EMC has unveiled VSpex Blue, a line of infrastructure appliances based on VMware's EVO:RAIL platform but with additional EMC capabilities to make it possible to go from power on to provisioning virtual machines in just 15 minutes.
Available from today, VSpex Blue will be offered to customers via EMC distributor partners such as Arrow, Avnet, Networld, TD Azlan and Tech Data, which will build and configure the servers to meet requirements and deliver to the customer site.
The appliances are based on EVO:RAIL, but feature additional EMC capabilities through VSpex Blue Manager software, EMC Secure Remote Support and some back-up and recovery tools. This includes the ability to replicate to the cloud using technology gained from its acquisition of TwinStrata last year.
VMware's EVO:RAIL is based on vSphere and provides integrated compute, storage and networking when integrated with x86 server hardware from VMware partners.
This makes it a hyper-converged infrastructure solution, in comparison with converged infrastructure where the storage and networking are separate components.
VSpex Blue is essentially EMC's implementation of this, but with added extras to differentiate it from the commodity server crowd, according to the firm's chief technology officer for the UK and Ireland, Sean Horne.
"The reason why we're slightly late to market with this is to ensure that, when we launched it, we had some value-add to differentiate us," Horne told V3.
"We've acquired some functionality and virtualised some of our data protection suite, such as RecoverPoint for continuous data protection, and we're making that available with our solution."
The value-add includes VSpex Blue Manager software, which offers administrators a GUI-driven environment to get up and running, and also includes VSpex Blue Market, an app store providing access to ready validated applications developed by EMC and its partners.
This is in fact how RecoverPoint will be made available, along with TwinStrata CloudArray functionality, enabling customers to access cloud-based storage services to complement the physical storage in VSpex Blue.
"With that, we can connect our EVO:RAIL to the cloud and enable customers to access storage as a service, and use the same gateway for snapping to the cloud and as a target for back-up to the cloud," Horne said.
VSpex Blue will be based on server hardware from FoxConn, built and configured by EMC's distributor partners to its specifications.
These will vary depending on the customer application, as more memory is required for virtual desktop infrastructure deployments, for example.
The standard build is a 2U four-node configuration, each node based on twin 12-core Intel Xeon E5-2620 v2 processors, 128GB of memory, storage comprising a 400GB SAS SSD and 3 x 1.2TB 10K RPM SAS hard drives, plus twin Ethernet ports.
EMC is targeting enterprise branch offices or smaller application environments with VSpex Blue, according to Horne.
This is in line with VMware's pitching of EVO:RAIL at mid-size companies, with a larger scale EVO:RACK offering coming sometime this year. Horne said that EMC will also have an offering based on EVO:RACK at a later date.
VSPEX BLUE joins the VCE Vblock Systems and VSPEX Reference Architectures as part of EMC's portfolio of converged offerings, the firm said.
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