One of the things that I haven’t seen highlighted as part of VMware’s EVO:Rail hyper-converged announcement is that EMC will be a hardware OEM partner. Just to spell this out, this means that EMC will make an appliance that will run VMware VM’s. EMC entering the hyper-converged market was expected. Just like Extreme-IO provided them an “in” into the all Flash array market, EMC isn’t sitting back and letting Nutanix, Nimboxx, Simplivity or Scale eat at their VNX/VMAX market share. These companies are not competing directly with server OEM’s but with storage vendors such as EMC. Storage is an extremely high margin business and the current hyper-converged vendors have enjoyed the associated margins on commodity server hardware. EMC isn’t leaving this money on the table.
This is not a small announcement. While EMC will be protecting it’s low-end arrays by offering a VSAN based appliance, they will be competing directly with server OEM’s. I guess this is fair as every server OEM now has a storage strategy that competes directly with EMC. Overall, I believe this is a good move and good for the market. I expect all of the hyper-converged solutions, including EMC’s own to put downward pressure on the price of enterprise storage.
It doesn’t sound as if EMC has figured out all the details of it’s offering. For more information on EMC’s strategy around hyper-converged read this post by EMC’s Chad Sakac.