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A 3 Minute Guide to VSPEX [ EMC ]

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on September 26, 2012 by Elliott McWhirter

What the heck is VSPEX all about anyway?

VSPEX is a very secure, clear path to the private cloud. Translation: it provides customers with a virtualization solution that allows for flexibility when selecting storage, compute, data protection, server, networking and server and desktop virtualization software. This is done by leveraging a reference architecture. This is a fancy way of saying that EMC has done all of the leg work by certifying a range of hardware and software components that will work with your private cloud.

These components are comprised of leading vendors like Cisco, Brocade, Citrix, VMware, Intel, and Microsoft. The idea is that by bringing together multiple vendors, EMC will be able to counter compatibility issues because they are providing options that match the technology many organizations are already using in their environment, whether that’s Cisco or Brocade for networking or VMware or Microsoft for virtualization software.

Further than that,VPSEX stays independent at the server and switch level so components can be provided by any vendors that match the performance requirements even if they are not EMC alliance partners, such as Dell, HP and IBM.

This is in contrast to other solutions in the marketplace that skew towards a prescriptive approach where only A, B, C and D are required to make the solution work. With VSPEX, EMC is providing a wider range of end users with a simpler path to the cloud precisely because the solution is compatible with competing solutions within each layer of the stack.

What’s in the box, the box?!

Currently, there are 14 unique configurations that boil down to 5 options:

-VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop solutions for 250 to 2, 000 users
-VMware based private cloud for up to 125 or 250 virtual machines
-VMware based or Microsoft Hyper-V based private cloud for 50 or 100 virtual machines

These configurations represent the two different use cases served by VSPEX: end-user computing (1st bullet) and server virtualization (2nd and 3rd bullet). While the solutions above are clearly scalable, part of the beauty of VSPEX is that you don’t need to be exact with the users or machines. If you have 1, 024 users or 57 virtual machines, the reference architecture is still valid.

Here’s a quick look at the components/vendors that make up a VSPEX box.



Unified Storage

Server Virtualization

End-User Compute

Data Protection


Cisco UCS









Data Domain


What organizations are a good fit for VSPEX?

The majority of organizations have an opportunity to deploy a VSPEX solution because it’s built around the core pillars of simplicity, flexibility and efficiency.  The flexibility has been highlighted above but the simplicity and efficiency become very clear once you understand the power of the reference architecture.

Two of the biggest challenges IT teams face when deploying new technology is the pre-launch testing and by association, the time to market. By its very nature, the VSPEX reference architecture considerably reduces the interoperability testing IT teams need to conduct because the testing has already been done, verified and guaranteed  by EMC. With testing already done, the time to market is equally minimized highlighting the simplicity and efficiency of the solution.

What do you think? Is VSPEX a natural fit for your organization? What questions do you have about VSPEX? Sound off in the comments below.

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