VMware came out with barrels blazing today, unveiling version 5 of its vSphere virtualization platform, an upgraded suite of cloud infrastructure apps, and a virtual appliance tailored for small-to-midsize businesses.
The added polish to vSphere -- which promises superior app performance through "monster" VMs (virtual machines), boasts more intelligent management tools, and includes a more cloud-friendly licensing scheme -- could well extend VMware's lead over virtualization rivals Citrix, Microsoft, and Red Hat.
Meanwhile, with its cloud infrastructure suite honed to address security, disaster preparedness, and provisioning, VMware clearly has its sights set on being the go-to vendor for emerging cloud offerings.
Also part of today's announcement: The VMware vSphere Storage Appliance, which provides advanced vSphere features to servers without requiring a back-end SAN or NAS.
vSphere 5 is alive!
The new release of vSphere is capable of supporting VMs that are up to four times more powerful than those of previous versions, according to VMware. These new VMs can support as much as 1TB of memory and 32 virtual CPUs, and they can process in excess of 1 million I/Os per second. The result: better performance and scalability for virtualized applications.
On the administration side, VMware said that vSphere 5 now delivers intelligent policy management, enabling an automated "set it and forget it" approach to managing data center resources. That means, for example, that an admin could define policies and operating parameters for server deployment or storage management, then let vSphere take it from there.
VMware introduced additional features aimed at easing storage-management pains. Profile-Driven Storage lets admins provision storage at a scale, eliminating the need to provision VMs on a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, the new SDRS (Storage Distributed Resource Schedule) enables admins to combine storage resources from several volumes into a single pool, called datastore clusters. Once workloads are assigned to a cluster, vSphere 5 is capable of intelligently load-balancing traffic based on predefined policies in order to reduce bottlenecks.