What is VMware EVO: RAIL?
VMware announced EVO: RAIL, their first foray into the hyper-converged computing market. For the uninitiated, here's a brief introduction to hyper-convergency.
Hyper-converged appliances combine other traditionally separate components into a single hardware platform: compute (processors and memory), networking (network interfaces), storage (typically SSD cached and HDD backed), and virtualization (hypervisor). And these appliances take a strictly scale-out approach; if you need more resources, add another node.
And here are the specs, per node (4 nodes/2U appliance):
- Two Intel E5-2620v2 six-core CPUs (24 logical cores per node)
- 192GB of memory
- One SLC SATADOM or SAS HDD for the ESXiTM boot device
- Three SAS 10K RPM 1.2TB HDD for the VMware Virtual SANTM datastore
- One 400GB MLC enterprise-grade SSD for read/write cache
- One Virtual SAN-certified pass-through disk controller
- Two 10GbE NIC ports (configured for either 10GBase-T or SFP+ connections)
- One 1GbE IPMI port for remote (out-of-band) management
And with all of this, comes a new "deployment manager"—the EVO: RAIL interfaces that really simplifies installation and configuration.
Likewise, updating EVO: RAIL is equally impressive, with just an update file and an automated process. The update will be applied sequentially and VMs automatically migrated so that the administrator can just start the process and watch it perform non-disruptively.
- @ 2 vCPU, 4GB vMEM, 60GB vDisk = 100 VMs / appliance
Actual capacity varies by VM size and workload. There are no restrictions on application type. EVO: RAIL supports any application that a customer would run on vSphere. — VMware EVO: RAIL Introduction
- 2vCPU, 2GB vMEM, 32GB vDisk linked clones = 250 VDs / appliance
[Dan] How do you feel about the announcement today of VMware EVO: RAIL?
[Partner] We are happy for VMware. Actually, their announcement validates what we have been doing for the last four years.
[Dan] Are you worried that EVO: RAIL will take your [potential] customers?
[Partner] Not really. We have some of the best people on the planet, both with VMware and with hardware and software. We have a four-year head start. We have hundreds of happy customers, and that is only growing.
EVO: Appliance 48C / 768GB
13TB usable capacity
4 x 400GB SSD
12 x 1.2TB SAS HDD
NX1000 24–48C / 128–512GB
3–24TB effective capacity
4 x 200/400GB SSD
8/12 x 1TB NL-SAS HDD
NX3000 64–80C / 1–2TB
12–24TB effective capacity
8 x 400/800GB SSD
16 x 1TB NL-SAS HDD
NX6000 24–40C / 256GB–1TB
35–70TB effective capacity
2/4 x 400/800GB SSD
8/10 x 4TB NL-SAS HDD
NX7000 40C / 128–256GB
5–10TB effective capacity
2 x 400GB SSD
6 x 1TB NL-SAS HDD
NX8000 40–48C / 128–384GB
18–36TB effective capacity
4 x 400/800/1600GB SSD
20 x 1TB NL-SAS HDD
CN2000 8C / 128–256GB
5–10TB effective* capacity
4 x 100GB SSD
8 x 1TB NL-SAS HDD
CN3000 12–24C / 128–512GB
20–40TB effective capacity
4 x 400/800GB SSD
8 x 3TB NL-SAS HDD
CN5000 24C / 384–512GB
15–30TB effective capacity
6 x 400/800GB SSD
18 x 1.2TB SAS HDD
It is also worth mentioning that all hyper-converged solutions require 10Gbps Ethernet switches for operation and data transfer. So if you don't have them already, plan on adding that into your budget.
EVO: RAIL is optimized for the new VMware user as well as for experienced administrators. Minimal IT experience is required to deploy, configure, and manage EVO: RAIL, allowing it to be used where there is limited or no IT staff on-site. As EVO: RAIL utilizes VMware’s core products, administrators can apply existing VMware knowledge, best practices, and processes. — VMware EVO: RAIL Introduction
I also think it is a good fit for application developers in test and dev environments where IT wants to give them "full control" of their own hardware and just leave it alone and not worry about it.