Pure Storage® has been partners with Equinix Metal for years, and today I’m excited to talk about our most recent joint solution: Running VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) with Pure FlashArray™ on Equinix Metal.
This new offering gives customers the best features of the hybrid-cloud model; namely, the ability to run hosted servers, Pure FlashArray, and the underlying networking while maintaining direct control over that hardware to customize it to directly fit requirements. Coupling this with VCF automates traditionally monotonous Day 0 and Day 1 deployment tasks and ensures that the servers are built in a consistent manner. Post-deployment, VCF provides full lifecycle management of all VMware components.
Of course, because Equinix Metal gives you complete control over the hardware you deploy, that also gives you the freedom to create and deploy ToR switches, DNS, and any other items you may require to integrate with your VCF environment. I’d strongly recommend looking at this GitHub page created by Ben Jenkins, a senior principal solutions architect at Equinix Metal, to see just how easy it is to stand up some of those components.
Deploy VCF Servers on Demand
Let’s return the focus to VCF. The key enabler for this new solution (and the subject of the remainder of this blog post and demo video) is a new server deployment mode that Equinix Metal recently began to offer: VMware VCF mode.
ESXi server deployment in Equinix Metal is a snap—simply select the Equinix region you want to use, and then click on the following VMware operating system:
Figure 1: Deploying VMware ESXi servers with VCF mode in Equinix Metal.
Next, select the number of hosts you want to deploy and give each a unique hostname as shown above. Then, click the Deploy Now button. About 10 to 15 minutes later, you have provisioned ESXi servers ready to be used for VCF, either as Management or Workload Domain hosts.
The important difference between the VCF deployment mode and other VMware server options within Equinix Metal is that it enables you to assign the same VLAN to both Ethernet interfaces (eth0 and eth1) on the ESXi host, which is a requirement for deploying VCF. You can also easily connect deployed ESXi hosts to a Pure FlashArray system hosted in Equinix Metal with software iSCSI, meaning that the vVols on iSCSI Principal Storage type is supported for VCF Workload Domains. All of our Pure Storage VMware integrations, such as the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin, can be used here too, to greatly streamline FlashArray management.
A Flexible Solution
This new offering provides a lot of flexibility; for example, it can be a solution for customers who want to leverage FlashArray replication and move on-premises VMFS, RDMs, and/or vVols volumes to Equinix Metal permanently. It can also assist customers who need temporary capacity for an increase in data center resources, or for use cases like dev/test or disaster recovery. It can even appeal to customers who simply want to try out VMware Cloud Foundation. Whatever the requirement, we’re excited to bring this new offering forward as another bridge for hybrid cloud and invite you to give it a try!