VMware EVO:RAIL attracts lots of tire kickers, few drivers
by Ed Scannell
While VMware’s EVO:RAIL received a favorable reception when it debuted last August, most IT pros are still kicking the tires on the hyper-converged infrastructure offering and remain focused on existing server hardware strategies.
Besides the game of catch-up, VMware has many other hurdles to jump to gain more rapid acceptance of EVO:RAIL. For instance, while VMware signed up a solid mix of nine large and small hardware partners to distribute the appliance, including Dell and HP, those same partners also sell their own designs and others.
“Some bigger partners who have traditionally moved a lot of VMware now have competitive offerings,” said Camberley Bates, managing director at Evaluator Group based in Boulder, Colo. “So if HP, for instance, has its own software running on its hardware, then that may have better margins and there may be different profit margins on their stuff for channel partners.”
“EVO:RAIL is strictly a channel play and it takes the channel a while to get their arms around something new and what they want to do with it,” Bates said.
Still, some larger enterprises balk at EVO:RAIL and other competitive offerings because these systems involve a more complex decision making process. Often large companies have many more IT people dedicated to supporting servers, software, storage and networking gear separately, and bringing in a raft of hyper converged systems introduces the problem of reassigning, retraining or laying off staff.
“Larger companies have clear separation among their server, networking and storage people, so they are affected much more in terms of reassigning roles when big converged systems come in,” Bates said. “But in smaller shops it eases their responsibilities because they don’t have to know as deeply how to manage everything.”