EMC launches VSPEX Blue EVO:Rail hyper-converged appliances

EMC announces VSPEX Blue EVO:Rail hyper-converged appliance in general purpose and performance variants

EMC has launched its hardware implementation of VMware’s EVO:Rail hyper-converged appliance, dubbing it VSPEX Blue and positioning it alongside its other VSPEX server-storage/networking reference architectures.

VSPEX Blue will come in two variants – a general purpose model and a high-performance product for virtual desktop use that will comprise up to 48TB and four nodes in a cluster.

VSPEX Blue will marry VMware’s EVO:Rail with EMC storage and backup software features in FoxConn X86 server hardware, with 12-core Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs. EMC claims VSPEX Blue can be provisioned for virtual machines within 15 minutes of deployment.

EVO:Rail is a hyper-converged appliance that bundles compute, storage and networking in an appliance optimised for VMware environments.

Hardware components are strictly specified by VMware to server-maker partners. VSPEX Blue nodes are hybrid flash with one 400GB enterprise multi-level cell flash drive to run operating systems and management software, plus three 1.2TB SAS HDDs for data. The performance model is distinguished by the addition of extra memory (192GB instead of 128GB).

EVO:Rail runs VMware software, namely vSphere to virtualise CPUs, virtual storage area network (VSAN) storage virtualisation, NSX network virtualisation, vCenter Log Insight and the EVO Engine that handles deployment, configuration and management of resources.

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In VSPEX Blue, EMC has added RecoverPoint replication and Cloud Array Hybrid cloud backup (formerly TwinStrata). VSPEX Blue comes with an app marketplace that allows customers to add extra functionality as well as access to EMC’s Secure Remote Support.

Currently the EVO:Rail architecture only scales to 48TB, but further scale-out capability is promised later in 2015 when VMware’s EVO:Rack becomes available.

VSPEX Blue is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and remote-office use cases. It is branded similarly to EMC’s VSPEX server/storage/network converged stack reference architectures, but has little in common with them as they comprise Cisco servers, Cisco or Brocade networking hardware with EMC VNX or VNXe storage arrays and are targeted at the larger SME users.

EMC CTO for the UK and Ireland Sean Horne said VSPEX Blue is a much lower entry point than VCE. 

"The converged appliance market is growing at 40% a year and is only going to grow," he said. "EMC is slightly later than others in launching an EVO:Rail appliance but we’ve added some of our own features.”

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