This is part 2 of my IMO #VMworld wrap up. Read my about thoughts of a new product called EVO:RAIL
IMO: #VMworld 2014 recap vSAN and vVol (part 4)
EVO:RAIL is a pretty cool so called hyper-converged solution provided by VMware and partner vendors like (DELL, EMC, Fujitsu, INSPUR, net one, SUPERMICRO, HP, Hitachi). Summarized Evo:Rail delivers a complete vSphere-suite (including vCenter, vSAN, Enterprise+ & vRealize suite) bundled with 4 computing nodes which is from a technical perspective ready to be productive in less than 30minutes (the record at the EVO:RAIL challenge was <16 minutes).
Such a solution is a thing I thought about a long time ago (it was one of the outcomes of my master-thesis on the software-defined datacenter in small-/medium sized enterprises) especially for small environments where the admins want to focus on operating the running systems (or better: delivering an IT-service) rather than implementing, installing and configuring basic infrastructure (Yeah I know this is going to be a shift in the future for me as a trainer who delivers a lot of install, configure manage classes and did installations as part of my consultancy/implementation jobs).
IMO VMware did a very smart move not to get into the role of a hardware vendor and did a cooperation with existing and well-known partners to deliver the solution specified/managed via the EVO:RAIL engine by VMware. The established sales channel to customer and companies can be used. Especially small- and medium sized business will be attracted by this solution as long as the pricing/capex ist affordable for them. Which means from a business perspective the following: VMware delivers the software (vSphere, vRealize and the EVO-engine) and the vendor delivers the hardware & support. The business-management (#beersherpa) guy inside of me says…. perfect… everyone stays at its core competencies and bundle the power together to bring a much better solution for the customer (One contact point for support, a completely integrated and supported virtualization stack, shortest implementation times).
I believe for the big x86 vendors this solution is just a next step in becoming a commodity. Isn’t the whole software-defined datacenter thing about decoupling software from hardware, creating/using a smart VMware controlled control plane and a commodity data plane which is responsible for the concrete data processing based on the control plane logic? We don’t or will not care anymore if the hardware (switch, storage, computing nodes) is HP, Cisco, Juniper, IBM, etc. We will care about the control plane.
With EVO:RAIL it will get even tougher for the hardware vendors to differentiate from each other and the competition in the end can only be won by the price (in the small/medium sized market). I want to add that I missed the chance in the EVO:RAIL demo room to have a discussion about this topic from a vendor perspective (damn you VEEAM party 😉 ), so if you have done anything similar or have own opinions please comment on this post or contact me directly.
The use cases of EVO:RAIL can vary (Management Clusters, DMZ, VDI, small production environments) a lot and I believe that this is a product is a pretty good solution which will be triggered from a bottom-up perspective within the companies (I am referring to my bottom-up / top-down approach of bringing innovation in companies at the NSX post (link)). Administrators will love to reduce the setup time of a complete vSphere environment.
Especially for VDI solutions I can imagine a brilliant use case for the EVO:RAIL, which means next step… VMware please bundle the VMware Horizon View licence into EVO:RAIL and integrate the View setup into the Evo- engine :-).
Useful links around EVO:RAIL:
- EVO:RAIL FAQ: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2014/09/02/vmware-evorail-faq/
- EVO:RAIL and Nutanix: http://bythebell.com/2014/08/evo-rail-impact-on-nutanix-partners.html
- VMware Hands-on-Lab on EVO:RAIL: http://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL/catalogs/lab/1503
- EVO:RAIL summary: http://www.running-system.com/vmworld-2014-take-away-vmware-evorail/