VMware Releases vSphere 4 to the Clouds

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-05-21

One month to the day after announcing the impending arrival of vSphere 4, virtualization market leader VMware on May 21 released for general availability the latest version of its industry-leading hypervisor development package.

vSphere 4 is the first major upgrade to VMware's main product in three years. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is dubbing vSphere 4 a "cloud operating system" that enables the delivery of IT infrastructure as a service within a company's IT system.

"Cloud computing" is a term used to describe services offered over the Web from remote data centers.

vSphere 4 amounts to a rebuild of VMware's core virtualization platform, called ESX. Basically, it combines virtual resources in the data center into one centrally managed pool of computing power. The new platform also provides the foundation for enterprise IT departments to connect their own homemade private clouds behind a firewall with those of partners-or established public cloud services, such as those provided by Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com.

vSphere 4's second purpose is to facilitate delivery of IT infrastructure as a service to enterprises, so IT departments can build their own private cloud systems to provide business services internally for the company and for trusted partners, supply chain participants and other business associates.

In short, VMware wants to become the system of choice to run enterprise data centers, and further, to enable these complex systems to reach out and touch others in order to gain business advantages.

"Cloud computing has become known as the next big thing and is now sort of a buzzword, but we believe that with vSphere 4, we can make cloud computing a reality," Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's vice president of product marketing for servers, told eWEEK.

Lew Smith, an analyst and practice manager of virtualization solutions for Interphase Systems, a consulting services provider, told eWEEK that he was "blown away" by the demo he saw. But he urged caution for potential users at the outset.

"VMware delivers on their promise; vSphere 4 is finally available for purchase and upgrade," Smith wrote in his blog. "However, don't jump just yet ... if you're running products such as Lab Manager, Stage Manager, Lifecycle Manager, Site Recovery Manager or View 3, you don't want to budge.

"Why? They're not supported yet ... my biggest concerns are View and SRM, and I'm hearing that they will be supported in the second half of 2009," Smith wrote.

VMware vSphere 4 is available in six editions, ranging from small businesses to large enterprises and government organizations. Pricing starts at $166 per processor for all-in-one virtualization solutions for small businesses and goes up to VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, which is priced at $3,495 per processor.

For more information, go here.


Rocket Fuel