Sep 022014

VMWare has been quite elusive in its response to the hyper-converged platforms like Nutanix, SimpliVity and Scale Computing. Behind the scenes, though, there seems to be an emerging “appliance” that may be showing up soon.

VMWare EVO RAIL pricing

Since VMWare does not want to be in the hardware business it is most likely turning to its parent, EMC for the physical device to power the new hyper-converged platform. Code names “Project Marvin”, “Project Mystic” and “Project Starburst” all seem to point to the same system…only time will tell.

While the cost of the VMWare evo rail platform is a bit mysterious, it seems to be based on per virtual machine, per hour charging. For instance,

This excerpt from Enterprise Tech spells it out:

VMware is not providing specific pricing for the EVO:RAIL setup at the moment, and part of the reason is that it will not be generally available until later this year. (Precisely when is not clear, all VMware says is the second half of 2014, which we have been in for nearly two months already.)

“It will be priced competitively to the players that are in the space today, and we think we will be priced just right to compete in the hyperconverged market,” Van Der Walt says, adding that including hardware, software, and support over a 36-month term, the numbers will work out to under 10 cents per hour per virtual machine.

VMware is not setting the pricing on the EVO:RAIL appliances, so it has to be a bit cagey about it. But if you work the math backwards on that, at 10 cents per hour, a 16-node appliance with 400 generic cloud virtual machines would cost just over $1 million. Presumably Van Der Walt did not mean the VDI images, which would push the price up to $2.6 million for the same setup. Even that would be too high for VMware. But that said, it is hard to figure how this even gets to $1 million. The vSphere Enterprise hypervisor bundle costs $2,875 per socket and vSphere Enterprise Plus costs $3,495 per socket. Virtual SAN costs $3,595 per socket. Take the worst case pricing here and you are talking about $7,090 per socket. The 16-node cluster running just these two pieces of software has a license and support cost that is close to $400,000 over three years. The rest is presumably made up in hardware, hardware support, and the EVO:RAIL engine and other VMware components to reach that $1 million figure. There is probably some margin in there for the hardware appliance partners, too.

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