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EVO:RAIL is out


VMware took the wraps off the worst kept secret at VMworld today. It was called “Project Marvin” also internally known as “Project Starburst“. What is it really? Well, its a HCIA. Hyper Converged Infrastructure Appliance. But Lets stick to EVO:RAIL as the name.  

Why the name EVO? Because its Evolutionary. Why RAIL? Because its RAIL mounted. So looks like there will be a blade version of it coming up as well ? Only time will tell. 

Lets talk more about EVO:RAIL. It has the following characteristics: 

  • Software Defined
  • Easy to Manage (Single pane Management)
  • Multiple hardware vendors (Choose whoever you like or mix n match if you please) 
  • Very Resilient (Multiple Nodes per appliance)

Does this mean VMware is getting into Hardware business? Simple answer is NO. The reason being, they are not making the hardware or selling the hardware. They put the brain into this appliance. Hardware can be by Dell, EMC, HP, Supermicro or anyone really as long as they signup to the program. Sort of like VSAN Ready Nodes. You sign up to the program, VMware gives you a list of things that you “need” to have for you to be certified in selling EVO:RAIL <insert hardware company>.

Is it similar to what Nutanix is offering? Yes and No. Yes because its a HCIA. No because the “brain” of EVO is completely different from Nutanix. You can read a lot more about Nutanix on any of the great blogs by “Josh Odgers at CloudXC” or “Michael (Webscale) Webster at longwhiteclouds“. 

Lets talk hardware now: 

Minimum of 4 nodes ( in each appliance).

Dual Power Supply (per appliance)

Each node has : 

  • atleast 2 intel processors
  • 192 GB RAM minimum (pretty sure you’d be able to install more if required)
  • 2 x 10GbE Ethernet adapters
  • Passthrough Storage Controller (to use VSAN i assume)
  • Atleast 1 eMLC SSD (400GB or more)
  • Bunch of SAS disks.
  • 1 x IPMI Adapter
  • Local boot device for ESXi. 

It also comes with its own appliance manager. Something that I haven’t had a chance to play around with yet. But having said that, it looks like HCIA space is going to get pretty crowded soon. Keep an eye out for more news out of #VMworld.


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