New VCE VxRail appliance offers shortcut to software-defined data center

EMC and VMware recently announced the VCE VxRail, an appliance family focused on hyper-converged infrastructure. Here's what you need to know.

Image: VMware

As top dog in the virtualization world, VMware has many reasons to support the growth of the software-defined data center (SDDC). On Tuesday, VMware, in partnership with its parent company EMC, announced the VCE VxRail appliance family, which it said will accelerate the move to SDDC.

The VCE VxRail is a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) appliance that is fully automated and self-configured, providing a path for enterprises wishing to adopt SDDC. According to a press release, it is the "only fully integrated, preconfigured, and tested VMware HCI appliance in the market."

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Gil Shneorson, vice president and general manager of VxRail, said that when the deployment process starts the appliance will inspect the network to detect any anomalies and begin the self-configuration process. It integrates off-the-shelf versions of VMware software, and VxRail has a simple lifecycle management.

After the installation process is complete, users will be up and running VMs in 10 minutes, Shneorson said. It configures vCenter Server, ESXi host, and Virtual SAN for all nodes, and it takes about five minutes to add a new appliance.

Image: VMware/EMC

SEE: VMware VSAN 6.2: The 3 things you need to know (TechRepublic)

Just like most appliance, customers can configure the VxRail to order. For all-flash nodes, customers can select from 12-20 cores, between 256GB and 512GB memory, 7.6-19TB of storage, and copper or optical network. Hybrid nodes offer 6-20 cores, 64-512GB of memory, 3.6-10TB of storage, and copper or optical network.

The announcement of VxRail is the latest in a slew of announcements that VMware has been releasing. Just last week, the company announced Workspace ONE, Horizon 7, and Horizon Air, as well as VSAN 6.2.

Along with VxRail, the VSAN 6.2 release is one of the key releases that is moving forward VMware's plans for HCI. One of the main points of that release, the new quality of service (QOS) capabilities, will be available as part of a VxRail deployment as well.

The company has been pushing SDDC pretty heavily as well. As far back as August 2014, VMware's Paul Strong penned a blog post about how containers played into SDDC, and explained how VMware's partnerships with Docker, Google, and Pivotal were bringing more containers options to customers.

Back in September 2015, VMware announced the EVO SDDC manager and an even stronger focus on containers with the Photon Platform at the 2015 VMworld conference in San Francisco.

As one of the major players in the virtualization market, VMware holds a lot of influence to sway data center trends. Customers need to understand that the HCI and SDDC train has left the station and it doesn't seem like it's slowing down.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. EMC and VMware announced the VCE VxRail, an HCI appliance that automates the move to SDDC. This lessens the learning curve and management for an SDDC deployment, making it a good option for smaller organizations, or those who want less hassle.
  2. The VxRail is configured-to-order, and data center admins can choose from a variety of options, including all-flash or hybrid nodes. Bear in mind, the new features of VSAN 6.2 are only available on flash deployments.
  3. VMware continues to move forward focused heavily on HCI and SDDC. Organizations that aren't ready for that shift should avoid jumping into new products too quickly, as it could lock you into that model.

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