On stage at VMworld 2012, VMware’s annual event held this year in San Francisco, CA, VMware announced their latest virtualization and cloud hypervisor. Part of this announcement includes their vision of the first solution that creates a software-defined data center. In the confusing cloud computing market, VMware is attempting to differentiate their vision by touting how their new vCloud suite is the ideal (and first ever) solution to create a software-defined data center (SDDC).
Certainly this vision of the SDDC is a long-term vision that isn’t completely fulfilled in today’s vCloud Suite 5.1, but it is a unique and powerful vision that sets VMware apart. As an example of how virtual data centers of the future, as part of a software defined data center, can help IT pros think about the time it takes to provision new storage, network, server, OS, and applications related to new server implementation (even with virtualization). Because the physical storage and network are still involved, this provisioning takes five days on average, according to VMware. With the new software-defined data center, this can take as little as three minutes.
The five core tenants of the SDDC are: standardized, adaptive, automated, holistic, and resilient. Can VMware offer a 100 percent software-based data center that fulfills these traits? VMware says that they can.
Let’s find out more about the products that make up this suite and how they can help you.
With this announcement, VMware’s flagship product will be called the “vCloud Suite.” This suite of products is made up of a number of different solutions that can be purchased in a single license (however, some can be bought separately).
Here is how the solutions lay out:
Additionally, the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) has been vastly improved.
This suite can also be extended with other VMware products such as vFabric Application Director, vCenter Operations Management Suite, vCloud APIs, vCloud Connector, and vCenter Orchestrator.
There are an incredible number of new features in what is dubbed a “point release” – that is, vSphere 5.1. I like that VMware now offers their entire suite of flagship products in a single SKU and has a vision for the “software-defined data center.” As VMware continues to fulfill this vision, it’s foreseeable to be able to run an entire datacenter in just two or three massively powerful servers, all with virtualized software, networking, and cloud automation.
Since this release offers a great number of advanced powerful around networking, security, and storage, it was difficult to narrow the list down to just a few favorites. Even so, here is what stood out:
If there was any feature that fell flat, for me, it is the new vSphere Data Protection. VDP (based on EMC’s Avamar) is a good backup tool, especially as it is included for free with every version of vSphere starting with Essentials Plus. However, I was disappointed that this new replacement for VDR takes away the ability to backup VMs to SMB shared storage (which was offered in the previous version, VDR). What this means is that VM backups can only go to VMFS data stores. With all the backups on a VMFS data store, how do you get them offsite? The new VDP also has the same limitation as VDR in the sense that it can only backup up to 100 virtual machines. Thus, just like VDR, VDP won’t compete with the commercial backup tools and is only for SMBs where you know you won’t scale beyond that limit.
Overall, the SDDC vision is ambitious, unique, and it does a good job in attempting to differentiate VMware from their competition in the world of cloud computing. The new vCloud Suite 5.1 is impressive and powerful. I applaud VMware for delivering annual releases of their flagship products that offer so many new features.
Finally, perhaps one of the best received messages of the VMworld 2012 keynote is that VMware’s unpopular “vRAM Pooled Pricing” has been abolished and pricing is now only per-CPU. Hoorah!