bright ideas

EVO:RAIL - The Fast Track To Infrastructure Excellence


Some conferences just tell us what we already know, while others offer far more excitement and value. We’re definitely glad not to have missed an action-packed VMworld conference in San Francisco that saw VMware’s major announcement of EVO:RAIL. The level of investment the savvy VMware folks are putting into hyper-convergence is proof that this is not just hype, but truly the way forward.

Hyper-converged infrastructure appliances are THE next-generation building blocks for data centres, with very compelling reasons why this segment is expected to grow to $8B by 2018 – from less than 1% as of today, to 20% market share (Richard Fichera, Forrester; FORR).

What’s special about EVO:RAIL is that it combines storage, compute, and virtual networking into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance, making a low effort, high achieving all-in-one solution. EVO:RAIL is very easy to deploy, with significantly lower design effort needed. Because it is a lower cost, rapidly deployed option, it makes a very logical option for anyone seeking the benefits of enterprise-level capabilities without the constant time drain of a more complex environment… and we’re yet to encounter anyone who actually embraces unnecessary complication. EVO:RAIL will be delivered through VMware qualified partners as a complete appliance solution including hardware, software and support – read more here (

The questions still remain the same

Our hypervisor-convergence whitepaper focusses on Virtual SAN which is an integral component of EVO:RAIL, and addresses many of the vital questions that need to be asked when contemplating a move to this type of environment. Assessing the suitability of this technology for your business purposes is essential – e.g. how will hardware proactive monitoring be done and how long will resynchronisation after a failure scenario take? With EVO:RAIL there are additional considerations, including how will it integrate with your other systems (such as backup), and how do you manage firmware upgrades (not just the hypervisor)?

When making such an infrastructure change it also pays to understand how this fits in with your larger strategic plan and what other impacts need to be taken into account.

There will be a small delay until EVO:RAIL is available in New Zealand, giving you a little extra time to go through the reviews and planning necessary with your VMware partner. Of course, if you have a more immediate need, IBM VSAN Ready Nodes are an excellent opportunity to capitalise on hyper-convergence benefits right now.

What about the hardware?

There are already a range of hardware vendors to choose from, and given the expected customer adoption of EVO:RAIL, we imagine there will be more to follow. We anticipate that they’ll differentiate themselves largely through the availability of support and call handling as well as offering hardware bundles that include replication appliance capabilities. But the biggest differentiator will be price and this is where we think things will get really interesting.

Bank the savings or reinvest for a managed outcome?

With now an even bigger potential for cost savings, IT Managers really will be faced with a welcome problem: what do you do with the savings? As we’ve mentioned there is now opportunity to get creative. Of course you could simply bank the savings and bring your project in well under budget, although that may mean you are allocated a little less next year. But we think the real value lies in being able to use the savings to invest in outsourced management, and with such an easily managed infrastructure, you are in a great bargaining position with your chosen partner.

The world is changing and IT departments are now expected to provide so much more for the company and deliver ever greater value. This simply isn’t possible if your team is investing most of its time managing BAU. By outsourcing your day-to-day IT tasks, you get to free up your team to focus on projects that deliver real value.

This is where hyper-convergence really has the opportunity to transform the IT department – infrastructure architecture is simpler, purchasing is simpler, deployment is faster and it costs less.

Good just got better

Virtual SAN Ready Nodes already created the opportunity for more efficient and cost effective data centre infrastructure. Now with EVO:RAIL those benefits just became even more amplified.

What impact do you think hyper-convergence will have on the future of the data centre? And do you agree that this could be a real game changer?

How hypervisor convergence is reinveting storage for the pay-as-you-grow era  Download whitepaper now!

Author: James Knapp

James focuses on the cloud technology landscape, developing cloud strategies for our clients, as well as being a regular conference presenter on new IT service delivery models.

10 September 2014 / 0 Comments