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SAN FRANCISCO — VMware is betting more on hardware, announcing today a new family of hardware-software blends that will help the data center software company sell more of its software on custom-built boxes.

VMware announced a small option, EVO: RAIL, as well as a version that spans an entire data center rack, EVO: Rack. The former product was developed in an environment “somewhat like a startup,” VMware chief technologist Duncan Epping wrote in a blog post. And speaking before the VMware faithful at the company’s annual VMworld conference today, chief executive Pat Gelsinger went out of his way to make the company sound edgy.

“The core innovation engine at VMware is alive and well,” Gelsinger said.

Not that VMware is going it alone. Hardware partners Dell, EMC, Fujitsu, NetOne, Inspur, and Supermicro will do the selling, Gelsinger said. Even so, VMware wants to give companies new styles to consume its core software for creating virtual machines, each of which can run applications, on each physical server. And as VMware has ventured into storage and networking software, its wants to provide a convenient physical infrastructure for consuming it. That makes sense.

Or, to use Gelsinger’s words, “EVO is essentially an SDDC [software-defined data center] packaged with hardware into a single easy-to-use solution.”

Altogether, the strategy could push adoption of VMware’s virtualization software as well as the newer VMware products. Time will tell if the the strategy works.