The modern IT infrastructure is has become far more demanding that ever before. To meet that rising demand we have learned to be experts at “knob turning” to ensure peek performance. We have implemented high performance, but rigid, systems in our attempt to keep up with the growing demand for great efficiency and agility. All this effort we have exerted to turn complex rigid silos of compute and storage appear as a single optimized solution comes as a cost – lost time that could be spent in IT transformation. The lack of simplicity can be countered by the use of Converged Infrastructure.
Until now EMC has been walking the edge of the infrastructure convergences market with its VSPEX reference architectures and it’s partnership with VCE. It has not, until now, offered it’s own converged infrastructure solution. Today EMC has announced its EVO:RAIL offering dubbed VXPEX BLUE. With this all-in-one Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance EMC is hoping to differentiate itself form other VMware partner offerings with it’s VSPEX BLUE software. This management software extends hardware monitoring with integration into EMC Secure Remote Gateway to provide the 24/7 support EMC is known for as well as integration to eServices.
In addition to support improvements the tight integration with the hardware allows VSPEX BLUE to provide insight into the hardware not available to EVO:RAIL. This includes detail mapping and visual representation of the hardware, including mapping alerts to the graphical representation as seen below.
Another key difference between EMC’s offering and other EVO:RAIL offerings is the creation of the VSPEX BLUE marketplace. This marketplace integrates access to qualified EMC software packages. Currently this includes EMC RecoverPoint for VMs and EMC CloudArray Virtual Edition. This is really a framework for future solutions from EMC and its partner network.
Each VSPEX BLUE appliance includes EMC CloudArray to leverage public and private cloud storage to go beyond the appliance’s physical capacity. The license includes 1TB cache and 10TB of cloud storage, including support.
RecoverPoint for VMs is also included in VSPEX BLUE with a 15VM licenses and free support. This provides for local and remote replication enabling per-VM recovery with any point in time DVR like recoverability. RP4VMs supports both asynchronous and synchronous replication to meet any RPO. One of the big benefits of RP4VMs is the orchestration of disaster recovery workflow automation similar to VMware Site Recovery Manager.
VSPEX BLUE comes in two modes: Standard and Performance. The sole differentiator is standard comes with 128GB of memory while performance comes with 192GB. It’s important to note that all other VMware partners only offer 192GB models at this time. Each appliance consists of four nodes manufactured by Foxconn. They include 2xIvy Bridge E5-2620V2 (12 cores, 2.1 Ghz), a single 32GB SLC DATADOM for the ESXi boot image, a single 400GB SAS SSD for VSAN cache, and three 1.2TB 10k SAS HDD for data, and a choice of a 1GbE copper or 10GbE fibre network interface. It wouldn’t surprise me if a 1.8TB drive offering were available as prices become more affordable.
It’s clear that converged infrastructure is an area EMC is looking to put more focus on. Earlier this year they combined it’s VCE and VSPEX businesses into a single business unit, which includes it’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud offering. While EVO:RAIL is certainly interesting, and EMC seems to bring extra value with its VSPEX BLUE software, I think we’ll be seeing more offerings from them in the Rackscale space later this year.