July 12, 2016. Technical NextGen Data Centre Author: Jon Laycock

HCIA welcomes VMware

Before you dive into part two, make sure you’ve taken a look at the first part of this series, Hyper-Convergence Explained.

After 18 months of a relative “hands off” approach to HCIA, via its EVO:Rail offering, VMware in combination with EMC and VCE have stepped into the market with an exciting offering: VxRail.


Sold exclusively via EMC and CI off-shoot VCE, VxRail is VMware’s latest HCIA offering. Here are some key features of VxRail;

  • It’s only available via EMC and VCE, directly or via partners.
  • Utilises VMware’s proven technologies: vSphere, VSAN and tightly integrated into vCloudAir.
  • Offering configuration flexibility, supporting forty to thousands of VMs, tens to thousands of VDI users.
  • Based on a 2U physical format, hybrid or all flash, initially with four nodes (three node starter option coming soon!), with single node and disk upgrade granularity. 
  • A flexible model, scaling from a single four node appliance to sixteen appliances, sixty-four nodes in a single cluster.
    • Ability to mix nodes to suite workloads and applications
      • From 6 to 28 cores, and 3.6TB to 19TB of storage capacity per node.
      • Extreme package is capable of 112 cores, 76TB raw flash storage in a 2U appliance.
      • VCE Vision provides a single view of management, including monitoring of health and performance, with automated patch update/implement.
      • Tried and tested award winning on-site service and support.
      • The appliance is not only hardware+hypervisor+support, it also embeds several unique technologies that not only to simplify tasks, but also enable organisations to deliver disaster recovery (DR), Business Continuity (BC) and Cloud connectivity straight out of the box.

The advantage of a tri-party agreement

One of the main advantages of the VxRail appliance is the sum of all the elements brought together by the three parties involved.

To quote Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – the “parts” brought by EMC, VCE and VMware add up to an exciting and compelling offering.

Clock cogs, Hyper-Convergence

VMware: a tightly integrated ecosystem, developed for the underlying hardware. Pre-installed, tested and optimised.

This is not the case for every HCIA solution, for example Nutanix “retro-fit” standard VMware to their appliance hardware, adding cost, time, complexity and which doesn’t provide the management efficiencies of the VxRail implementation.

    • vSphere - used by over 80% of the virtual solution market, VMware tried and tested – it works, it’s familiar. Use existing skills, tools and techniques.
    • Take advantage of VMware’s latest enhancements, including: VSAN 6.2 which delivers inline deduplication and compression to the VxRail flash appliances.

EMC trusted support services and software and protection.

    • Leveraging the industry's leading customer service capability, with a global network of technical support professionals. Relied on daily by thousands of organisations to ensure their businesses are kept up and running. 
    • Guarantee data is protected via site loss or corruption, via EMC Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity technologies. 
    • Utilise the scale and TCO model of cloud based storage with EMC’s CloudArray which allows data to be securely stored with your favourite cloud provider. Ideal for archive, backups and similar scenarios.

VCE – building on the experience of the #1 converged infrastructure solution provider, who provides skills, software and market understanding. 

    • VCE Vision, as used on the market leading CI soluition vblock, delivers the simple to use, manage and deploy capability to VxRail.
    • QoS policies and Multi tenancy capability eliminates the “noisy neighbour” issues seen on many other solutions when an infrastructure is used to host diverse combination of applications or services.
    • VCE’s offering of appliances, to racks, to rail, utilising Vscale – appliances, blocks and racks
    • Vscale: converged platforms from VCE deliver such sophisticated end-to-end approach bringing together Vblock, VxRack, VxRail together with complementing solutions.   

VMware’s entry into the market is also an exciting step forward. It illustrates maturity of the market - emerging players such as Nutanix and Simplivity will see this as a major threat to their businesses, whilst end-users will see the offering from VMware (with partners EMC/VCE) as an offering they cannot afford to ignore.

If you have any questions or thoughts about VxReail or Hyper-Convergence I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Jon is a Technical Account Manager within the EMC team at Arrow.

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