The promise of virtualization has always been about improving efficiency and server utilization. It's a promise that VMware is now expanding with an updated Cloud Infrastructures Suite that has a focus on virtualization automation.
Among the key components of the suite is the new vSphere 5 release which provides new virtualization, storage, performance and automation improvements. "The cost of infrastructure at the end of the day is not the cost of the hardware and the software, it's the cost of operating it," Paul Maritz, VMware CEO said in a press conference announcing vSphere 5."Allowing people to take their resources, aggregate them into larger pools and operate them more efficiently in a more automated manner, is the fundamental starting point for this journey of transformation."
Maritz noted that at some point in the next year, over 50 percent of all server workloads will be virtualized which will be a major milestone. The new vSphere 5.0 release is all about helping to enable the other 50 percent of workloads for virtualization.
"vSphere 5 provides the resource pooling, it's what allows you to take all of your server, storage and network resources and turn those into essentially a giant automated computer," Maritz said.
VMware's CTO, Stephen Herrod noted that vSphere 5.0 can support up to 1,000 GB for RAM per virtual machine, up from only 256 GB in the vSphere 4.0 release.
In addition to the core vSphere 5.0 release, VMware is releasing vCloud Director 1.5 which provides additional virtual machine provisioning options. One of the key improvements is something called linked clones.
"I can now do my VM provisioning without using as much storage," Herrod said. "I can also respond more quickly to request for a virtual machine."
Herrod added that in vSphere 5.0 there is also something called profile driven storage. He explained that what the new feature does is it enables people to map their storage systems together into logical entities.
"This matters as we're not able to disassociate the virtual machine from the physical type of storage," Herrod said. "This in turn is matching up with what type of I/O expectations you have from a performance standpoint."
Also on the storage front, VMware is debuting a new vSphere storage appliance. Herrod explained that the new appliance takes vanilla servers and brings them together to provide the illusion of shared storage. He added that the appliance is replicated in a way that makes the storage highly available.
The vSphere 5.0 release also takes aim at security and performance with new features aimed at dealing with both noisy and nosey neighbors. Herrod noted that the noisy neighbor problem is one where certain VMs on the same server can be noisier than others and consume more resources. With vSphere 5.0 there are new network and storage I/O controls that set policies to ensure that VMs get the resources they need while limiting the effects of a noisy neighbor.
The nosey neighbor on the other hand is a VM that is attempting to look at data on other VMs on the same platform. The new sensitive data discovery feature is an attempt to protect against the nosey neighbor.
"What we're able to do with this is take governance and compliance requirements and recognize what that says about data that is allowed to be inside of a system," Herrod said.
Herrod noted that by knowing where the sensitive data is a VMware administrator can take additional precautions in a shared infrastructure to protect data.