vSphere 4.1 includes improvements most new data center software brings to the table: faster performance, more scaling capability and better management control. But an upcoming change in VMware's vCenter licensing model is also worth noting.
VMware on July 13 came out with a new version of its mainline vSphere
virtualization platform that is aimed directly at cloud computing in markets it
wants to penetrate more effectively: the small and midsize business sector.
already has deployments in nearly 90
percent of the Fortune 1000 companies and in many other large enterprises not
included in that listing. Where else is there to go but smaller for the world's
largest virtualization software maker?
SMBs do most of the world's commerce, and the IT-selling upside in those
markets over the next decade is huge. As more smaller and midrange businesses
add to their IT deployments, more virtualization of assets is sure to follow.
VMware is stepping up the revs on its main product. vSphere 4.1 was released
July 13, about 14
months after vSphere 4 started shipping.
VMware hadn't updated the platform
for three years prior to Version 4.
vSphere 4.1 includes improvements that most new data center software brings to
the table: faster performance, more scaling capability and better management
control. The continuing growth of data in all its forms and the need for more
granular control over it demands these improvements.
"We have designed vSphere 4.1 to solidify its existing capabilities and to
extend and enhance it to be the right platform to build cloud
infrastructures," Bogomil Balkansky, vice president of product marketing
in VMware's server unit, told eWEEK. "We've built vSphere 4.1 for
enterprises and service providers alike."
Balkansky said the three biggest upgrades in vSphere 4.1 are that it can handle
larger clusters of nodes and more virtual machines under a single instance of
the vCenter Management Console; it has improved quality of storage and
networking service for VMs running on vSphere; and it brings improvements in VM
density and consolidation ratio that will save companies money over time.
vSphere 4.1 now can manage 3,000 VMs per cluster-up from 1,280-and it can now
manage up to 1,000 physical hosts, up from 300, Balkansky said.
One VMware vCenter Server can now manage up to 15,000 VMs, three times as
many as before, Balkansky said. With the addition of new memory compression
technology, vSphere 4.1 improves the performance of systems processing heavy
loads, resulting in up to 25 percent faster performance over previous
implementations, he said.
vSphere 4.1 also enables faster VM migrations through speed and scale
enhancements to vMotion, Balkansky said. This improvement delivers faster
platform response by migrating VMs up to five times faster and enabling up to
eight concurrent vMotion events per source.
In vSphere 4.1, "The new efficiencies [help] decrease unit cost per
virtual machine," Balkansky said.
With more and more VMs sprouting up anywhere and everywhere-especially in large
IT systems-these improvements can lead to substantial cost savings for an
enterprise, he said.
VMware changes pricing model for some customers
There was another significant development July 13 that will be affecting all
VMware customers that use the company's management products.
Starting Sept. 1, VMware is changing its pricing model for customers that use the
vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vCenter AppSpeed and vCenter Chargeback data
center software. No longer will VMware charge a licensing fee per physical
node; from now on, it will be billing customers on a per-VM-basis.
Specifically, it will bill on active VMs-not VMs that are sitting idle.
VMware's management tools include a monitor that keeps track of all VM
activity. Once per year, it will spit out a report that will serve as the SLA
(service-level agreement) for VMware's licensing bills.
"Per-VM licensing for VMware vCenter CapacityIQ will take effect in the
fourth quarter of 2010," the company said. The new model is for vCenter
Thus, it looks like VMware is taking advantage of the mushrooming number of VMs
handling IT workloads. Certainly there is more opportunity for profit in per-VM
licensing than in licensing physical nodes and allowing IT managers to create
VMs to their hearts' content.
Not necessarily, Balkansky said.
"We're doing this in response to fairly strong customer feedback that to
realize the best value from the platform is to manage more virtual
machines," Balkansky said. "For many customers, the virtual machine
has become the new unit of internal cost accounting and chargeback.
"Secondly, another factor is to have better alignment in usage for what
you pay for."