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Should EVO:RACK roll into your business?

VMware's hyperconverged infrastructure offering for larger enterprises scales out to multiple racks to handle more demanding tasks, such as expansive VDI deployments.

In one of the key announcements at VMworld 2014, VMware unveiled its rumored Project Mystic/MARVIN hyperconverged infrastructure products in the form of EVO:RAIL, due out sometime before year's end, and EVO:RACK, still in technical preview.

The EVO:RAIL offering bundles VMware software -- VSAN, vSphere, vCenter Log Insight and the EVO:RAIL engine for deployment, configuration and management duties -- with hardware in the form of a stackable 2u, four-node appliance provided by various VMware partners. EVO:RAIL can be scaled up to four appliances equaling 16 nodes.

VMware says EVO:RAIL is for customers who want to get their VMs deployed and storage provisioned as quickly as possible in small VDI environments or remote office/branch office locations, or to launch a virtual private cloud.

The EVO:RACK offering, expected in the first half of 2015, features vCloud Suite, VSAN, NSX and the EVO:RACK management software.

VMware says EVO:RACK is designed to scale to multiple racks and is geared for enterprises with large VDI needs, Platform/Infrastructure as a Service scenarios and big data requirements. To tie the racks together, EVO:RACK will use virtual networking with NSX and integrated physical networking.

Getting to EVO

During a VMworld 2014 session entitled "SDDC at Scale with VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: Deeper Dive," attendees asked questions about how patches and upgrades to nodes would be handled in an EVO:RACK cluster.

"This is where we are trying to change the model. We are trying to be very prescriptive about the configuration, including which version of the software [is] being used," said Raj Yavatkar, a VMware fellow, who added that EVO:RACK would feature a "lifecycle management solution" to ease the upgrade process.

Co-presenter Thirumalesh Reddy, senior director of software-defined data center research and development at VMware, said customers will have access to a "manifest of what's available for upgrades and what's not available for upgrades. Those are coming from us."

VMware will provide a manifest to "give you insight into what's available, what's eligible. It also keeps you updated in context of what disruption it might cause, to the impact," Reddy said.

The presenters said VMware will also validate upgrades to the appliance and certify the manifest to ensure anything cleared by the company will work as expected when adding or patching a server.

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