8 Reasons Why vSphere 5 is Coming Out on Top

The market heavily anticipated vSphere 5 and its arrival disappointed none. However, it comes packed with nearly 200 new and enhanced capabilities and that can make it a little difficult for some to figure out which features are best to exploit in any given scenario.

The tips listed below will get you started in understanding which may mean the most to you and your company.

200 enhancements and solid performance but …

By all accounts, VMware’s latest release of its virtualization platform is a solid product, with much to be hailed from the 200 new enhancements added to the a mature and broad ecosystem.

VMware vSphere5 is “the most user friendly virtualization solution on the market today,” said Janusz Bak, CTO of Open-E, an enterprise class storage management vendor. The new version brings plenty of technological improvements “which are mostly transparent to the user” he added, and the GUI in version 5 “provides a few nice but not really significant improvements from the user perspective.”

However, it also packs a few reasons for a concerned frown.

Among these are concerns over the broader cloud strategy, which includes more than just vSphere and involves “orchestration, automation and portal tools that are not as mature,” said Eric Chiu, president and founder of HyTrust, a preferred VMware partner.

High costs are another concern, he said, as are the “lack of security and compliance controls to ensure adherence with industry and legislative mandates, as well as corporate governance.”

But it is the “new licensing based on virtual RAM usage” that gives Bryan Semple pause. “It will negate much of the value of consolidation; pushing CIOs to consider alternatives such as Hyper-V for anything but most mission critical applications,” said Semple, who is CMO at VKernel, a subsidiary of Quest Software.

Nevertheless, the point is made even, if not especially so, in the criticisms. vSphere 5 is still the prime cut and the drawbacks do not dull the claim. As with any major software upgrade or investment, it is best to know as much as possible before undertaking any deployment.

To held with that, Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, has outlined eight check list items CIOs should know before taking the plunge:

1. Increased size of the virtual machine (VM): Before vSphere 5, it was typical to find eight processors and 256 gigabytes of memory assigned to a VM, while the hardware had 24 processing cores or more. When virtualizing the most resource-intensive applications, that meant that some CIOs were not able to virtualize large databases and application servers. Now, with vSphere 5, 32 processors and as much as a terabyte of memory can be assigned to a VM. That means IT pros’ hands are untied. They can now virtualize the most business-critical application or computing workload with confidence.

2. Enhanced distributed resource scheduling: vSphere 5 gives IT managers the ability to use additional metrics, such as storage IO performance to automatically distribute workloads. If the storage requirements of a particular VM are too intense, resources can be moved to other VMware servers, giving IT pros the ability to get more servers virtualized on less hardware without sacrificing performance.

3. Oversubscribe with confidence: vSphere 5 is aware of solid state drives (SSDs), so IT pros who have been accustomed to overcommitting their memory resources, betting on the fact that not all memory will be used at any given time, can now allocate their resources with confidence. With strategic placements of SSDs, memory constraints can become a thing of the past.

4. Enhanced security: With the VMware vShield 5 product family, users get the opportunity to simplify security and eliminate the need for multiple software agents and security policies. vShield App is a hypervisor-based application aware-firewall that installs on each vSphere host to create a “trust zone” of logical and dynamic application boundaries rather than the physical boundaries associated with traditional security offerings. In addition, vShield App includes a network Layer 2 firewall optimized to support intrusion prevention systems (IPS) from VMware security partners.

5. Improved availability: Typically, if a company is running multiple VMs on a single piece of physical hardware and that server crashes, the business has lost all of those VMs instead of just the one physical server. But in vSphere 5, if a company is running multiple physical servers and one goes down, vSphere can automatically take all of the virtual machines that were running on the one that crashed and bring them up on the remaining intact hardware. The servers stop at the crash, but are rebooted as they are moved to the remaining physical servers. While this technology is not new, with vSphere 5, there are significant enhancements that allow this to happen faster and in more complex scenarios.