With the release today of the vSphere 5.1 virtualization platform VMware shows that it remains the pacesetter in data center virtualization. One year after the release of version 5.0, vSphere 5.1 is outfitted with new features that significantly improve how the product will work in small- to medium-sized IT shops while continuing to provide industry-leading enhancements for capabilities that are used by enterprises of all sizes.
You can read my full review here.
VMware also changed how it charges for the platform. As announced at VMworld last month, the vRAM pricing model that was introduced just one year ago with version 5.0, has been scraped and the product is now sold on a per CPU socket model. There are a wide range of vSphere editions. Representative price points range from the Standard license that lists for $995, Enterprise at $2,875, and Enterprise plus at $3,495. vSphere is also available as part of the new vCloud Suite. The suite list prices range from $4,995 to $11,495. A direct comparison to competitor products (basically Windows Server with Hyper-V plus a variety of Microsoft System Center products) puts VMware’s class-leading platform at to the premium end of the virtualization scale.
A new web-based client, automatic deployment features, and replication capabilities that don’t require a shared storage array all bolster vSphere 5.1 when compared to Microsoft Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V. Increased virtual machine CPU and memory limits, an enhanced virtual switch, and significant improvements in virtual machine tools—along with a host of other features should be welcome additions for large data center operators.
There are competitive alternatives that IT managers should compare when looking at a virtualization platform. Based on my work with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and with the release candidate version of Server 2012, which was finalized and shipped last week, IT shops still likely have enough reason to consider the VMware competitors. For shops that already use Windows Server and Microsoft System Center tools, Hyper-V is still initially easier to turn on and slipstream into use when compared to a full-blown VMware installation. I looked at Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 earlier this year and found that it was worthy of consideration, and not just for its lower licensing cost.