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How much is an EVO:RAIL appliance?

There are other considerations beyond the cost of an EVO:RAIL appliance when investigating the viability of this system for your data center.

Although VMware provides the extensive software stack used in EVO:RAIL appliances, VMware doesn't sell the hardware that runs EVO:RAIL. Instead, the appliances are purchased and supported through the hardware vendors -- such as Dell, HP and EMC -- or the vendors' channel partners.

For example, Version 1.0 of Dell's EVO:RAIL Infrastructure Edition for general-purpose VM workloads is available directly from Dell and through Dell PartnerDirect Partners including Preferred and Premier Partners. Dell lists this EVO:RAIL version at $150,000 which includes all hardware, software and three years of Dell ProSupport. Dell also notes a price of $100,000 for customers with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus using the vSphere Loyalty Program which allows some vSphere licenses to transfer to the EVO:RAIL.

As another example, HP's 200-HC EVO:RAIL for general purpose virtualized workloads is currently available through resellers and PartnerOne partners. The system is priced at $260,000 and carries three years of HP Proactive Care services for 24x7 support with four-hour response times. However, HP does offer to renew support for two additional years for up to five years total.

While the underlying premise of the EVO:RAIL is consistency , it still helps to shop around, compare prices and service terms, and pay close attention to specifications because some later versions of the EVO:RAIL will scale to eight appliances -- or 32 nodes -- rather than the initial releases which scaled to four appliances -- or 16 nodes. As HP demonstrates, it's also possible to extend the EVO:RAIL's baseline three-year lifecycle with additional service to help ease capital expenditures. This can be particularly helpful when EVO:RAIL appliances experience light utilization, are deployed to remote locations or experience other conditions that challenge frequent technology refresh cycles.

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Aside from cost, what are the top considerations for you when looking at hyper-converged infrastructure?