Solution Providers: VMware EVO: RAIL Great First Software-Defined Solution

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Jamie Shepard
Jamie Shepard

While hyper-converged infrastructure appliances based on VMware's EVO: RAIL software stack are currently available from only a handful of early providers, at least one solution provider has been testing the new solution and found it a good first step toward developing a software-defined world.

However, that solution provider and one of his peers agree that EVO: RAIL still needs time to mature into the kind of solution that can go head-to-head with more established hyper-converged infrastructure solutions from companies such as Nutanix.

Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime VMware channel partner, said Lumenate has been beta-testing the VMware EVO: RAIL software stack on Cisco servers starting last month.

[Related: The Power Of One: New Converged Infrastructure Solutions]

VMware EVO: RAIL, introduced at the August VMworld conference, is a scalable software-defined data center software stack that includes VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and ESXi, vCenter Server, VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) for storage, and VMware vRealize Log Insight, the real-time log management application formerly known as vCenter Log Insight.

The VMware EVO: RAIL software stack is expected to be bundled with servers from a variety of systems vendors as a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance to compete in the same space as market leaders Nutanix and SimpliVity.

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday officially unveiled one such appliance, the HP ConvergedSystem 200 HC EVO: RAIL, which ties the VMware software to a ProLiant server. It is slated to be released early next year.

Dell this week said it is preparing to ship an appliance, the Dell Engineered Solution for VMware EVO: RAIL, with additional services from software-defined storage partner Nexenta.

Shepard told CRN that Lumenate is testing the VMware EVO: RAIL software on Cisco servers featuring 192 GB of memory, three 1-TB hard drives, one 4-GB SSD, and two Gigabit Ethernet ports per server node.

Lumenate tested the EVO: RAIL software using Cisco servers despite the fact that Cisco, which is both a partner and archrival of VMware, is not expected to adopt the EVO: RAIL stack.

Shepard said the fact that Lumenate is testing the software on the Cisco platform shows the software can be used with any server that currently supports VMware, and that VMware has come up with a true software-defined solution.

In an email to CRN, Shepard emphasized that the requirements for EVO: RAIL are hardware-agnostic.

NEXT: VMware EVO: RAIL On Cisco Proof Of Software-Defined Capabilities

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