VCE VxRack Hyper-Converged System and EMC’s Converged Infrastructure Journey  

Just weeks after a public debate on VMware vs Nutanix technologies, VCE announced the new VxRack line of hyper-converged systems at EMC World 2015. The hyper-converged space is getting a lot of attention due to success found by Nutanix, Nimboxx, Simplivity and others. EMC which is the primary investor in VCE is relying on a broad Converged Infrastructure strategy with software and hardware technologies mainly from VMware and Cisco combined with its own storage expertise. With the release of the VxRack, VCE wants to offer a scalable converged infrastructure product portfolio with multiple entry points for the end customer. There are 3 main products in the portfolio:

VBlock Converged Infrastructure – This has been the bread and butter for VCE. Suitable for Private Cloud environments and existing client-server applications, vBlock

vblockbrings compute, storage and network resources together and provides the benefit of all-in-one system pre-engineered and integrated to cut down deployment times. Enterprises don’t necessarily need to change their storage choices and existing SAN environments work fine with vBlock. Large enterprises who would typically buy data center infrastructure gear separately benefit mainly from the ease of procurement, logistics and day to day management etc.

VSPEX Blue Appliance – Earlier this year, EMC released VSPEX Blue, a hyper-converged appliance based on VMware EVO:RAIL. The appliance is targeted at growing

emcvspexbluemid-market and enterprise customers as well as Managed Service Providers (MSP) that are looking for a simpler, more flexible, automated and dynamic infrastructure. The appliance automates VMware infrastructure deployment and is suitable for general enterprise applications as well as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) applications.

VxRack Massive Scale Hyper-Converged Rack System

The requirements of internet and Internet of Things (IoT) scale applications are very different. Think about applications that generate a lot of data and need to scale by the minute if not hours. Traditional SAN is not suitable for such applications. This is where we need massive scale storage performance. Companies like Nutanix have done extremely well in driving adoption of

vxrack-620x392software defined storage and creating a new market. The new family of hyper-converged VxRack Systems enable enterprises and Service Providers to dramatically simplify the deployment of next generation scale out mobile, cloud and distributed Tier 2 applications. The product enables customers to start from dozens of servers and scale to many thousands of servers. The VxRack comes pre-engineered and pre-integrated from the factory just like other VCE products.

EMC is utilizing ScaleIO software-defined-storage capabilities in the VxRack Systems. From EMC’s datasheet, ScaleIO is software that creates a server-based SAN from local application server storage to deliver flexible and scalable performance and capacity on demand. It converges storage and compute resources of commodity hardware into a single-layer architecture, aggregating capacity and performance, simplifying management, and scaling to thousands of nodes.  As an alternative to a traditional SAN infrastructure, ScaleIO combines HDDs, SSDs, and PCIe flash cards to create a virtual pool of block storage with varying performance tiers.

“Over the past five years, customers have trusted VCE to enable them to rapidly deploy data center scale converged infrastructure so they can focus on delivering next-generation IT services to their businesses. This customer trust combined with our deep experience delivering simplified, operationally efficient solutions positions VCE perfectly to redefine the hyper-converged segment with the scale out VxRack engineered systems. The VxRack Systems are purpose built to enable enterprises and Service Providers to support existing Tier 2 and emerging born in the cloud applications with massive scale capability and cost optimization,” said Praveen Akkiraju, CEO of VCE.

VxRack stack will run on bare metal and vSphere or KVM hypervisor with the option of VMware’s vRealize management and orchestration software suite. The initial VCE VxRack System 1000 Series has a modular design and provides flexibility to add units incrementally. It features commodity server hardware and Cisco network switches. Besides the EMC ScaleIO software-defined storage version, VCE has plans to offer another version with complete software stack from VMware including VSAN technology. VxRack Systems are also designed to connect into the recently announced VCE Vscale and VCE Vision software for scale and flexibility.

The hyper-converged infrastructure space is getting hotter each day. Nutanix has a partnership with Dell to enter into large enterprise accounts. Simplivity has developed partnership with Dell and Cisco. VCE already has significant presence in enterprises. We’re far from predicting which vendor will lead over time however hyper-converged and non-SAN technologies seem to be promising for internet and IoT scale applications.

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