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What's new with EVO:RAIL appliance?

VMware announced its hyper-converged infrastructure offering at VMworld 2014 but has already made some adjustments to the offering.

Talk of hyper-converged infrastructure systems have been on the upswing as vendors and IT alike have been searching for ways to reduce problems and ease workload constraints in environments where disparate components must work as a cohesive unit.

The convergence of compute, networking, storage -- and the software that makes it work together -- promises to ease the pressures on the data center by speeding up deployments and eliminating the finger-pointing between vendors when an issue arises. With "one throat to choke," getting a timely resolution to a support issue becomes one less headache to manage.

VMware first announced its hyper-converged offering EVO:RAIL at VMworld 2014. With EVO:RAIL, VMware supplies the software while hardware partners -- such as Super Micro, Dell, EMC and Fujitsu -- produce the hardware. The combination of hardware and software makes up a hyper-converged appliance that can scale up when business demands require it. Over the last several months, VMware has tweaked configurations and licensing options to reflect the rapidly changing virtualization world.

What are the components in VMware's EVO:RAIL?
The EVO:RAIL appliance marries hardware with software for a cohesive unit that relies on VMware's offerings to run and maintain the system. EVO:RAIL fuses the software-defined approach the virtualization company envisions for the future of IT, where VMware software is the engine that runs the heart of the data center. VMware designed the 2U box of EVO:RAIL for resilience and scalability for those companies who need to react quickly to changing business climates. Each node has dual Intel Xeon E5 processors, 192 GB of memory, 3.6 TB of storage capacity -- 14.4 TB of capacity for the four-node appliance -- and two 10 Gigabit Ethernet copper or optical NIC ports.

How much is the 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. While the EVO:RAIL components theoretically are the same under the hood, the pricing you get from different vendors will vary due to the support costs that are factored into the equation. VMware also announced the vSphere Loyalty Program that helps further reduce costs by allowing vSphere licenses to be placed on the EVO:RAIL appliance.

Does EVO:RAIL do deduplication?
The EVO:RAIL appliance uses the Virtual SAN (VSAN) feature to pool disks and present them as a continuous block of storage to hold your VMs. VSAN is also a fairly new software-defined storage release that does not support deduplication. That means an administrator who works with the EVO:RAIL appliance will need to get creative to produce delta files.

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