EMC Enters Hyperconverged Infrastructure Market with VSPEX Blue

EMC VSPEX BlueToday EMC announced their entrance into the hyperconverged infrastructure space with a new product named VSPEX Blue. The product is based on the EVO:Rail configurations supported by VMware. The EVO:Rail specifications were announced at VMworld 2014. At that time, only a few hardware vendors had EVO:Rail offerings. More have come since then, with EMC being the latest.

I’ll walk through VSPEX Blue below.

Hardware

In  keeping with the EVO:Rail reference architecture, each VSPEX Blue appliance has four server nodes in a 2U rackmount form factor. Viewed from the front of the rack, the VSPEX appliance looks like the picture below:

Front view of VSPEX Blue

Viewed from the back of the rack, the VSPEX Blue appliance looks like this:

Rear View of VSPEX Blue

In the current offering, VSPEX Blue is available in two different configurations, the “standard” model and the “performance” model. The two configurations differ only in the memory installed. The VSPEX Blue specifications are in the table below:

VSPEX Blue Specifications

At release, VSPEX Blue can scale up to 4 appliances (16 nodes) in a cluster.

EVO:Rail Stack

In keeping with the EVO:Rail standard, the VSPEX Blue  comes with the following VMware software:

  • vSphere 5.5U2
  • VSAN 1.0
  • Log Insight
  • EVO:Rail Engine

You’re likely familiar with the first three, but the fourth may be new to you. The EVO:Rail Engine automates deployment and configuration of the EVO:Rail cluster. It also handles scale-out (adding a new appliance to the cluster) and non-disruptive upgrades.

EVO:Rail Manager provides for easy cluster management by providing a simple interface, pre-sized VM templates, and single-click policies.

VSPEX Blue Manager

Above and beyond the standard EVO:Rail software, VSPEX Blue provides additional functionality through the addition of their VSPEX Blue Manager software. The VSPEX Blue Manager provides:

  • The ability of view the physical state of the appliance’s devices, for example, to see which specific drive has suffered a failure.
  • Integrated support for the EMC Secure Remote Support Virtual Edition (ESRS/VE). This allows for full “phone home” support without  the requirement to install a gateway device.
  • A 10TB license for EMC CloudArray Virtual Edition. This software is based upon EMC’s acquisition of TwinStrata, and acts as a virtual gateway device to public cloud storage.
  • A 15-VM license for RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines. EMC makes this product available for free — the license provides full support.
  • VMware Data Protection Advanced

Additionally, the VSPEX Blue Manager includes the VSPEX Blue Market. The Market provides and easy way for customers to download software upgrades or purchase additional licenses for CloudArray or RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines.

Availability

Version 1 of the VSPEX Blue appliance will be GA on 16 February.

In Q3, EMC plans to release an updated version of VSPEX Blue. This update will be based on the next-generation Intel CPUs (Haswell) and will include:

  • Denser RAM configurations
  • vSphere 6.0
  • VSAN 6.0
  • Additional EMC software features
  • The ability to scale clusters up to 8 appliances (32 nodes)

 

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