Customers have had two choices for HCI in their private data centers: vSAN ReadyNodes, or jointly-certified servers, and a jointly engineered system, Dell EMC VxRail. vSAN ReadyNodes offer customers the greatest deployment option flexibility to build an HCI cluster that meets their specific needs, with over 15 server OEMs offering over 500 ReadyNodes, from hybrid to all-flash to all-NVMe servers with various levels of compute performance. Dell EMC VxRail is jointly engineered by VMware and Dell EMC as a fully integrated, pre-configured and pre-tested hyperconverged infrastructure solution, with end-to-end lifecycle management, single source L1/L2/L3 support and a seamless hybrid cloud experience.
As popularity of HCI has expanded to even more customers, they have asked for a third option for their needs. We’re now pleased to introduce a new category of hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) deployment options, Global Partner Appliances, to simplify procurement, deployment and maintenance of HCI systems. For customers that want to rapidly deploy HCI on standardized building blocks with unified support, we believe the Global Partner Appliance category will offer a compelling solution.
What are Global Partner Appliances?
Global Partner Appliances (GPAs) offer customers two core benefits beyond ReadyNodes: simplified lifecycle management and unified support. Each hardware OEM in the category has created their unique lifecycle management tools that either integrate with VMware HCI or augment VMware HCI tools to offer simplified installation, deployment and maintenance of the HCI solution. To start, GPAs:
- Come Pre-installed with VMware HCI: VMware vSphere, vSAN and vCenter Server
- Include hardware vendor-built tools for lifecycle management, which can include day zero to day two operations, reducing time for routine activities. Many appliances offer fully validated updates to ensure compatibility for the hardware and software stack.
-Include single source support for both hardware and software, with a minimum of Levels 1 and 2
- May also have additional capabilities. Some vendors may choose to include features beyond lifecycle management and unified support, such as deployment services and proactive support.
Why Introduce Global Partner Appliances?
We wanted to shine a spotlight on deployment options that provide operational simplicity beyond standard ReadyNodes. While many HCI customers prefer the flexibility and choice of ReadyNodes, many others prefer a more prescriptive, simplified approach of an HCI appliance. Global Partner Appliance OEMs have dedicated engineering teams to integrate or augment their hardware with VMware HCI, and they’ve invested in training their support staff to provide support for the HCI software as well as the hardware.
Which Vendors Offer Global Partner Appliances?
The VMware Global Partner Appliance ecosystem is rapidly expanding. Today, Fujitsu PRIMEFLEX and Hitachi Vantara Unified Compute Platform HC are the two Global Partner Appliances in market. Additional vendors are expected to offer their solutions in the category before the end of the calendar year.