VMware EVO:RAIL is a set of hyper-converged infrastructure appliances VMware sold with hardware partners from 2014 to 2016. EVO:RAIL appliances combined storage, compute and hypervisors designed to create virtual machines (VMs) faster and provision storage more quickly.

The EVO:RAIL program was one of several ways VMware sold vSAN software, but the EVO:RAIL appliances never caught on. VMware ended the program after the release of vSAN 6.2 in 2016.

EVO:RAIL featured VMware software -- vSphere, VSAN, vCenter Log Insight and the RAIL engine, the software designed to configure, administer and speed the deployment of VMs -- and hardware from various VMware partners.

According to VMware, EVO was short for "evolution" and was the first of VMware's hyper-converged infrastructure offerings. RAIL referred to the rail mount on the 2U, 4-node server platform.

Each node contained 192 GB of memory, three 1.2 TB serial-attached SCSI 10,000 rpm hard disk drives, dual Ivy Bridge processors and a 400 GB solid-state drive. For networking, each node had two 10 Gb Ethernet NIC ports.

The original VMware EVO:RAIL hardware partner list announced at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco included Dell, EMC, Inspur, NetOne, Fujitsu and SuperMicro. At VMworld Europe 2014, VMware announced the addition of Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi Data Systems to the list.

Before the VMworld announcement, there were rumors of EVO:RAIL under the names MARVIN and Project Mystic.

This was last updated in December 2014

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Are you considering an EVO:RAIL deployment?
We are very much considering an EVO RAIL deployment. We've seen a demo of it, and it was really impressive. We're a fairly small company, and while we use virtualization, but it's a small Xen deployment, and I think we've gone as far with it as we can. We've discussed moving to VMware, but the complexity and infrastructure was intimidating. EVO RAIL reduces both of those, and the size fits our business pretty closely.