As some of you are probably aware on February 18th this year, EMC and VMware launched VxRail, a joint venture by the two companies into the world of hyperconverged infrastructure. Basically it’s just an evolution of the EVORail product but believe me it’s much better and I think that they have got it right this time so I expect the likes of Nutanix to be given a run for their money.
It was also announced this week that Dell also will start reselling it too. You can’t have escaped the IT news over the last year about Dell’s plans to acquire EMC and VMware so strategically it actually makes sense.
The product itself runs the vSphere hypervisor and VSAN for its storage tier. The appliances are 2U in size and each one contains 4 nodes, so think of them as a small blade enclosure of sorts.
After entering some initial config such as names and ip addresses, VxRail will build and configure itself including ESXi, vCenter, Log Insight and VSAN, and be ready to start deploying servers or desktops within minutes. This is what’s really cool about VxRail. It just makes provisioning infrastructure so easy.
Here is a video clip of the entire setup wizard in action
Adding additional nodes is also simple.They are discovered on the network and you just click an option to add them in and VxRail does the rest, building them and adding them into the cluster. It can be scaled out to 16 appliances which is a whopping 3,200 VMs. I was initially a little confused by the 16 appliance limit but after a little more thought it makes sense as each appliance has 4 nodes. This means a 16 appliance cluster would have 64 nodes which is the vCenter maximum.
Hardware spec wise, it’s really up to you. You can choose the number of cores in each node, RAM, storage and network ports and your VxRail will be built to order. Of course, there are hybrid or all flash options, but with flash disks now exceeding spinning disks for capacity and with prices dropping all the time, all flash is becoming more appealing to many customers.
Some other nice things include:
Recoverpoint – to provide replication and disaster recover protection with each appliance able to replication of up to 15 VMs (this can be increased with additional licenses) and the RPO is down to only 5 minutes.
VMware data protection – backkup appliance, which many of you will know is powered by the EMC Avamar appliance with built in dedupe and compression
Lastly, one really cool thing i like about VxRail is that it can seamlessly scale into the cloud. Each appliance comes with 10TB of EMC CloudArray license which allows you to expand your data and if required create iScsi, cifs or nfs shares in the public cloud, all mapped through your appliance.
So, if you’re thinking about stepping into the hyperconverged world, take a serious look at VxRail.