VMware continues its hyper-converged journey with EVO SDDC

Raghu Raghuram, software-defined data centre chief at VMWare.

Raghu Raghuram, software-defined data centre chief at VMWare.

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware continued to expand its hyper-converged offerings at VMworld this year, formally introducing what it now calls EVO SDDC (Software-Defined Data Centre) Manager, its software stack for managing virtualized data centres.

The idea for EVO SDDC was introduced at least year’s VMworld, then as a technology preview under the name EVO Rack. It was introduced alongside EVO Rail, the company’s first shipping hardware and software stack for the software-defined data centre, intended for smaller-scale deployments.

“You’ve got EVO Rail for the midsize market – it’s an appliance, and it will continue along that way. But EVO SDDC is a data centre-wide solution,” said Raghu Raghuram, executive vice president of the software-defined data centre division at VMware. “It starts with vSphere and VSAN, but one of the most critical parts is NSX. You can’t build this without network virtualization.”

Like EVO Rail, hardware for EVO SDDC configurations will come from third-party providers. In this case, Dell VCE, and Quanta have been announced as initial partners for the new stack, with products starting to come on the market sometime next year.

Mark Chuang, chief of staff for the SDDC team at VMware, said that like Rail, EVO SDDC was built around the idea of “time to value,” with the promise being that end users can have a complete software defined data centre stack up and running in about two hours using the integrated technology.

“The hardware and software are designed to work together. It’s built as scale-out architecture with a minimum block, and then you add additional servers or additional racks to grow,” Chuang said. “We’re really focusing on the components of what delivers time to value and what makes the the SDDC very compelling.”

Chuang confirmed that EVO SDDC will be available through partners, although as with many solutions like this which essentially represent a stack of different offerings — the software coming from VMware and the hardware from a third party — exactly how that channel will be set up is yet to be seen. Chuang said the first plans are to engage partners who already work with both VMware and one of the hardware partners in a joint enablement model.

Through it all, the company maintains that customer choice is a key criteria, offering a range of options from the ability to use parts or all of existing infrastructure, through to third-party hyperconverged offerings, or the EVO family of hardware-and-software stacks.

“Customers can go with something VMware has validated top to bottom, but build-your-own is always an option we’ll continue to support. We won’t change that,” Chuang said.