A short blurb on a product that I didn’t know that Rockwell Automation had—a rack-mount compute platform that can be used as a virtual machine server.

The information did not come through a traditional press release. It was a New Product Spotlight with a request to run in the products section. Well, I’m not a magazine or traditional media, so I don’t have a “products section.” However, I have great empathy for PR firms these days. They really have to push to keep clients happy in a tough market with demanding client executives.

Given that I’ve been spending so much time at IT conferences and everyone speculates about what Rockwell is up to, I found this one intriguing. “The new VersaVirtual appliance from Rockwell Automation provides all the computing, networking and storage capabilities needed to deploy and maintain up to 15 virtual machines in one ready-to-use appliance.”

Two key features:

First, it avoids the potential pitfalls of a do-it-yourself virtualized architecture. This appliance is pre-engineered. It arrives as a complete product from one source.

Second, it is an Industrial Data Center with scaled down cost and complexity for smaller applications.

They even remove the objection of needing an IT department. The VersaVirtual appliance comes with one-year remote monitoring and administration so that users receive around-the-clock system monitoring to help prevent downtime. Customers will also receive support from certified IT/OT professionals who have an average response time of three minutes to help resolve technical issues.

It is a hyperconverged (compute, networking and storage) appliance for entry-level virtualization. And the benefits: Virtualization brings an average of 74% decrease in total cost of ownership, reduces downtime, adds compute capability, and comes with trusted IT/OT services and support.

Looks like an entry-level IT platform from the OT leader. Interesting.

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