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Marvin/Mystic = EVO: RAIL

SAN FRANCISCO — VMware opened VMworld 2014 today by launching the product that had been known for months by its code names Projects Marvin and Mystic.

While EVO: RAIL won’t exactly rattle the Bay Area like the 6.0 earthquake that hit yesterday morning, it does shed light on a product that VMware kept a tight lid on since it began shipping its Virtual SAN (VSAN) storage software last March.

EVO: RAIL is a bundle of VSAN, vSphere, and vCenter Log Insight that VMware is selling to hardware vendor partners, allowing them to create hyper-converged appliances combining compute, storage and networking. The appliances will support a specific set of hardware specs, and the software gives them all a common look and feel.

VMware said Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, Inspur, Net One Systems Co. and SuperMicro have signed on as EVO parnters, but no products are expected to be generally available until late 2014. Those products will be competitive to hyper-converged appliances sold by Nutanix, Simplivity and a few others, although VSAN still lacks data deduplication, replication and other data management features that others have.

The appliances give VSAN customers another option for running the software, and the first that includes it pre-bundled on hardware. They can also install it on their own hardware or on pre-tested hardware Ready Nodes.

“I feel over time the hyper-converged model will rule the day,” said Mornay Van Der Walt, VMware’s VP of research and development.

You can find more on EVO: RAIL on, and you can keep up with all the news from the show at SearchServerVirtualization’s VMware 2014 home page.

And if you’re wondering about VMware parent company EMC’s’ take on EVO: RAIL, look here.

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