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VCE to use Quanta servers for new 'VxRacks'

Cisco keeps the networking gig with VMware's EVO:RACK

EMC World 2015 VCE will today announce the “VxRack”, a rack-scale converged infrastructure product that will use Quanta servers.

The company will reveal three VxRacks during the EMC World opening keynote. Model 1032 will be a choose-your-own hypervisor affair, with KVM, vSphere or bare metal options, plus EMC's ScaleIO to wrangle storage. EMC's software-defined storage and Cisco networking kit is present in all three models. VxRack 1034 is built to the specifications of VMware's EVO:RACK template and is the first product we are aware of that does so. Model 1036 will be based on a new EMC project, called “Caspian”, that uses VMware's recently-announced Photon and Lightwave products aimed at containerised, or “cloud-native”, apps.

As usual, VCE's guaranteeing interoperability between, and support for, everything it puts in the boxes it ships to punters.

VxRacks will start at four nodes and scale to 1,000. VCE CTO Trey Layton told The Reg it's expected they'll be used in two scenarios. The first is on-premises apps that don't need, or can't justify, the care and attention of the company's vBlocks. An ERP app isn't a candidate for that treatment, Layton feels. But an HR app needs plenty of frunt and support, but as it is not public-facing or quite as mission-critical as ERP can probably do without a dedicated SAN and blade servers. VCE's betting that organisations will use VxRack to handle such apps, and perhaps do so alongside container-centric and/or “cloud-native” apps that are happy just to have a VM to call home and don't want or need coupling to hardware.

The second hoped-for usage scenario is service providers who have found that building rack-scale architectures is proving tricky and want a turnkey product they can buy, then scale.

VxRacks will interoperate with vBlocks, becoming visible and manageable among a pool of resources.

Quanta's presence as server provider isn't a sign that relations with Cisco are souring. Layton said Cisco simply doesn't have the commodity server VCE needs to get VxRacks to market, but that VCE is chatting to Cisco about how the two might develop such a server in future.

Layton also said that the VxRacks are in no way a response to competition from hyperconverged rivals like of Nutanix, which he thinks simply aren't bought by folks who need 1,000 nodes of anything and therefore aren't a threat to VCE.

VCE's moved quickly since Cisco decided to become only a silent partner in the company last October, adding two new product lines in the last two months. It now covers plenty of bases, with vBlocks for the core data centre. VxBlocks give the company scale in that mode, thanks to the VCE Vscale Architecture and the ability to back vBlocks with scale—out storage. Now it has a rack-scale product, too, for those who like their servers to be cattle, not pets.

Everything's integrated and bundled up in ways that nourish the whole EMC Federation, while also giving users more choice about components than was the case when the company only sold vBlocks.

And what if a customer wants to choose a Windows-centric environment? VMware and VCE aren't hostile to Microsoft, but from what The Reg has been told aren't bending over backwards to help it with VxRack.

Microsoft’s not said much lately about its own converged product, the Cloud Platform System Azure-in-a-box offering.

The Reg's virtualisation desk expects Microsoft’s Ignite, which takes place at the same time as EMC World this year, might bring an update that will help to define the state of the hyperconverged infrastructure market. ®

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