VMware launches new versions of their key products

Today VMware announced new version of their flagship products vSphere, VSAN and NSX. Additionally a tighter integration with vCloud Air services combined with NSX network virtualization allows private and public clouds to be joined in an easy and secure way not known before. Last big announcement was the integration of a fully working OpenStack environment into the vSphere stack, so setting up OpenStack-based clouds running on VMware vSphere is now a matter of minutes and needed knowledge about OpenStack is limited to a minimum. This integration furthermore is free of charge for all vSphere Enterprise Plus customers.

Digging a bit deeper, let's see which key improvements vSphere and VSAN really brings with version 6.

vSphere 6.0 (the official name) brings more than 650 improvements and new features. I always have some problems to cheer a "WOW" only based on huge numbers because most of these 650 improvements are probably "under the hood" or better described as bug fixes than really big improvements. As expected, VMware raises the limits for VMs and hosts and clusters, so for today you can build up VMs with up to 128 vCPUs and 4TB of RAM, the hosts itself can now use up to 12TB of RAM, the VM density per host is doubled and the number of hosts in a cluster is doubled from 32 to 64. This is probably due to VSAN as a bigger cluster supports more VSAN instances resulting in higher IOPS possible.

Other things to mention here are support for long distance VMotion (roundtrip time has to be below 100ms), VMotion across vCenter installations, a huge improvement in Web client speed (that was really important).

Regarding storage, as already mentioned, VSAN was also published in version 6.0 which adds support for all-flash environments, so you are now able to build VSAN completely based on flash devices. Also added support for up to 64 instances and, perhaps this is somewhat new to many of you, support for tier1 applications. In older versions, VSAN was targeted at Dev or VDI environments but as VSAN works really well, productional use is now admitted.

Another real cool feature for all that don't want to go with VSAN is support for virtual volumes or vVols. vVols are a construct of using direct 1:1 mappings from VMs to storage LUNs and offhosting several features from the kernel to the storage system itself. This makes the storage working faster as native storage capabilities can now be used (e.g. snapshots or cloning) but also enables the user to use the storage in a policy-driven way. So no need to think about RAID sets or LUNs, simply use policies to specify your VMs storage capabilities and then let the storage do the rest. Most storage vendors already have or announcesd support for vVols which shows the acceptance of this new technology from the hardware vendor side.

Currently there are only some marketing slides available that explain some of the new features and downloads of the new versions is not available but you can expect the amount of downloads and information around the new versions to grow fast within the next few weeks.

In my opinion, vSphere 6 and the other management applications around vSphere are very good and seem to higher the gap between VMware and the competitors. But the most important thing for me as a long-term VMware user is the amount of time and effort VMware spent on the alphas, pre-betas and beta programs. The quality of the last major versions wasn't that good as I was used from VMware for a long time so I hope and expect vSphere 6 to be much more stable, fast, convenient and rock-solid than the 5.x tree. And that's the reason why someone would spent much more money for a hypervisor and management environment based on VMware, because he wants a well proved ans stable platform to run his critical business applications on it.

Don't care about any marketing/selling slides that compare only maximum numbers or tell you how inexpensive a solution is. Trust the vendor with the most stable platform. And for a long time that was VMware and I hope to see them back at pole position in this special ranking.

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