EMC Rolls Out Hyper Converged Infrastructure with Arista Switches

Looking to simplify provisioning of compute, storage, and networking resources in a data center, EMC unveiled ScaleIO Node.

The solution is based on software EMC gained when it acquired ScaleIO last year. It is now bringing that technology to market in the form of a hyper converged infrastructure system based on standard x86 servers. Bundled with those servers are EMC Storage Area Network products and network switches from Arista Networks.

Aimed primarily at high-end IT organizations that are looking to mirror the way web-scale IT organizations now deploy infrastructure, the set of servers comes pre-integrated in a way that still lets customers choose what software they want to deploy on them, Jyothi Swaroop, senior director of product marketing with EMC ScaleIO, said.

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Customers can configure ScaleIO Node with operating system or hypervisor they want. In the future EMC plans to offer additional network switching options.

The major differentiation is that ScaleIO Node is designed to scale well into the 1,000-node range, compared to rival hyper converged infrastructure systems that typically only scale to about 30 nodes, according to Swaroop.

“In an ideal world we would just sell the software,” said Swaroop. “But customers are telling us they don’t have hundreds of engineers to configure systems.”

In terms of performance, EMC claims that a 500-node implementation of ScaleIO can generate 100 million IOPs, which is eight times better than any traditional SAN offering currently available.

In general, EMC is moving well beyond its traditional storage base to compete more aggressively in the server space. Last week it revealed a global alliance with Dimension Data that will be making use of EMC servers and storage to deliver a broad range of public and private cloud services. The end goal of that effort will be to make it simpler for IT organizations to adopt modern server platforms without having to build and configure systems themselves.

The degree to which IT organizations will adopt pre-configured hyper converged infrastructure systems such as ScaleIO or opt to rely on external service providers remains to be seen. Vendors increasingly see an opportunity to remove customers from the systems integration equation in the expectation that those resources will be reinvested in building and deploying more applications.