In an attempt to clarify details around the RCM numbering for the DellEMC V(x)block family I thought it would be a good idea to highlight the key differences between the release of each RCM Train. First of all let get some clarity around the three letter acronym and terminology used.
RCM – Release Candidate Matrix. This is a validated configuration of firmware, hardware and software combinations that have been tested and validated by
VCE DellEMC Engineering teams. I’m talking about over 70GBs of files here people. Ranging from Flare and Dart code to Enic and Fnic drivers on ESXi hosts. Also included are tech extension add-ons such Avamar, Data domain, FEHC, and Vplex. It’s quite an impressive feat.
This is one of the major value props that drives V(x)block sales. Knowing that when your system ships from the Logical Engineering teams that every components compatibility have been thoroughly tested and tuned to optimize system performance. Furthermore, during RCM upgrades (V(x)block firmware and code upgrades) All the risk and stress has been removed as you install and upgrade each component knowing that compatibility and interoperability have been fully tested. Leading to a much smoother and less disruptive process.
As Vendors (DellEMC, Cisco, VMware) release updates and patches these are bundled together and a new RCM released and revisioned eg 5.0.1 to 5.0.2 etc. These releases are staged in 6-week cycles.
An RCM also has an End of Maintenance date. After which an RCM will no longer be supported by DellEMC Customer Support and Customers are required to upgrade in order to maintain support. End of Maintenance Notification will be provided for up to 180, but not less than 90 days, prior to the RCM End of Maintenance milestone date.
Release Train – These are introduced when one of the major components that make up the V(x)block go through a major release revision. eg vSphere going from 5.0 to 5.1 or UCS Firmware changing from 2.1 to 2.2.
Here is a table with the RCM Release Trains and some of the key components changes flagged. I have highlighted the changes in the each RCM Train in orange to give some extra clarity.
* NSX and VxBlock support was introduced in RCM 5.0.10