Cloud Infrastructure: VMware Takes Wraps Off vSphere 5
VMware CEO Paul Martiz took the stage July 12, 2011, at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco to take the lid off the VMware vSphere 5 platform and a suite of complementary cloud infrastructure solutions, all designed to meet the needs of what he describes as the cloud-led “transformation of IT.” Here are some insights from VMware’s keynote presentations ahead of vSphere 5’s estimated Q3 2011 launch.
Maritz said existing IT infrastructures simply can’t meet the needs of the “Facebook generation.” What the IT world needs, he said, is a new platform for new applications, delivered to new kinds of devices such as tablets and smartphones as the laptop finds its dominance as primary Internet portal threatened.
The IT Transformation Journey
This is where VMware comes in. There are three parts to the so-called “IT Transformation Journey,” Maritz said: IT production, business production and IT as a service. VMware’s VI 3 met that first checkpoint, as VMware estimates that 30 percent of workloads were virtualized using the technology. vSphere 4 bumped that number to 40 percent as virtualization began to enter business production, he said.
And now, Maritz noted, the rising growth of the cloud service delivery market means that 50 percent of all workloads are virtualized, with an accelerating rate of growth going forward.
vSphere 5 Unveiled
Which brings us to the VMware vSphere 5 suite. The core vSphere product, as always, has been designed to be a high-performance resource control, pooling and scheduling solution. It’s complemented by VMware vShield 5 for security, VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 for business continuity, vCenter Operations for monitoring and management and vCloud Director 1.5 for policy reporting and self-service.
Taken as a whole, he said, vSphere 5 provides a high-availability, high-performance foundation for public cloud services and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Moreover, VMware is hyping the potential for vCloud service provider partners to create hybrid clouds with customers using vSphere for private cloud infrastructure on-premises. It’s all about choice, Martiz said.
VMware CTO Stephen Herrod walked attendees through some technical details of vSphere 5. Key to the growth of virtualization in the IT market, Herrod said, is enhancing the capabilities of the virtual machines themselves. vSphere 5 supports what Herrod jokingly referred to as the “Monster VM,” with 1 terabyte of memory and 32 virtual CPUs.
And over at vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5, vSphere 5 introduces replication, enabling twice as many applications to be backed up for the same cost. In addition to automated failover, VMware is hyping the new “failback” option, so when a primary site is available again after an outage, Site Recovery Manager can automatically shunt backups back to the primary site.
Moreover, vSphere 5 is built with enhanced self-service, with VMware vCloud Director gaining the ability to provision and scale cloud services and applications from a familiar app store-like interface. And a new “Linked Clone” feature in the software can reduce provisioning time to as little as 5 seconds, according to VMware, with storage pooled across all the cloned VMs, potentially reducing storage costs by 60 percent.
And automation-wise, Herrod hyped “Intelligent Policy Management” – the ability for the service provider to set policies for things such as business continuity and other aspects of service level agreements, and have VMware vSphere automatically optimize itself to match. Unlike the cloud automation solutions provided by competitors, vSphere is smart enough to “skip steps” in defining a workflow, Herrod said.
VMware vSphere Appliance, a separate but related product also announced, turns server storage into cloud pools, helping SMBs dodge the costs of shared storage while gaining benefits including business continuity and disaster recovery. Expect more details on that appliance later on TalkinCloud.
VMware vShield also gets a refresh, with new features including vShield Edge, which enables service providers to create isolated infrastructures, while expanded support for “trust zones” helps meet security and availability guarantees.
In addition to the new technology, VMware has come up with a new licensing model: Whereas VMware charged for vSphere 4.x based on the core per processor and physical RAM per host, both are unlimited with vSphere 5. Users simply pay per processor, with a certain allocation of vRAM pooled across the entire vSphere environment.
It’s a far more cloud-friendly model that takes the shackles of physicality off the service provider, said CMO Rick Jackson. The formerly six pricing packages become five, with customers on the lower end getting bumped up. Jackson noted it’s a move meant to simplify VMware’s billing model and make it easier for customers to understand.
VMware gave us a lot of information to process, and I’m expecting more details and channel perspectives on VMware vSphere 5 to emerge as we get closer to that third-quarter launch date. But the central theme of the event was that of a smarter, more automated cloud that makes it easier for providers to deploy modern clouds for modern applications. Stay tuned to TalkinCloud for more.