VMware intros vSphere 5 and cloud infrastructure suite

VMware has upgraded its vSphere platform and introduce a new complex cloud infrastructure suite to its already burgeoning catalog of virtualization and cloud computing solutions.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

VMware has upgraded its vSphere platform and introduce a new complex cloud infrastructure suite to its already burgeoning catalog of virtualization and cloud computing solutions.

Speaking at a media event in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, VMware CEO Paul Maritz spoke broadly about the evolution of virtualization, noting that his company is "taking the next step in the journey to this more automated world." However, to continue on this path, Maritz said that cloud computing needs to "become easier to manage" and "less costly to operate."

Dr. Stephen Herrod, VMware's Chief Technology Officer, added that this is VMware's "largest coordinated release of software we've ever done."

Basically, vSphere 5 is a continuation of VMware's "IT transformation journey" and the successor to the vSphere 4 generation. Now that virtualization is becoming the norm, vSphere 5 steps in as the latest platform with approximately 200 new and enhanced basic features for the purpose of delivering better performance from business-critical applications stored in the cloud.

Here's a snapshot of a few of them:

  • vSphere with Profile-Driven Storage & Storage DRS: Enables users to map their storage systems together into logical entities within as "few as three clicks." Users can organize items into pools themselves, addressing questions about capacity, bandwidth and I/O performance.
  • vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0: Targeted towards small and medium businesses, this capability offers the "illusion" of shared storage, which delivers all of the power of vSphere without the IT costs and complexity of shared storage
  • vSphere 5 with Autodeploy:  Uses Pixi PXE Boot to turn on a server, grabs the image and configuration to fit seamlessly in the existing pool, and then adds these new capabilities to the system within minutes
  • vSphere with Network and Storage I/O Controls: Can deny additional power and services to other virtual machines while allotting the designated amount of workloads to each virtual machine when using demanding applications

Partners for this project include Verizon, Singapore Telecom, and NYSE Euronext, among others.

Encompassing vSphere 5 is VMWare's new cloud infrastructure suite, which consists of several layers beyond the new generation of vSphere. The first two consist of the vCenter SRM and Operations, which are designed for monitoring and managing the infrastructure. This includes the vCenter Site Recovery Manager that enable users to replicate data on the primary site to a secondary site (especially in disaster situations) almost seamlessly at a lower cost. Users will also be able to move back to the primary site once it is ready.

Naturally, security is one of the biggest factors when it comes to cloud computing, thus there is an entire level dedicated to that, aptly named vShield Security. This layer encompasses capabilities that permit IT departments to migrate security policies, identify risk exposures resulting from unprotected data and isolate applications depending on trust levels.

It's not all about innovations coming from IT. Maritz argued that "many techniques being pioneered in the consumer mobile space are coming back and having an influence in the IT space."

This is reflected in the top layer of the suite, vCloud Director, which serves as an eye into the suite and as a mechanism that users can modify their cloud experiences. The portal, which will soon be available for the iPad, runs on top of APIs and enables users to add and organize necessary cloud apps.

VMware reps noted that they incorporated a "much requested" function to this layer called vCloud Director 1.5 with Linked Clones, which reduces the virtualization provisioning time to as few as five seconds and saves storage space up to 60 percent.

Additionally, VMware also touched on the hybrid cloud model, in which customers will have the flexibility to take apps from the internal private cloud and slide them out to a public cloud, and vice versa when switching between cloud service providers.

vSphere 5 will be licensed per-processor basis. However, one new change here is that VMWare is eliminating physical entitlements of CPUs and RAM per servers by replacing them with a single, virtualization-base entitlement of pooled virtual memory: vRAM. Thus, each vSphere 5 CPU license owner will be entitled to an allotment of vRAM that can be spread across the user's vSphere environment.


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