VMware has detailed a number of initiatives to advance its software defined data centre vision, including a new infrastructure platform designed for rapid deployment and scale-out, plus a version of the OpenStack cloud framework optimised for VMware infrastructure.
Announced at the firm’s VMworld 2014 event in San Francisco, EVO:RAIL is described as a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance designed to speed deployment and scale-out of software-defined IT infrastructure.
The platform comprises a VMware software stack integrated with hardware from vendors such as Dell, EMC, Fujitsu and Supermicro. It will be delivered and supported by partners as a single product covering hardware, software, and support and services, according to the firm.
VMware’s concept appears to be that of a building block for data centres, with each EVO:RAIL appliance serving as a module that delivers integrated compute, networking and storage resources. Consolidating these resources into a single appliance eliminates the need for complex integration and accelerates deployment, such that virtual machines can be up and running within minutes of powering on the appliance, VMware claimed.
Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president for VMware’s Software-Defined Data Centre Division, said: “VMware EVO:RAIL is a new building block for software-defined data centre environments, taking the guesswork out of building, deploying, scaling and managing software-defined infrastructure services.”
The software stack comprises VMware’s vSphere and vCenter Server along with the firm’s Virtual SAN software and vCenter Log Insight, plus a new EVO:RAIL management tool that enables rapid deployment and configuration of the hardware.
However, because it is based on vSphere, the appliance can co-exist with a customer’s existing VMware infrastructure, the firm said.
Each appliance comprises four x86 server nodes, each with two Xeon chips and 192GB of memory, plus three 1.2TB drives for the Virtual SAN, a flash SSD for caching, and twin Gigabit Ethernet ports.
This configuration can supports approximately 100 general purpose virtual machines or up to 250 Horizon View virtual desktops, VMware said, while version 1.0 of the EVO:RAIL software supports scaling up to a cluster of four appliances.
EVO:RAIL is being aimed at the mid-market and enterprise sectors, with use cases such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as well as remote and branch offices for industries such as financial services, healthcare, higher education, insurance, oil and gas, and retail.
Meanwhile, VMware also announced VMware Integrated OpenStack, an OpenStack distribution optimised to run atop VMware’s virtualisation platform.
Currently in beta, this is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2015 and is being slated as a cost-effective way for developers to use open APIs to access VMware infrastructure.
Explaining the move, VMware said that the OpenStack framework has emerged as the tool of choice for IT to provide application development teams with programmatic access to the infrastructure, but OpenStack can be tricky to deploy and maintain, and the underlying infrastructure does not always meet enterprise requirements for security, resilience and performance.
VMware also announced a partnership with Docker, Google, and Pivotal to develop a way to integrate Docker’s Container technology with VMware-based infrastructure.
Containers are an alternative to virtual machines for handling multiple workloads on a single server, and Docker has also been developing the technology as a way to package applications for portability across clouds.
The collaboration will enable enterprises to leverage their existing VMware infrastructure as a unified, scalable and secure platform for running and managing enterprise applications whether in a container or a virtual machine, or even a container within a virtual machine, VMware said.
The development could provide enterprises with another choice for workload mobility in a hybrid cloud environment, such as that enabled by VMware’s own vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). The latter has also been renamed to VMware vCloud Air in a separate move announced last week.