RAIS… Don’t you mean RAID…. Nope! No I do not. It means redundant array of inexpensive servers.
This all started with the Xserve journey prior to Apple killing it off. Many people who implemented this either put in a Mac Pro or even a Mini as hardware backup to the main Xserve. V2 of the RAIS Theory was the released of a Mac Pro with a Mac Mini leaching off it to eventually V3 being two Mac Minis.
All of these had a common issue apart from the Xserve which was a lack of KVM, Remote Management and AC power switching. This usually added lots of money or it needed to be housed onsite and not in a data centre. Manual leg work was required if the thing didn’t power back on if it for once did completely hang. But How has VMware filled this gap and fixed the weaknesses in RAIS
Well my view for this in a real world usage it is win-win solution for managing Apple devices and remote office deployments. Basically get yourself a few nice spec Mac Minis, add some shared storage, A VMware licenses for your what you need. This then equals a great remote office solution, mac management, MDM, deployment much better than an AD plugin
A bit of a bad joke but its all about the right tool for the job. In some cases its like putting VMware in rather than Hyper-V! Unless you are an SMB or a MS House stick with the known brand! (VMware in this instance). So now you think this is costly, well be surprised its around £4500 for a synology with SSD / 3TB storage, Mac Mini + SSD + VMWare Essentials vs £4600 for a similar spec tower Dell*. With the solution you at least get resiliency to a bigger scale and power savings overall.
How can can save even more. Well thats simple buy 2nd user Xserve or Mac pro of both on the VMware HCL and you can spend even less than then £4500 with Xeon processors to boot!
*Specified around Jan 2015