Evo:Rail – from zero to hero in 18 minutes!!

Something I’ve always thought was lacking in the virtualisation space was a quick and painless way to implement new hardware. I’ve done a fair number of projects where small numbers of hypervisors were required in a remote branch or office, as well as the usual data centre installations.

Until the recent announcement of Evo:Rail from VMware and their hardware partners, there have been all sorts of designs to incorporate multiple hosts and shared storage. On top of this there’s also the major issue of mis-configuration between different installation engineers, especially when you are implementing this strategy across multiple countries and timezones!

Hoping for something that will ease my troubles in this area, I took on the Evo:Rail challenge in VMworld Barcelona. Working from a blank set of Evo:Rail hardware, I was overseen by VMware’s own Mike Laverick, who was very helpful in setting up the event.

I was given a sheet of paper with the correct settings and informed that there were several deliberate mistakes in the default config that I had to locate and correct during the install. On top of this, I was competing against another individual and I was going to be timed to see if I was quick enough to make the final!

As it turns out, I fat fingered the admin password at the start and then after the install had to guess what my mistake was. In total I lost well over a minute trying different combinations (thankfully I can touch type!), but I still managed to complete the install and configure task in 18 minutes and 16 seconds. Plus, I also beat my opponent, who was around a minute and a half behind me.

However, we were both winners, having managed to configure 4 hosts in one appliance, from nothing to fully complete in under 20 minutes. Nothing short of an astounding and innovative approach to a problem I have encountered a number of times.

Well done Mike, VMware and the gang! :-)

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