vSphere 5 Cloud Infrastructure Launch Reflection

Its been almost two weeks since the webcast announcing vSphere 5 and despite all the concerns around the new licensing model that VMware has come up with, I feel (as do others in the VMware community) that the major product enhancements are overshadowed by this.

VMware saw that with the Intel and AMD chipsets going to 10 or 12 cores (and more) that the current licensing model will not scale correctly for private and public clouds to keep cost centers in check and prevent “virtual server sprawl”. We’ve all seen it in our environments – those quality assurance, development and staging servers that seem to spin off to become “isolated” platforms for other areas of the business only  to sit out there unused for days, months or even years. This is not to say that they aren’t needed or valuable, it’s just that is isn’t practical to keep them powered on and chewing up valuable resources in the cluster(s).

To review, you are licensed on the memory that is allocated and not the total amount of memory in your environment. Many engineers design N+1 or N+2 clustering in their environments to account for node failures to maintain uptime. The memory that is idle in these type of scenarios is not counted as allocated and therefore is not included in your vSphere 5 licensing cost.

The licensing will still be per processor as a foundation for how the vRAM entitlements will be provisioned. So in other words, when you buy a license, you will be given the “right” to provision how that memory will be shoveled out to virtual machines.

Anyway, the point of this post is to review some of the key features that are introduced with this new product. The main point that VMware is tying to hit home is that customers can now look at the virtual infrastructure to host 100% of their workloads. The fact that vm’s can now support 1TB of memory, 32 vCPU’s and can achieve 1 MILLION IOPs are some very compelling reasons to put your tier 1 workloads in VMware.

Another area that was focused on is the Policy Management enhancements that can provide a new level of operational service that is in line with vCloud Director. The main bullet points here are:

  • Self provisioning with “Auto Deploy” that will be accompanied by a patch process that will fully automate server maintenance.
  • Storage that is “Profile Driven”, meaning that a service level will be assigned to each deployment and will fall into a category that best suits their needs.
  • Distributed Resource Scheduling of Storage! -or- Storage DRS for short. VMware has taken DRS one step further and implemented an analysis process to the storage layer of the virtual machines to determine where the application would be be served in the environment. This also falls in line with the goal of vCloud Director.

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