VxRail ACE – A Technical Overview

As of June 3rd 2019 VxRail ACE (Analytical Consulting Engine) is in Early Access availability for VxRail customers. This post should give you a better idea of what ACE is and how it works.

// Update 08/10/2020 VxRail ACE has been re-branded to VxRail SaaS Multi-cluster Management via the MyVxRail portal

First things first, for those that just want to jump right into using ACE. The following criteria must be met:

  • VxRail must be running VxRail v4.5.218 or later
  • Customer must be using ESRS
    • No ESRS = No ACE (for example: Dark/Secure Sites)

Briefly, what is ACE?

VxRail ACE is the latest addition to the VxRail HCI System Software, providing a new capability to dynamically gather a dramatically richer set of data from VxRail clusters, covering the entire VxRail HCI stack, translating that data into a centralized data collection and analytics platform to help customers make better decisions.

Using ACE requires no additional effort, hardware, software, or services on the customer end. All that the customer needs to do is browse to ACE cloud portal, enter their Service 360 details, and they’re in!

ACE provides a single pane of glass view of all VxRail systems. So instead of customers having to go to every vCenter Server, or every VxRail Manager individually to view overall system health and capacity details, ACE provides a single consolidated view of their entire VxRail estate.

How does ACE work?

ACE uses a Dynamic Data Collector on the VxRail cluster which periodically sends the information, using the customers secure ESRS connection as the conduit, back to the DellEMC Support Cloud, where it is processed and analyzed on a secure data lake platform (on PCF).

The customer can access a single pane of glass view of their VxRail system(s) via the https://myvxrail.dell.com cloud portal. In terms of navigation, as well as look and feel, the ACE portal provides a very similar user experience to what VMware vSphere Admins would be accustomed to.

Above is an example of the Global Map view available on the VxRail ACE portal, displaying the overall health status of all VxRail systems.

The cloud development model supporting the ACE portal allows for rapid & real-time enhancements asynchronous from VxRail Software releases.

How does the Smart Eventing and Learning work?

All events tracked, analyzed and actioned by ACE are sourced using adapters for iDRAC, vCenter, ESXi, and of course VxRail itself. For those that wish to create new alerts with associated thresholds etc, these must be defined at source e.g. vCenter.

While in the Early Access phase, ACE will not allow the user to action any remediation tasks (see above graphic with Actions greyed out), but will provide KB advisories for known issues.

The Machine Learning capability of ACE will over time learn more about the operating profile of the customer, based on the events/alerts generated, when they occur, and any patterns associated with their re-occurrence. All events, and their associated severity, are calculated as part of the overall VxRail Health Score, which presents/lists issues based on their impact on the system.

Storage usage and capacity trend analysis is also presented, providing the customer with details on their past and current storage usage, as well as future storage capacity (based on past 180 days usage).

ACE also tracks Anomalies in the system performance, for example month-end processing, etc, and will learn over time that these performance spikes etc are maybe to be expected, thereby normalising the pattern, and will generate less alerts specific to those events.

What about CloudIQ, vROps and other tools?

The focus of ACE is on the entire VxRail HCI stack, where ACE has it’s own roadmap in terms of Smart Eventing/Logging, Proactive Health Checks, Self-Healing, and Upgrade Improvements.

Integration to other products such as DellEMC CloudIQ, VMware vROps and more is planned. Today, a customer can manually export their ACE information (in .csv, .xls format) to be imported into other tools as required.

VxRail ACE is not intended to replace any existing management and monitoring systems that customers have in place today.

While ACE uses the ESRS connection, ACE operates independently of the real-time reactive ESRS updates. ACE will send updates based on the frequency as defined in the VxRail Telemetry Settings, and as such will lag real-time events. The example below is from VxRail Manager Plugin for vCenter.

Does ACE also cover on-VxRail solutions such as VVD, VCF, PCF?

VxRail ACE can be used on ALL VxRail systems, regardless of what’s running on top of the VxRail, but ACE does not integrate with those solutions up the stack. The focus of ACE is on the VxRail HCI stack only. For integration into the vRealize stack, customers should be looking at vRealize Operations Manager (vROps).

Can I see a Demo?

A video demo of ACE is available on the DellEMC Edutube (or YouTube) so you can get a far greater feel for the look, feel and functionality of VxRail ACE.

Link to DellEMC - VxRail ACE Overview on EduTube

Alternatively, if you need a deeper dive, please contact your local DellEMC rep to arrange a live session with one of the team.

Try an Interactive Demo of VxRail ACE for yourself

Tell Us What You Think

The VxRail ACE cloud portal provides customers with a Submit Feedback function, as shown below so please do let us know what you think: Good, Bad or Otherwise.

All feedback helps while we are running in Early Access so don’t be shy, help us to help you to help yourself!

Ready to go?

  • Is your VxRail running VxRail v4.5.218 or later?
  • Are you using ESRS?

Answer Yes to both of those questions, and there’s really no excuse not to go now, right now, yep this moment in time, to https://myvxrail.dell.com and login with your Service 360 details ….

Hope that helps, Steve

Related: “Fix This First” – What you VxRail Health Score is really telling you

Related: Using VxRail ACE to Identify Performance Anomalies

Other Resources

VxRail is Holding an ACE – a Blog by Gil Shneorson

VxRail ACE FAQ – Support.emc.com

Mike Orth – Blog

3 thoughts on “VxRail ACE – A Technical Overview

  1. Pingback: “Fix This First” – What your VxRail ACE Health Score is really telling you – Scamallach

  2. Pingback: Using VxRail ACE to identify Performance Anomalies – Scamallach

  3. Pingback: VxRAIL ACEとは? – storagenthusiasm

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