Thursday, August 28, 2014

EVO:Rail Announcement at VMworld 2014

An anagram for Love Air. :)
At Monday's VMworld General Session, VMware announced the next phase in the journey to the Software-Defined Data Center: EVO:Rail. It's kind of a big deal, too. Here's why.

Validation of Hyperconvergence

First and foremost, EVO:Rail's existence validates the trend in IT over the last two years to build self-contained, purpose-built platforms for virtualization. Many companies, such as SimpliVity and Nutanix, successfully merged compute and storage into a single hardware appliance. SimpliVity took that notion a step farther and bundled some networking magic (such as WAN optimization). But the networking stack was conspicuously absent from these converged solutions. And, no, VCE's VBlock doesn't belong in this conversation because it is NOT a converged anything.

EVO:Rail is different because it's not just hyperconverged at the hardware layer: it's hyperconverged software, too. You'll get vSphere and Virtual SAN, with a beautifully simple HTML5 interface for doing the initial configuration. For me, that means that I don't need to spin up my Fusion Windows 8.1 VM just to manage EVO:Rail. Win! (And thanks to Gabriel Chapman for correcting my error: EVO:Rack, and not EVO:Rail, that will ship later includes NSX.)

A New Unit for Infrastructure

A while back, I wrote a post about hyperconvergence: The Hyperconverged Hamburger. One of the main concepts in that post is that we need to stop treating virtualization as the collection of server, network, and storage hardware. Instead, we need to treat virtualization as a component, not a confluence of components. This is where EVO:Rail shines: you buy EVO:Rail, and you get virtualization. Period. You can quit investing in the storage dinosaur that is SAN. And you can quit wrestling with the integration between your blade chassis and your upstream switches.

To learn more, read through Duncan Epping's blog post here. Or check out the HOL at HOL-SDC-1428.