VSPEX BLUE: EMC's New Converged Storage Shortcut

By Pedro Hernandez

EMC, the Hopkinton, Mass.-based market-leading provider of enterprise data storage systems, this week took the wraps off VSPEX BLUE, a new midrange converged infrastructure (compute, storage and networking) appliance.

The latest edition of VSPEX, the company's private cloud building block launched in 2012, promises to speed the way to virtualized, cloud-enabled storage environments. According to the company, it takes about the time of a coffee break for VSPEX BLUE to be up and running after IT technicians flip the switch.

"VSPEX BLUE can go from power on to provisioning VMs in less than 15 minutes," boasted Chad Dunn, senior director of VSPEX Product Management for EMC in a blog post. "The appliance is ridiculously simple to install, manage, and scale, which means customers spend more time innovating and less time buried in the weeds of maintenance and troubleshooting."

The 2U appliance is powered by Intel Xeon processors running VMware's EVO:RAIL hyper-converged software foundation. Scalable to up to four appliances, EMC is aiming VSPEX BLUE at organizations embarking on IT consolidation, hybrid cloud, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote branch office projects.

Taking a cue from the consumer IT space, VSPEX BLUE also includes an app store, of sorts.

"In the Market, customers have access to software and solutions that have been chosen by EMC for their appliance," revealed Dunn. "In this first release, EMC has added easy download access to EMC CloudArray, RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines and VMware's vSphere Data Protection Advanced," the later of which provides space-saving, deduplicated backup and recovery services.

VSPEX BLUE also leverages technology from EMC's acquisition of TwinStrata, a hybrid cloud storage specialist, via its CloudArray extender, which is bundled with the new product. "CloudArray can present file shares or iSCSI to applications requiring extra capacity, or potentially a file share between multiple applications — something VSAN doesn't do today," noted Chuck Hollis, chief strategist at VMware's Storage and Availability Business Unit, in a separate blog post.

"The back-end store can be any compatible object storage: your choice of cloud, an on-prem object store, etc. The included license is for 10TB of external capacity per appliance, not including the actual physical capacity," continued Hollis.

Moreover, VSPEX BLUE signifies that EMC has caught up to the so-called hyper-converged startups. Hollis remarked that "now the big boys are starting to jump in with vigor: first VMware with EVO:RAIL, and now EMC itself with VSPEX BLUE."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on February 05, 2015