Destination Dell EMC Truck – Now with VxRail!

If you aren’t familiar with the Destination Dell EMC truck, it’s a mobile truck that is loaded with Dell EMC gear.  The truck provides a great opportunity to see Del EMC products in person and get some hands-on time.  It was at Dell Technologies World this year in the back corner if you happened to see it.  Information on the truck can be found here – https://www.destinationdellemc.com/.

There was one thing missing from the truck…VxRail!  Last week I met up with Ivan (@IvanAtDell) while the truck was waiting for the event in Charlotte, NC.  Ivan was able to obtain 5 nodes (3xE560 and 2xV570) to load into the truck.  We were lucky that Mike Casavant (@mcasavant74), a local SE Manager in Charlotte, allowed us to ship the nodes to the Charlotte, NC office ahead of time.

The first thing that Ivan and I did was get the nodes from the office, load them into our cars (wish we had pictures of that) and then head to the location of the truck.  When we arrived this is what we saw:

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As you can see, it’s a pretty impressive setup.  It’s a semi truck trailer that extends out on both sides as well as they can add a deck on the top.  The first thing we did after arrival was find the proper rack and then load the systems into the truck.  After we took an inventory of the rack, we decided we would rack the 3xE560 nodes on top of the 2xP570 nodes.

 

Since this was a fresh environment, the first step was the rack the nodes, then we had to basically create a brand new data center.  The first step in that was to create a Windows Server to act as a DNS server for the install to complete.  Thankfully in the rack there was a PowerEdge R640 node we could use for that purpose.

The picture on the left shows the 5 VxRail nodes racked in the cabinet and the picture on the right shows our TOR switches (all 25Gbps) and the PowerEdge R640 that was our DNS Server (the red Cat6 cable is the connectivity for that node).

After we configured the TOR switch and made sure we had all the required DNS Entries, we moved forward to installing the VxRail.  If you’ve never installed a VxRail, seeing this screen is always a good thing:

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After that, we were able to start with the configuration of the VxRail on the truck.

One thing I wanted to highlight  here is first, we discovered the first 3 nodes for the cluster (which is the minimum nodes for a VxRail), but also the picture on the right shows the options for this VxRail cluster – you can see the choice of 2x10GbE or 2x25GbE for the options.  As of April of 2018, VxRail supports 25GbE as a base connectivity option or as a PCIe add-on card option.  Also, quick side note – the V Series nodes have higher wattage power supplies and the PDU in the rack doesn’t support the connectivity we need, so those nodes can’t be powered on.

The next set of screens that you want to see are that the validation succeeded as well as the fact that build has started:

Now when our customers attend a Destination Dell EMC Truck event, they will have the ability to see VxRail Demos as well as look at some of the hardware.

The truck itself has been around a good part of the United States already, but going through the end of the year, it’s scheduled to make stops in Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Vancouver, California, and Nevada.  It would probably be best to get in touch with your Dell EMC Account team to see when it’s coming to a city near you.

 

 

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