At VMworld 2014 in San Francisco VMware announced VMware EVO:RAIL, a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance. There had been rumours of this project over the preceding months under the code name MARVIN and many thought VMware were going to get into the hardware game.

VMware are NOT going to start to sell hardware but instead these appliances will be built by VMware’s qualified partners to VMware’s specifications and delivered with the VMware EVO:RAIL software bundle.

At time of launch the list of qualified partners include: –

  • Dell
  • EMC
  • Fujitsu
  • Supermicro

There are a couple of others that only supply in Asia-Pacific.

Notable exceptions are HP and IBM/Lenovo.

Update: At VMware 2014 Europe in Barcelona HP and HDS both announced that they will also market a EVO:RAIL appliance

What is hyper-converged infrastructure?

Simply put it combines compute, storage and networking into a simple, easy to deploy all in one solution.

EVO:RAIL is not the 1st hyper-converged infrastructure. Nutanix and SimliVity have been doing it for a while now.

So what do you get in the VMware EVO:RAIL appliance?

Each EVO:RAIL appliance is a 2U 4 node hardware platform containing: –

  • 4 independent nodes for compute, network and storage
  • Each node has dual processors and 192GB memory
  • Total of 16TB of SSD and HDD storage via Virtual SAN

Appliances can be combined to build a larger infrastructure; the following diagram shows a 4 appliance 16 node stack.

This sounds like an exciting product with a single appliance and a 4 appliances scaled estimated to run the following workloads


Per Appliance

4 Appliances Scaled Out

Server VMs



VMware Horizon View Desktops



Virtual SAN datastore

13.1 TB

52.4 TB


The software stack supplied with EVO:RAIL of course includes vSphere and vSAN but also a management interface to speed up the deployment and management of these appliances. A contest at VMware 2014 Europe got the conference attendees to see how quick then could configure a EVO:RAIL appliance and create the first VM on it. The winning time was 15 minutes. Yes 15 minutes to get a 4 node vSphere infrastructure up and running and a VM deployed.

There is talk of a “big brother” to EVO:RAIL named EVO:RACK which will be a full rack of hyper-converged infrastructure.

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One Response to VMware EVO:RAIL

  1. Pingback: NetApp Announce EVO:RAIL appliance | Pelicano Computer Services

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