Five vSphere 5.0 enhancements you may have missed

VMware's licensing changes have overshadowed the host of new features and enhancements found in vSphere 5.0

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4. What about moving a virtual machine's disk files with Storage vMotion?

Storage vMotion enables live migration for running virtual machine disk files from one storage location to another without any downtime or service disruption. VMware vSphere 5.0 features a redesign of this popular Storage vMotion feature, making it more efficient than before.

Storage vMotion no longer uses Change Block Tracking to record disk changes during the vMotion process. Instead, it uses a new feature called Mirror Mode, which enables a single-pass block copy of the source disk to the destination disk by mirroring I/Os of copied blocks. To ensure that both disks stay in sync, the source and destination disk both acknowledge each write.

Another major enhancement is that you can now live-migrate a VM that has active snapshots, something that wasn't possible with the previous release. This capability will be in more demand as it runs on side of other new features found in vSphere 5.0.

5. Where is the networking love? What about any networking changes?

For the most part, it's probably a safe bet to say that VMware administrators have been bothered and upset with the level of detail or the lack thereof when it comes to networking. To be fair, if you've never used VMware ESX prior to VI3, you really don't have much to complain about. Networking capabilities back then were more or less non-existent. And vSphere 4.x has done a much better job with networking; but the latest release is finally plugging holes and filling in the gaps. While it still may not be perfect, these latest networking updates are making good progress.

vSphere 5.0 has improved the network administrator's ability to monitor and troubleshoot virtual infrastructure traffic by introducing NetFlow V5 and Port Mirror (SPAN). Support for LLDP (Link-Layer Discovery Protocol) has also been added, which simplifies the network configuration and management in non-Cisco switch environment.

VMware has also enhanced Network I/O Control (NIOC), introduced in vSphere 4, to help prioritize VM traffic. Previously, VM traffic was grouped together in a single pool, keeping you from prioritizing individual VM traffic and ensuring critical workloads would receive enough network bandwidth. This has now been resolved. NIOC enhancements target the management of I/O resources in consolidated I/O environments with 10-GbE network interface cards. The enhancements to NIOC enable customers to provide end-to-end quality of service (QoS) through allocating I/O shares for user-defined traffic types as well as tagging packets for prioritization by an external network infrastructure. Key enhancements include the ability to create user-defined resource pools, support for vSphere replication traffic types, and support for IEEE 802.1p tagging.

VMware vSphere 5.0 offers a significant number of exciting new features and enhancements, and provides organizations with the necessary technology to feel comfortable with becoming fully virtualized. The features found in this latest release should also prove compelling enough to consider implementing or upgrading an existing VMware environment ... if you can accept the licensing changes.

Now that the licensing issue has subsided somewhat, what is your organization thinking? Will you stick with vSphere 4.x, or will the above features and the laundry list of other enhancements be enough to get you to make the switch? And if so, what features are the most compelling to your decision making?

This article, "Five vSphere 5.0 enhancements you may have missed," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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