VMware this week officially launched vSphere v4 at its headquarters in Palo Alto. vSphere is the long awaited 64 bit successor to VMware’s ESX line of virtualization solutions.
Written to take advantage of the Intel Xeon 5500 “Nehalem” chipset; vSphere has about 150 new features compared to ESX. vSphere has an incredible (in my opinion) amount of partner support on its rollout and VMware CEO Paul Maritz was joined on stage by John Chambers, Michael Dell and HP’s John Mouton at the product launch.
Touted as the industry’s first cloud operating system, vSphere’s feature set is very robust. Created to appeal to both SMB and Fortune 100 clients, vSphere supports both application and infrastructure services. On the application side vSphere handles availability, security and scalability. Availability and security have always been sticking points in the typical virtualized environment and vSphere handles these challenges with firewall, intrusion prevention and detection services while larger sites and institutions should be able to utilize Dynamic Resource Sizing for scalability.
Via a number of partner solutions, vSphere has support for storage, network and compute infrastructure services. Cisco Systems is using vNetwork as a foundation for the Cisco Nexus 1000V soft switch, which works via an API with vSphere. And to date 25 VMware partners have built storage solutions to support vStorage new thin provisioning functionality.
The launch event was also used to detail out the vCloud initiative; VMware’s ecosystem of cloud service providers and application providers. To date over 1000 application providers have certified Web2.0, SaaS, Linux and Windows applications to run as vApp applications in the VMware Cloud.
A key advantage that VMware has with vSphere compared to competing virtualization solutions is that the VMware team is wholly focused on virtualization (and at this point cloud computing) This gives VMware quite a leg up in terms of product support staff, adoption of industry virtualization standards like Open Virtualization Format (OVF) and with R&D effort for point and major new releases of the product.
Priced starting at $999 for a 3 server “package” for its SMB focused VSphere Essentials up to $3,495 per CPU for its Enterprise Plus product, vSphere is a big step forward in the cloud computing industry and in future articles I will delve into a bit more detail about vNetwork and vStorage solutions partners are building for vSphere.