Fresh off of the company’s announcement of its new end-user computing solutions earlier this week, VMware (VMW) revealed several changes to its Ready Node Program for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and previewed the upcoming launch of its Virtual SAN 6.2 hyper-converged storage infrastructure.
For OEM channel partners, VMware has expanded its Ready Node Program to give resellers the option to offer both hardware and software services to customers. Traditionally, partners could only sell VMware hardware to customers; now, the company will allow them to choose whether they wish to stick to a hardware-only model or incorporate pre-installed software (including vSphere and Virtual SAN) as well as licensing and support options into their offerings.
“This program for me is all about giving a broad range of partners even more choice so that they in turn can pick and choose which best leverages their strengths and capabilities and best serves their customers as well,” said Skip Bacon, vice president of Products, Storage and Availability at VMware, in an interview with The VAR Guy. “My object goal here, very simply, is to get even more feet on the street out there selling our solutions.”
Fujitsu, SuperMicro and Hitachi are the first three OEMs to sign on to the new Ready Node Program. Bacon said more OEM partners are expected to join the program throughout the course of the year.
VMware also previewed the upcoming release of its 4th generation Virtual SAN solution, which Bacon said will allow administrators to reduce the cost of their data storage as well as improve performance. The software is part of the overarching VMware hyperconverged stack, and includes a new Quality of Service feature that will allow administrators to set a limit on the amount of IO each virtual machine can utilize, thus cutting down on what Bacon calls “noisy neighbors” in the system.
For those who are unaware, VMware’s virtual software-defined storage, or Virtual SAN, is the native vSphere component for storage in the VMware hypervisor, replacing traditional spinning disk storage technology with a software-only local function. As the goal of hyperconvergence is to combine server virtualization with storage, this allows users to handle all of their infrastructure functions within a single server.
VMware will support both a hybrid hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) model of Virtual SAN 6.2 as well as an All-Flash Array version, according to Bacon. The All-Flash Array version of Virtual SAN 6.2 comes equipped with the ability to implement both RAID 5 and RAID 6 erasure coding for greater redundancy, as well as new deduplication and convergence features.
While VMware traditionally marketed both its Virtual SAN solutions as well as EMC’s EVO: Rail hyper-converged infrastructure, the release of Virtual SAN 6.2 is meant to signal the company’s unofficial transition to delivering software solutions. While EVO: RAIL will continue to be supported by VMware’s channel partners, going forward the company will focus on Virtual SAN as its main software solution for hyper-converged infrastructure.
“We think that as this market continues to grow the needs of customers and their preferences for vendors and configurations and support models will keep diversifying and its important that you give them a broad range of choice,” said Bacon.
Virtual SAN 6.2 is expected to launch later this quarter, although a specific date was not announced. The solution is listed at $2,495 per CPU, with Virtual SAN for Desktop listed starting at $50 per user, according to the announcement.