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EMC to toss Avamar and other code into its VMware's EVO boxen

Phoenix servers used in elastic cloud storage appliance will rise again

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EMC is designing a version of the EVO:RAIL hyper-converged appliance VMware announced today but isn't in a rush to get it to market but is looking forward to winning back the business the likes of Nutanix are currently taking from it.

EVO is the artist formerly known as MARVIN and combines four servers, direct-attached storage, VMware's VSAN, vSphere and plenty of control freakery to get it all working together.

EMC was named as one of six partners that will make EVO appliance, an eyebrow-raising decision if ever there was one given it takes the company back into the server market. While EMC has dabbled with arrays capable of doing some compute, it's not offered anything quite like an EVO appliance before.

Bharat Badrinath, EMC's senior director of global solutions marketing told The Reg the company expects its EVO:RAIL to debut some time in the first half of 2015 and that the company plans to distinguish itself by rolling some of its software assets into the box. Avamar is one such asset that got a mention, and he also mentioned backup and replication as the kind of things EMC thinks it will be sensible to add to the EVO:RAIL design.

Badrinath added that EMC will probably take its as-yet-un-named device to market through the channel, which he said has become accustomed to selling this kind of thing since being handed the VSPEX converged infrastructure product.

Doing so will give EMC a chance to counter the likes of Nutanix, a vendor Badrinath said EMC is keen to compete with head-to-head.

EMC's Chad Sakac has also commented on the company's EVO: RAIL plan and echoed Badrinath's sentiment that customers are voting for converged infrastructure with their wallets, so EMC needs to be there when they open.

Sakac also solos by writing that ECM's EVO:RAIL will be based on the Phoenix servers that went into EMC's Elastic Cloud Storage appliance announced earlier this year at EMC World. “Phoenix platforms will be in EMC’s EVO:RAIL based appliances,” he writes.

What's in those boxes? Sakac says they run “dense, latest IvyBridge hardware” with EMC power supplies and serviceability features. He adds that Phoenix boxen are “a bit better than 'off the shelf commodity servers' from folks like SuperMicro” but are “intended to be priced at commodity server costs.”

Sakac and Badrinath are both adamant that selling an EVO:RAIL appliance doesn't mean EMC will become a server vendor. Badrinath told us, more than once, that EMC will instead become a “hyper-converged infrastructure vendor”. That such devices do the kind of computing once left to standalone servers is neither here nor there. ®

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