order to further show the power and scale of the Dell EMC VCE portfolio, the same Global Solutions Engineering team recently completed another mixed application workload project this time using a Vblock® 740 system.  The Vblock® System 740 offers massive consolidation capability with up to 4 PB of raw storage capacity, Cisco UCS blade servers, and VMware vSphere virtualization. In this mixed application and workload demonstration, the engineering team highlighted the capabilities of a Vblock 740 configured with a VMAX3 All-Flash 450FX storage array.


As Todd Pavone, COO, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC wrote in a recent blog post titled: Realizing the Full Potential of Your Converged and Hyper-Converged Solutions and Platforms,

"having a collaborative converged infrastructure team that understands the whole stack, not just the silos of compute, network and storage, provides an organization with the tool sets to successfully support the business".


The new  VCE Solution for Enterprise Mixed Workload on Vblock System 740 solutions guide provide a holistic view of what it takes for an IT team to configure and operate a converged infrastructure platform that will meet the exacting demands of enterprise environments.  The guide can be used to share knowledge and start dialog with the diverse talent spread across your organization to start building the critical multi-functional team that it takes to make IT more cost effective and responsive to the needs of the business.

 

The Value of Converged Platforms

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Forester Research recently released a report that found the move to cloud computing is being driven by many factors including:

 

  • Replacing aging infrastructure that has reliability issues and requires very high costs and efforts to keep it running.
  • Simplifying overall infrastructure complexity and adopting greater virtualization.
  • Supporting businesses’ needs to reduce time-to-market and increase innovation.
  • Deploying additional capacity in near real time to support business growth, launch new services/products, and/or streamline expansion into new geographies.

 

Nowhere is this more evident than in large enterprises that have adopted multiple best-of-breed application stacks like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.  These major platforms have typically  all been allocated isolated/dedicated infrastructure silos including separate landscapes for production and multiple non-production instances.  This approach, while considered "best practices" 5 years ago,  is chaos to manage and cost prohibitive to modernize without a significant change in strategy.  Many of these "Tier 1" applications are not good candidates for moving to external contract cloud providers due to application complexity and multiple integration points with other systems. The better alternative is to consolidate mixed applications to fewer and more standardized platforms using easy to procure and easy to manage converged infrastructure.  The VCE Solution for Enterprise Mixed Workload on Vblock System 740 solution guide shows enterprise architects and decision makers how to be successful consolidating Oracle, SAP and Microsoft SQL Server mixed application workload types on a single  Vblock 740. Reviewing this guide with your team can be an effective starting point for understanding and planning your move from silos to converged platforms.

 

Highlights from the Solutions Guide

Generating a large enough simulated workload to exhaust the compute, networking and/or storage throughput of a Vblock 740 with VMAX All-flash storage is a big task so we didn't even set that as a goal.  Our mission was to generate enough different types of application workloads to show conclusively that the platform is not negatively impacted by random vs sequential access patterns or I/O request block size.  The following figure shows the total combined test results of the mixed workload simulated load on the Vblock 740 as described in the solution guide (see link below for download).

740 mixed workloads results.PNG.pngLatency for both reads and writes across a wide range of block sizes is significantly below all the best practices guidleines prescribed by the software vendors of the enterprise application we used for the test.  So no hero numbers in this guide but there is lots of great guidance and results showing how to setup, configure and run a consolidation environment on a Vblock.  Please have a read through the guide and start sharing with others in your organization that want to join the movement to converged infrastructure adoption - build that team.

 

Download the solution guide in PDF format:

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Thanks for reading,

Phil Hummel, EMCDSA

Look me up on Twitter @GotDisk

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Customers are the cornerstone of Dell EMC’s Converged Platforms and Solutions Division’s success. By focusing on our customers’ needs, we have not only created a new IT infrastructure segment, but are also its undisputed leader as the number one vendor in Integrated Systems in 1Q16, according to IDC.

 

Part of delivering the best possible CPSD customer experience is helping customers recognize the value gained from their CPSD investment. Keeping that in mind, we have pulled together a set of assets that will help our customers assess business value from their CI investment and get them started on a journey that will help them fully optimize the benefits of having an agile, flexible and modern data center. 

 

Beginning with the Case for CI: A recent study from Forrester Consulting found that IT organizations that have adopted converged infrastructure developed by the Converged Platforms and Solutions Division achieved a 20 percent reduction in actual hardware costs alongside a 30 percent increase in IT operational efficiency. Just as critically important, the report finds that business productivity increased 5 percent to 10 percent over a three-year period. 

 

This study provides a practical way to evaluate and assess if the converged infrastructure model is right for you and find out if there are other options available.

Read More

 

Adapting to a Converged Environment

Helping you through the transition to the new CI environment, Pat Grazioli’s blog ‘10 Tips & Tricks to Maximize the Value from Your VCE Blocks and Racks’ will help.  Drawing upon first-hand experience with hundreds of leading companies of all sizes in dozens of industry segments, this concise list of best practices will ensure you get the most value out of your VCE Vblock, VxBlock, and VxRack Systems deployments.

Read Part 1 Read Part 2

 

But what about DevOps? Putting the spotlight on the importance of DevOps in the era of hyper-convergence, I explore why it is critical for IT operations to respond to application development requirements quickly and the need for transformation not just in IT infrastructure but also in IT culture.

Read More

 

Building a CI Team

IT organizations are now starting to understand the value of having a converged infrastructure team. As many customers use converged and hyper-converged platforms and solutions from the CPSD to scale and grow their data center, having a collaborative converged infrastructure team that understands the whole stack, not just the siloes of compute, network and storage, provides an organization with the toolsets to successfully support the business. You can find out how to break down the siloed IT culture in this blog: Enabling Collaborative IT with Converged Infrastructure.

Read More

 

Shelia Hartness, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, describes how her organization aligned its IT team to get the best out of its converged infrastructure in this article from the Data Center Journal, Becoming a Converged Engineer. Shelia describes how their team now focuses on higher value activities that support the business. 

Read More

 

You can also watch this fantastic video of Shelia and Stu Miniman from Wikibon discussing the team’s transformation.  

Watch the video

 

 

Join the Discussion – Enabling a Collaborative CI Team (October 3 – 17)

Don’t miss the expanded discussion on Dell EMC’s Community Network in our Ask the Experts conversation centered around how IT teams are now building their converged infrastructure teams and reaping the benefits of a more cohesive, responsive and streamlined operation that is an enabler for the business.

 

The event will kick-off with a video chat between Stu Miniman from theCUBE and Shelia Hartness of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center on how Wake Forest deployed converged infrastructure and adopted an IT culture that optimizes the benefits of CI.

 

Our team of experts includes:

  • Shelia Hartness, Lead Software Systems Engineer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Todd Pavone, COO, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC
  • Nigel Moulton, CTO EMEA, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC 
  • Pat Grazioli, Senior Director, Professional Services, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division, Dell EMC 
  • Brett Foy, General Manager, Data Center & Mobility Solutions, Ahead

Click here to register for the event

 

And coming soon, Anshul Pande, CTO ProMedica Health System, shares how his IT team has scaled to meet the needs of a growing business using the converged model.

 

Look out for more customer stories and other great assets that accelerate your journey to getting best out of your converged and hyper-converged solutions and platforms.