VMware Teaser Gets Tweeted: 'Marvin' Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance

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Both are likely, said Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and partner to VMware and its parent company, storage king EMC.

Shepard told CRN that, from what he has seen, Marvin combines multiple VMware technologies including vSphere server virtualization technology, VSAN software-defined storage, NSX software-defined virtualization, and vCHS, or vCloud Hybrid Service, which allows the deployment of private clouds based on VMware technology.

"We're going back to the days of the IBM AS/400 servers, where compute, storage and networking were all in one cabinet," he said. "It's something a lot of companies are doing. EMC is doing it with its ScaleIO technology."

VMware's Marvin likely will be available as an integrated software package that can be dropped onto any industry-standard server, and/or as an offering to OEM customers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, Shepard said.

For Lumenate, the hardware platform of choice is Cisco UCS, which VMware currently supports via reference architectures with partners such as EMC in VSPEX and with NetApp in FlexPod, Shepard said. "We want rock-solid hardware to use with virtualized appliances," he said.

Lumenate is already bundling those VMware technologies, although sometimes without NSX, on its own while waiting for Marvin, Shepard said.

"When VMware releases its own stack, it will help us a lot," he said. "VMware is taking what I'm building now and packaging it."

The software stack, whether bundled for now by Lumenate or integrated by VMware, will give customers looking to move workloads between the cloud and on-premise infrastructures a major boost, and could help pull customers out of Amazon public clouds, Shepard said.

"The hyper-converged software stack, because of VMware vCHS, lets customers move resources back and forth between on-premise and a vCHS cloud instead of going to AWS," he said. "Today, customers can move workloads to AWS, but not back. The virtual machines get converted to a proprietary Amazon format."

Having such a bundle suits Lumenate as its customers, the majority of whom use VMware, will not get locked into an AWS cloud, Shepard said.

"Will they get locked into a VMware cloud?" he said. "We can debate that. But vCHS allows customers to move workloads to the cloud and back. AWS doesn't."


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