Reposted from on May 19, 2017

How to fasten a seat belt, when to inflate your life jacket, where to find the closest emergency exit – as a frequent traveler, I listen to these droning pre-flight instructions (and the occasional snarky one) at least once a week. Surely the FAA can’t be serious with the constant reminders for these simple things interrupting our Kindle reading, last-minute texting, or jive talking? It turns out they are serious – and stop calling me Shirley. Humans are fallible, forgetful, and error prone. There have been emergency evacuations where passengers and crew couldn’t get out of their seat belts; and in the US Air 1549 flight that crashed landed in the Hudson River, only four passengers of 150 were able to correctly put on a life vest.

The same is true for technology. Whether we assume that it’s magic and the laws of physics don’t apply, we overlook the simple things, or we just picked the wrong week to quit smoking, we often forget that deploying technology requires some prep work. Even the most automated solution needs a bit of manual inflation. A computer requires power and therefore power outlets. If you are plugging into a network, you definitely need a switch, cables, and IP addresses. And you have to make some decisions about how and where you are going to put it – some data centers charge extra for the emergency exit row.

VxRail’s “autopilot” setup significantly reduces the complexity of deploying hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) such that it can easily be installed in a fraction of an hour. But, there are a few simple things that if not part of your pre-flight checklist may have you yelling “Mayday” (and not for the Russian holiday with parades and hot hors d’oeuvres).

We want to make the VxRail Appliance experience the best it can be. With a year of deployments under our belt, we looked at where people occasionally trip up and found them to be in a few categories:

  • Physical preparation – where do I put my appliance and how do I plug it in
  • Networking – how do I prepare my network so the nodes can talk to each other?
  • Deployment Choices – which vSphere version do I want to use? Do I want to use the VxRail vCenter or will I integrate it with my existing vCenter?

We asked our customers how we could best remind them about the actions they needed to take – and the decisions they needed to make ­– to get ready for an HCI appliance deployment. You told us that a complicated approval process (“the white zone is for immediate installation and deployment, there is no installation if you are in the red zone”) was overkill. What you wanted was a gentle reminder of the few things you needed to prepare.

So, for all of you frequent HCI fliers, we made this VxRail “pre-flight” video. Please turn your phone off and kindly direct your attention to YouTube:

Xperts Shannon Champion (@smchampion) and Jason Marques (@vWhipperSnapper), will direct you through what is needed to ensure the smoothest and fastest VxRail deployment possible. They cover the key choices you have to make, discuss things you should do before your appliance arrives, and point out with aplomb where to go to learn more.

We hope you enjoy the pre-flight video. You will also find the topics covered in the video and the other information located in the seat pocket on our website at:

If you have any questions, please press the call button, and one of our Xpert crew members will assist you. Now sit back, enjoy your VxRail HCI experience, quit your jive talkin’, and watch some gladiator movies.

Roger? Over and out!