With the GA release of VxRail ACE on November 4th comes the first phase of it’s Smart Lifecycle Management. This blog post provides an overview of what this Smart LCM brings to the table for VxRail customers.
// Update 08/10/2020 VxRail ACE has been re-branded to VxRail SaaS Multi-cluster Management via the MyVxRail portal
This first phase of Smart LCM for VxRail provides a number of benefits for VxRail customers, including the ability to:
- View VxRail code base alignment across all VxRail systems in a single view
- Manage the upgrade requirements of multiple VxRail systems from a central location
- Make efficient use of limited bandwidth to remote locations by only downloading the required files for upgrade
The following splash screen is presented when first connecting to https://vxrailace.emc.com
Before getting into some of the detail around VxRail ACE Update Manager, please be aware of what ACE is actually doing here.
- ACE IS NOT replacing VxRail Manager, nor is ACE re-inventing the wheel by providing another upgrade tool.
- ACE IS orchestrating the distribution and package management across the VxRail estate, from a central location. Each upgrade will subsequently be executed as usual via VxRail Manager.
View VxRail code base alignment
When a user logs into the VxRail ACE portal, their initial view is a Summary of all managed vCenter Servers and their associated VxRail systems.
Taking a closer look at the VxRail Manager Versions field in the bottom-left, we get a concise view of the running versions of VxRail Manager across our VxRail systems.
This view, displaying the VxRail code alignment across the VxRail estate, contains discreet notations for those systems that have upgrade packages available, as denoted by the Bell icon.
By selecting the system, in this case the VxRail running 4.7.100 code, the UI provides the required Update hyperlink to further progress this system for an upgrade, as shown below:
Hover over the Cluster Name for an instant overview of the associated vCenter Server and Cluster Names, Current Running code, and available Target code versions, as shown below:
Click the blue Update hyperlink to move the UI to the Updates section.
Manage the upgrade requirements of multiple VxRail systems
On this Updates page, all managed VxRail Clusters are listed by Cluster Name, along with their VxRail Code status of Current and Available.
For those systems with an Available Upgrade Bundle, the File Size of the selected Bundle and Estimated Download Time are displayed.
Taking the VxRail cluster above, named as ‘vxrail-cluster’, and running 4.7.100 code, we can see that an upgrade is Available, unlike the other 2 VxRail Clusters which are showing as Up-to-Date.
The Available Target VxRail versions are aligned with the specific upgrade path rules as standard with VxRail, where it is not always possible to jump from one VxRail code version directly to another.
By selecting the Available drop-down menu, VxRail ACE will display the available Target code versions.
Selecting any one of these Target bundles will update the associated File Size and Estimated Download Time, as well as provide hyperlink to the associated Release Notes as required.
Efficient use of limited bandwidth to remote locations
The great thing about this Smart LCM is that VxRail ACE will only download the required files for the desired upgrade, meaning that the VxRail composite upgrade bundle pushed down to VxRail Manager will only contain the required files for that Target version.
In the example displayed above, the only the VxRail Manager, VxRail Manager VIB and Dell PTAgent need to be downloaded, in a File Size of 3.99GB, with an Estimated Download Time of 1.5hrs.
In this case, not having to download the vCenter Server and ESXi files to the VxRail is a significant saving in bandwidth usage. Consider this in terms of network resource savings across multiple VxRail systems in multiple locations, including possible remote locations with limited bandwidth.
Push Only, to stage for VxRail Manager
By clicking the blue ACTIONS drop-down in the top-right of the, and selecting Download Bundle, the user is taking the first step to pushing the Target upgrade bundle to the VxRail.
Please be aware that, at this time, for this release, VxRail ACE does not perform any upgrade on any cluster. To apply updates, once they have been pushed down to the VxRail Manager, use the VxRail Plugin in vCenter.
Right now, VxRail ACE Update Manager is merely orchestrating the distribution and package management across the VxRail estate, from a central location.
To monitor the progress of Running, Pending or Successful Jobs, or view Jobs with Errors or Warnings, go to the Jobs tab on the Updates page.
To view a demo of VxRail ACE Update Manager, click here.
You can find other VxRail ACE blog posts and resources in the VxRail ACE section of this site.
Hope that helps, Steve.