Comparing Rail Tickets with Ford Cortinas

I’ve recently been doing quite a bit of work with VxRail recently – Dell EMC’s hyper-converged appliance – and I’m very happy to report that it really does deliver probably the easiest way to get a VMware cluster built and working, with the added benefit that when you need to add more capacity (compute power, storage or both) that it really is as simple as plugging a new node in and switching it on.


This then leads me off on a slight tangent – please bear with me. People often look at the price of a train ticket and complain that it looks really expensive in comparison for the petrol for a same journey by car. But that’s rather missing the point. The train ticket doesn’t just cover the price of the fuel, but also includes the provision and upkeep of the train itself, the tracks, the stations, the guard, the driver and so on.  Comparing the price of going by car, one should really also include the price of road tax, insurance, wear and tear (tyres, etc.) as well as the fuel. Oh, and the wages for a chauffeur!


VxRail is kind of similar.  When you buy a VxRail appliance, you’re not just buying a shiny new box with some disks, memory and CPU. You’re buying a complete, pre-engineered system that’s fully integrated, complete with automation software to make sure that it installs first time (and in about 30 minutes) and that it can be scaled-up not just now, but years into the future with little more than a couple of clicks. When comparing this with a ‘DIY solution’ comprising a bunch of separate servers and some form of shared storage, it’s important to remember the cost of your time to set it all up. Installing VMware onto four hosts, configuring LUNs, getting fibre channel or iSCSI to work, making sure the firmware versions of NIC cards and RAID controllers are all compatible, all takes a lot of time. This time isn’t free – and needs to be taken into consideration. Plus, the subsequent costs of looking after a home-grown solution.


So really, a VxRail solution needs to be looked at just like a train ticket – once you factor in all the extra hidden costs of a DIY solution, suddenly the ‘single ticket’ that does it all for you makes a lot of sense.