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HCI optimized for edge, part 7: Simple Edge Configuration

This technical blog series explains how AI and hyperconverged infrastructure simplify management and control costs. In the final segment, HPE hyperconverged expert Luke Pruen shows how simple HCI can be, by providing an example configuration that delivers HA with just 2 nodes in a compact, cost-effective edge solution.

SimpliVity Edge Part 7-blog.pngIn this blog series, I have covered the huge benefits that HPE SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) can provide in edge-based deployments. If you haven’t read the entire series, here’s a recap – I would suggest taking a look at the typical edge challenges I shared in part 1 before you read on:

  • In part 1 I demonstrated how  HCI addresses IT challenges in edge environments.
  • Part 2 explored the evolution of HCI, and how far multisite management and orchestration have come since the early days.
  • In the third part of the series, I showed the unique resiliency features that make HPE SimpliVity an ideal fit for customers with multiple edge locations.
  • In part 4, I took an in-depth look at HPE SimpliVity business continuity features.
  • Part 5 covered space considerations and scalability.
  • Cost-effective data security was the focus of part 6.

In this final article of the blog series, I create an example solution for an edge location achieving 2-node HA, to give you a sense of how simple this deployment can be. The example configuration below includes the HCI platform, networking, racking, and UPS to build a full stack suitable for remote locations with limited space and cost – something I like to call “simple edge.”

Assumptions for the simple edge configuration

I am not basing this blog on any single real-world customer, but on my broad experience with customers who are looking for compact, cost-effective edge deployments and who need high availability. For this simple edge deployment, I will assume that my “customer” has the following requirements:

  • No IT staff onsite at the edge locations
  • Locations require business continuity
  • Extremely limited space
  • Low budget/site, or possibly a large budget that the business needs to spread across multiple sites

The simple edge solution I describe provides HA at a single site in an extremely simple configuration. If my “customer” had multiple sites, they could deploy this same configuration at each one and gain more than HA – they would gain resilient disaster recovery capabilities, too. For details on that, see part 3 of this series where I cover the data protection and disaster recovery (DR) capabilities of HPE SimpliVity.

Let’s dive into the configuration.

HCI platform

We discussed the HPE SimpliVity 325 platform in part 6. The platform provides huge flexibility in compute options and comes in several flavors, depending on your storage requirements. The key things here are the small 1U footprint and low entry cost. Deploying just two of these nodes will provide an HA cluster with local backup capabilities. If there are other remote sites or a central location, we can also implement DR with this system at no extra cost.

Two HPE SimpliVity 325 nodes occupy 2U rack spaceTwo HPE SimpliVity 325 nodes occupy 2U rack space

 

Here are two different build examples using the 325 platform that can support between 15 to 39 VMs, based on my assumptions.

HPE SimpliVity platform and sizing assumptionsHPE SimpliVity platform and sizing assumptions

 

Remember that the platform resources can be catered to requirements, and these are just examples. We could use 64-core CPUs, for example, to boost the core or increase the memory in the nodes. Each of the above systems have ample spare storage to allow us to build a local backup policy for a VM.

Here is an example policy that we could apply.

Example backup policy for this simple edge configurationExample backup policy for this simple edge configuration

 

Networking

We are going to need some switches for the environment, and I have assumed 10Gb connectivity is not a requirement for the VMs. We still need 10Gb connectivity for our storage traffic, but as we have two nodes, we can directly connect the 10Gb ports on each SimpliVity 325 node. It’s worth noting that if you set up three nodes you will require 10Gb switches to provide this connectivity. This should also be considered if you believe you will scale from 2 to 3 or more nodes in the future.

To keep things inexpensive, I have selected two Aruba 2930F switches to provide network connectivity for this simple edge system. These switches provide enterprise grade features and can be deployed/managed through Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager, Aruba Airwave, and Aruba Central. You can read more here about these specific switches.

Networking exampleNetworking example

 

Rack and UPS

Schneider Electrics 6U low-profile wall mount rack enclosure is an ideal choice for edge locations with limited space. The enclosure can be equipped with wheels to allow it to be floor standing, or it can be wall mounted with the appropriate brackets. It can easily house a UPS, power distribution, environmental monitoring and physical security, along with networking and servers.

The long-time HPE technology partner offers a fully populated enclosure that incorporates HCI and lets you manage application stacks and infrastructure from the edge or anywhere else. To protect the critical infrastructure in the solution and help to prevent data corruption, Schneider Electric’s PowerChute UPS Management solution ensures a graceful shutdown of the HCI system in the event of an extended power outage, along with UPS management capabilities.

Schneider 6U rack – floor-standing or wall mountedSchneider 6U rack – floor-standing or wall mounted

 

Learn more about our integrated solution with Schneider Electric that anticipates power outages in this recent blog.

Bringing it all together

Now we have all the components to build our simple edge stack that addresses all of the common challenges we discussed in part 1.

Simple edge components and featuresSimple edge components and features

It is worth noting that HPE and Schneider are working together to make this entire solution factory-orderable through HPE. When ordered, customers can expect this solution to arrive fully integrated, pre-packaged, and ready to plug in. If it sounds like a good fit for your environment, keep an eye on this HPE Around the Storage Block blogsite. We will share news about this solution as soon as it becomes available.

HPE SimpliVity for the edge

Now that you know all about HCI for the edge, visit this page to explore some of the typical use cases, read customer examples, and see side-by-side comparisons of the hyperconverged solutions HPE offers.

In case you missed anything, here are links to all the blogs in the series:

HCI Optimized for Edge

 

Luke-P.jpg

 

Around the Storage Block blogger Luke Pruen is HPE Hyperconverged Lead in the UK and Ireland. Luke supports presales teams and partners, focusing on solution architecture and implementation, and driving the development of new features based on observations from field engineers and customers. Follow Luke on LinkedIn.

 

 

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