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'VxRail' looks like EMC's next-gen hyper-converged appliance

Trademark filing, jobs, Tweets and an undeniable X-factor point to an EVO:RAIL evolution

EMC and VMware are making more noise about a hyper-converged launch this month. The Register's virtualisation desk is willing to go out on a limb and say that among the announcements will be a hardware product called VxRail.

Here's our logic.

EMC used its annual results call to reveal it has new hyper-converged kit on the way.

Promotions like this EMC registration page confirm it, inviting world+dog to tune in on February 16th for an event at which “EMC and VMware combine forces for a quantum leap forward.”

That page promises to reveal “The X force in Hyper-converged” that will “Take hyper-converged to the next level with the simplicity, efficiency, and trust only EMC and VMware can exclusively deliver.”

We also know that VCE, EMC's converged system unit, already offers the VxRack, a data-centre-at-scale recipe that EMC's the company will happily deliver to your door.

VMware also offers EVO:RAIL, software and a recipe for cooking up a hyper-converged appliance.

Now let's consider this late 2015 VCE trademark application for the term “VxRail”. That application says it's for “Computer hardware; computer servers; storage servers; networking servers; computer hardware and software, namely, data storage and retrieval apparatus, comprising processors, networks, memories, operating software and data storage units; computer software for data management, data storage, networking and virtualization.”

Which sure sounds like a hyper-converged appliance.

There's more evidence that VMware's cooking up something with the name VxRail in job ad that seeks someone to test the product.

There's even a Twitter account using the name that, in the pair of tweets emitted so far, mentions EMC hyper-converged products.

So what is VxRail? The job ads are oblique but the Twitter account's description says it offers “Latest news on VMware, EMC, VCE and the hyper-converged path to the cloud!”

We know that EVO:RAIL is a basically a pretty cut of vSphere and vCentre bolted to VSAN. We know the latter's about to get a new release that adds data deduplication and erasure coding. And we know VMware's recently upgraded vRealize Automation. Your correspondent is therefore happy to predict that VxRail will be an evolution for EVO:RAIL with the new cut of VSAN and more automation, sold by VCE in ready-to-run hardware combos. Those combos might even be tuned to some of VMware's favourite workloads, like end-user computing.

The mention of cloud in the Twitter account and all this stuff about next-generation gets us thinking there'll be some added hybrid cloud capabilities this time around. Which makes sense: EVO:RAIL is a decent on-premises play, but given the EMC Federation's ardour for hybrid cloud the product is due some cloudy mutations.

All will be revealed in a couple of weeks or so. Less likely to be known for some time is just how this will all play out once (if?) Dell gets its hands on EMC. We mention Dell because it has a deal to build and sell appliances based on Nutanix's platform. Can Dell pull off the trick of selling competing hyper-converged appliances from two vendors, one of which it owns? Can Nutanix stomach a partner buying a competitor?

Before we go: we're not ruling out a false trail for VxRail. VMware trademarked "Marvin", the project name for EVO:RAIL, then introduced the real name on the eve of its launch. Regardless of the name, there's definitely something hyper-converged cooking in the EMC Federation kitchen. ®

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