So last year after VMware announced EVO:RAIL at VMworld I held a quick tech session with my colleagues at MTI and we discussed what effects the Hyper Converged Infrastructure Appliances (HCIA) would bring to the market…. of particular we contemplated what EMC would bring to EVO:RAIL when it was announced that they would be a QEP (Qualified EVO:RAIL Partner). Just so you know, EMC were the only QEP that didn’t have a physical appliance on show at VMWorld last year!
We were all in agreement that there were 2 things missing from the EVO:RAIL product which we hoped that EMC would address by leveraging their vast product portfolio:
….. and last Tuesday we were mightily impressed with how EMC had taken the EVO:RAIL product and added their own twist to the whole package! Including tackling the 2 points above (and then some!)…… Welcome to the world of EMC VSPEX Blue!
So some of the highlights of the new VSPEX Blue appliance:
- Two versions: Standard provides 128GB RAM, Performance provides 192GB RAM.
- VSPEX Blue Manager – a UI that EMC have written that builds on the simplistic and functional EVO:RAIL Manager and allows you to easily deploy, configure and manage the whole VSPEX Blue solution.
- EMC Secure Remote Support (ESRS) – this is just like what they offer with their storage arrays, it’s built into the Blue Manager and provides end-to-end support, which could either be via a live chat, community forums, or knowledge based articles. With ESRS (and Premium support), EMC can periodically monitor the EMC VSPEX Blue appliance and will be notified of any failures (like a “Phone home” service) enabling support to take preventative measures to help avoid downtime.
- VSPEX Blue Market store – The Market provides customers with access to trusted solutions and technologies that are developed by EMC and technology partners that are pre-validated for the VSPEX Blue appliance and then made available to download. These additional Market Apps are simple and easily integrated into the VSPEX Blue appliance. (Think of Apple’s App Store or Google Play). Although at launch there are only 3 offerings:
- RecoverPoint for VMs – offering business continuity/disaster recovery, with replication and continuous data protection at the VM level to a remote site. 15 full licenses are offered free per appliance (licensed per VM which means protection of 15 VMs, and up to 60 if you expand the VSPEX Blue to 4 appliances).
- VDP Advanced – providing centralised backup and recovery (based on EMC Avamar) including disk based de-duplicated backup (ie attaching a Data Domain as the backup target).
- Cloud Array Virtual Edition – this is a gateway to hybrid cloud storage (AWS S3, vCloud Air, etc)! The Cloud Array solution allows you to connect to external cloud storage and present it as an iSCSI target or NAS device (SMB/NFS) to the appliance. It’s a software based solution and you will get a free license per appliance to access 10TB of cloud storage with 1TB of local cache. (So unlike NetApp who are planning to hang a FAS array off their EVO:RAIL – breaking the whole ‘hyper-converged’ concept – this allows you to access more storage without breaking the appliance mould!)
EMC’s offering of EVO:RAIL is by far the best ‘packaged’ product available from QEPs…. they’ve really taken some time to address the question of “What would an EVO:RAIL customer want to do with this product apart from run VMs”….. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up as the #1 EVO:RAIL partner!!
Anyways, if you wish to delve a bit more into the product then pop along to Chad Sakac’s blog as he has a very good article on it: http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2015/02/vspex-blue-hello-world.html