Tech Deep Dives Co-innovation

ThinEdge: An Edge Computing Hyperconverged Solution Architecture

Remote office/branch offices (ROBOs) have unique computing challenges. While they may not have the same needs as larger offices, they still need to leverage the data they generate, apply machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate analytics, and more. These technologies have the potential to help them improve operations, become more agile, and identify business opportunities.

Enter edge computing.

Edge computing is playing an ever-larger role in today’s businesses. It offers ROBOs a lower-cost, lighter-weight solution that meets the ROBOs’ needs at an appropriate scale. The edge computing solution simplifies IT complexity, secures infrastructure, accelerates innovation, and facilitates the move to the cloud.

The Innovative VMware Solution that Scales Securely and Lowers TCO

To meet the needs of ROBOs, VMware Office of the CTO’s (OCTO) Dell Technologies Solution Innovation Lab developed a pre-integrated, validated, engineered solution called ThinEdge. ThinEdge is a hyperconverged platform comprised of:

  • Dell EMC VxRail,
  • Dell EMC Virtual Edge Platform (VEP4600), and
  • VMware SD-WANTM, a software-defined WAN solution.

ThinEdge delivers a cost-efficient, simple, flexible, easy-to-use architecture that enables deployment of efficient, and faster new IT services. It ensures application performance and reliability between the datacenter and branch offices.

The ThinEdge solution includes:

  • A small-to-medium ROBO/edge environment that requires a robust rack-mount server platform with end-to-end security
  • Zero-touch WAN connectivity between the datacenter and the edge
  • An optimized network delivering excellent application performance with secured access
  • Simple and flexible end-to-end lifecycle management
  • Options for multiple virtual network functions (VNFs) on a single appliance

Solution Architecture Design

The ThinEdge cluster includes two VxRail E560 nodes connected back-to-back with a 10GbE network to support vSAN and vMotion traffic. It features a VMware vSAN Witness host, as well as a VMware SD-WAN virtual edge appliance deployed on VEP4600 and connected to a layer 3 (L3) routed network. VMware SD-WAN provides connectivity from a central-management datacenter to the edge site where the ThinEdge cluster is deployed. Workloads are hosted on the VxRail cluster. Virtual machines are managed by VMware vCenter, which is hosted in a central-management datacenter.

This solution allows ROBOs to leverage the VxRail life cycle manager (LCM) capability to manage the edge environment remotely and effortlessly. This VxRail cluster is deployed and managed by Dell EMC VxRail Manager and VMware vCenter Server.



The Bottom Line

The growing demand for edge infrastructure requires superior technology that can help ROBOs with various applications. It simplifies management, deployment, and operations by eliminating complexities. It provides superb operational capabilities with a consistent experience across the datacenter with Dell VxRail and at the edge with a VMware SD-WAN hosted in a Dell EMC VEP appliance.

For more detail, download this solution architecture whitepaper.

  Shree Das is a technologist and architect in VMware’s OCTO Business Unit. Responsible for architecture and design of various customer reference architecture solutions, his focus is cloud, software-defined datacenters, hyper-converged platforms, and other emerging technologies, including edge computing, the Internet of things, 5G, HPC, and AI/ML.
    Shefali Chinni is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for VMware SD-WAN. She is responsible for managing go-to-market strategies and enablement plans for OEM relationships, channel partners, and the Intel partnership.