Dell EMC combines hyperconvergence and cloud in latest VxRail offering

Hyperconverged infrastructure running EMC’s Hybrid Cloud software creates a turnkey private cloud

Dell EMC is now offering a combination of its VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure and the EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud (EHC) platform to make it easier for mid-size organizations to build private clouds.

VxRail, which combines compute, network and virtual storage, is based largely on VMware management software, including the vRealize Suite, which allows for self-provisioning of virtual machines, and vSAN, which is VMware’s virtual storage array. EMC introduced VxRail about a year ago and Thursday said that to date it has sold 8,000 nodes to 1,000 customers, reaching over 65 Petabytes of scale.

Starting on March 31, VxRail will be optionally packaged with the EMC’s EHC software, which allows organizations to provision and automatically back up VMs, as well as integrate application life cycle support tools such as Chef and Puppet. It also allows hybrid cloud connections to Amazon Web Services and VMware’s vCloud Air partners; Microsoft Azure and Virtustream’s cloud will be connected endpoints in the future.

The combination of VxRail and EHC will bring this integrated offering to a different part of the market, says EMC’s EHC Senior Vice President Peter Cutts. VxRails can be deployed in small clusters, beginning at three nodes, and scaling up by per-node increments. That makes VxRail a more entry-level option for smaller and midsized enterprises.

EMC’s other hyperconverged platforms are named VxBlock and VxRack, and are typically for larger deployments. The VxBlock combines Cisco UCS hardware with EMC storage, while the VxRack is a rack-scale system that is based on ScaleIO virtual storage and supports non-VMware hypervisors and even bare metal infrastructure provisioning.

EHC on VxRail has a list price of US$1.25 million. This offers a lower entry price when compared to EHC on VxBlock, which ranges from $2 million to $15 million-plus, depending upon customer requirements.

Paul Delory, a research director at Gartner who tracks the converged systems market, says cloud computing is the second most popular use case for pre-engineered infrastructure systems, with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) being the leading one. “Having native hybrid cloud software available on VxRail is an important development for Dell EMC,” he explains. “But in many ways it’s a second order value proposition.”

But, in announcing this combined ECH/VxRail offering, Dell EMC is providing smaller and midsize customers a more affordable choice for deploying a pre-integrated cloud software and infrastructure.

Delory says Natunix is a leader in this converged systems market, but VxRail and Simplivity (the latter of which was recently purchased by Hewlett Packard Enterprise), are positioned as viable challengers. Increasing the turnkey use cases for the VxRail platform will only help in terms of use case offerings, he says.

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