News, VMworld 2019

VMware and Dell EMC Announce HCI-as-a-Service—In Your Own Data Center

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 26 – At VMworld 2019, Dell and VMware announced what they call “Datacenter as a service.” A big enabler of this is hyperconverged infrastructure, whose popularity has been exploding. HCI’s ability to combine hardware and software into a single package greatly simplifies installation, deployment and management. This ease-of-use is its most compelling feature.

Now, VMware and Dell EMC want to take that idea a step further: not only will they supply the HCI appliances and all related hardware—right down to the racks and switches themselves—but they’ll manage the entire stack for you.

VMware unveiled the new offering Monday during VMworld 2019, calling it “VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.” They’re positioning it as cloud infrastructure delivered as-a-service on-premises. It will be subscription-based, starting out with one- and three-year options. Pricing details weren’t immediately disclosed.

In other words, the customer rents everything from VMware and Dell EMC, but keeps it in their own data center. They manage and service all the infrastructure, including the software; the customer’s responsible for things like managing their apps and data, and backup and disaster recovery.

The core of the offering is VxRail, Dell EMC’s HCI appliance. Pre-installed on it is, of course, VMware software. It’s the full software-defined data center (SDDC) package, including vSphere, NSX, and VSAN: all compute, networking, and storage functions, in other words. It’s controlled and managed through VeloCloud hybrid cloud control plane.

VMware said that within 5 to 6 weeks of an order, a Dell engineer appears onsite to set everything up. If there’s an existing vSphere environment on-premises as well, it’s fully integrated with the new system.

This is a very interesting offering by VMware and Dell EMC. There’s something to be said for offloading all infrastructure chores to a third party. That is, in fact, one of the things that makes public cloud so enticing.

The advantage in this case is having those managed services onsite for those applications that need to be in the data center for reasons of data sovereignty or other compliance, low latency needs, or local data processing requirements.

Another benefit is that capital expenditures (CapEx) costs are nil, also similar to public cloud. The flip side of that is that operational expenditures (OpEx) are quite likely to be higher, since you’re basically leasing the equipment and software.

That’s just one concern. Others are the fact that you don’t own anything yourself, and you’re also locking yourself into what is essentially a single vendor. On the other hand, these vendors are among the most well-known in the industry, with a long track record of quality and innovation. On top of that, you get to enjoy the substantial advantages of HCI.

There are still lots of details to work out, and only two SKUs initially offered, one toward the lower end and the other much beefier (with, naturally, a correspondingly beefier price tag attached.) Those initial offerings will almost certainly be expanded in the future. In the meantime, it’s worth taking a good, hard look at VMware Cloud on Dell EMC.

More information about VMware Cloud on Dell EMC is available here.