VMware have announced their latest release of vSphere, which will soon be released for GA as vSphere 5.1.
vSphere 5.1 brings a number intresting changes from my point of view, both technically and license wise.
As you may remember the release of vSphere 5.0 brought a much debated change to licensing, which was vRAM entitlement.
It still remained per processor licensing but depending on the about of vRAM configured per VM would affect if you needed to by addition processor licenses to run those VMs, or even upgrade to the next edition up (say standard to enterprise) even though the customer did not need those features, it was more "cost effective".
I've spoken with many VMware partners can customers who found this a big issue for them and a few even went down the hyper-v route purley based on cost. I could problably rant for a while on this, especially regards to quotes teams quoting but not knowing VM requirements so how can they quote the right licenses.
In vSphere 5.1 VMware have done something I commend them for and thats remove vRAM entitlments from their vSphere licensing model. Thats right! No more limits of vRAM per CPU licenses - gone! Back to how it was!
Additionally in regards to technical improvements, new features and changes we have the following:
vSphere Web Client is now the core administrative interface for vSphere!!! Wow! This new flexible, robust interface simplifies vSphere control through shortcut navigation, custom tagging, enhanced scalability, and the ability to manage from anywhere with Internet Explorer or Firefox-enabled devices. Update manager however does not work via this (so back to the vSphere client for that).
Even larger virtual machines (monster monster VMs), upto 64 vCPUs per VM and 1 TB of vRAM. Standard edition is 8 vCPUs, Enterprise 32 vCPUs and Enterprise Plus 64 vCPUs - simply huge!
New virtual machine v9 format, which brings the support for larger virtual machines, CPU performance counters and virtual shared graphics acceleration designed for enhanced performance.
vSphere Distributed Switch, Enhancements such as Network Health Check, Configuration Backup and Restore, Roll Back and Recovery, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol support and deliver more enterprise-class networking functionality and a more robust foundation for cloud computing.
Single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) support, Support for SR-IOV optimizes performance for sophisticated applications.
vMotion, vMotion (zero-downtime migration) without the need for shared storage configurations. This new vMotion capability applies to the entire network.
vSphere Data Protection, Simple and cost effective backup and recovery for virtual machines. vSphere Data Protection is a newly architected solution based EMC Avamar technology that allows admins to back up virtual machine data to disk without the need of agents and with built-in deduplication. This feature replaces the vSphere Data Recovery product available with previous releases of vSphere.
vSphere Replication, enables efficient array-agnostic replication of virtual machine data over the LAN or WAN. vSphere Replication simplifies management enabling replication at the virtual machine level and enables RPOs as low as 15 minutes.
Zero-downtime upgrade for VMware Tools, After you upgrade to the VMware Tools available with version 5.1, no reboots will be required for subsequent VMware Tools upgrades (for Vista/2008 upwards)
vSphere Storage DRS and Profile-Driven Storage, integration with VMware vCloud Director enables further storage efficiencies and automation in a private cloud environment.
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