Today EMC announced it’s latest product, the VSPEX Blue! This 2U hyper converged offering is based of of VMware’s EVO:Rail platform that was announced last year. While most everyone reading this is familiar with the EVO:Rail platform, the VSPEX Blue offering expands on this to give even more to the administrator.
For those of you unfamiliar, EVO:Rail offers a simplified VMware cluster setup that lets you go from power on to provisioning virtual machines in about 15 minutes with limited interaction from the administrator. For more information about the software and basic interface, read this blog post from Duncan Epping.
So what do you get?
On the outside, each VSPEX Blue appliance is a standard Phoenix 2U chassis that contains 4 nodes. Each node contains 2 gigabit ethernet ports, and 4 storage drives to make it vSan compliant. The diagram below explains in detail what to expect from a hardware perspective.
One differentiating factor in the hardware is that this is the first EVO:Rail solution to offer both a standard and performance model. The only difference is that the standard has 128GB of ram and the performance has 192GB. The below slide explains what you get in each node.
So what sets this apart from the other vendors?
That is an interesting question. While there is a slight hardware differentiation in RAM options, the biggest differences come in the form of software. On top of the standard VMware offering comes the VSPEX Blue Manager. This is built into the standard EVO interface, so what you get is extra options in a familiar presentation. A key section is the hardware manager which allows you to view the hardware status of each component in the appliance in an interface that reminds me of Unisphere.
You can visualize exactly which part has failed and this makes it easy for the administrator to replace the parts themselves. Tied with this also comes the EMC Remote support options including ESRS found on EMC’s traditional storage platforms. You can click right from the VSPEX Blue Manager interface and get knowledge base access and live chat available to you. EMC will be handling the support for all issues relating to the VSPEX Blue appliance and will interface with VMware as needed. The administrator will not need to call 1 company for hardware and another for software.
The other major addition from EMC is the VSPEX Blue Marketplace. This is a great place to click and automatically deploy additional VMware related software solutions. When VSPEX Blue goes GA in 2 weeks, it will launch with the following options from the marketplace:
- EMC Recoverpoint for VMs (Licensed for 15 VMs per appliance)
- CloudArray Virtual Edition (1 TB of cache and 10TB of cloud storage)
- vSphere Data Protection Advanced (Alowing you to backup to Avamar and Datadomain)
My take on this offering
So after looking at all the launch partners, it’s clear that while EMC is last to market, they haven’t just been wasting their time. This is the first appliance i’ve seen that offered something more than just the standard EVO:Rail offering and laid the groundwork for a bigger ecosystem. Given that this is the first instance that there are 2 different hardware offerings, i can see some people saying that EMCs relationship with VMware allowed them something special. My understanding (and i could be wrong about the specifics on this) is that this option is available to all partners, so we may see some new offerings from the existing launch partners as well.
This appliance is also a partner only sale, so EMC Sales reps won’t be selling them directly (unless you want to buy a lot of them) and they will be sourced directly from the OEM manufacturers, which means the partner will be in charge of delivery instead of EMC.
Finally, this offering now really shows the VSPEX offerings at all sizes. With the internalization of VCE, EMC can now offer converged options for small, medium, and large business. And no i’m not going to talk about that 4th option in the photo above.