VMware vSphere 5: Aiming to Make IT Infrastructure 'Go Away'

vSphere 5, which touches storage, networking and security, is the largest integrated software product ever launched by VMware.

SAN FRANCISCO-A significant number of IT professionals already know this and aren't going to like hearing it, but VMware CEO Paul Maritz believes that "most people just want [IT] infrastructure to go away."

So VMware is here to help enterprises do this by selling them vSphere 5, a new cloud computing infrastructure suite it launched July 12 that essentially is a one-stop shop-mainly for midrange companies and SMBs-for running a new-generation data center. vSphere 5 ostensibly makes IT go away by utilizing software and services that replace traditional data center hardware.

"Virtualized infrastructures are really the new hardware," Maritz said at a press conference at the Terra Gallery that was streamed live on the VMware site. "You just want to plug it in and make it work."

vSphere 5, whose predecessor vSphere 4 came out about a year ago, is the largest integrated software product ever launched by VMware, Chief Technology Officer Steve Herrod told conference attendees.

vSphere 5 includes as its key components vShield 5 (security), VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5 (disaster recovery) and VMware vCloud Director 1.5 (cloud management). The new platform is designed to automate as much of the lower end of the management stack as possible and make it simpler for non-IT experts so that they can "set it and forget it" when it comes to monitoring and managing cloud infrastructures and provisioning storage for workloads running on VMs, Maritz said.

iPad Version of Management Interface

VMware also announced that it has made available an iPad version of the management interface in the Apple App Store.

The generalization about wanting IT to go away may or may not be true, but since it does play directly into VMware's approach to conquering the IT world, that's the company's strategy. And, frankly, it does expect to conquer the enterprise IT world in its own way.

"According to the folks at Gartner and IDC and such, we're on the verge of reaching the 50 percent mark of the world's available workloads running on virtual machines-led by VMware," Maritz said. "That's great. ... We've accomplished this in a relatively short time, and we're proud of our success. But we still have 50 percent to go."

With vSphere 5, VMware is offering its own plug-and-play cloud system. A key example of this type of functionality is some new storage software introduced July 12-called, succinctly enough, VMware Storage Appliance. This is not part of vSphere 5, but nonetheless can be used in concert with the new platform.

With Storage Appliance, the user loads the software, makes sure that the storage is on line and available, sets policies, and then lets it go. Everything else is automated. The software determines on what tier each piece of data is stored and enables access as necessary.

"Storage is at the core of what we do at VMware, and people have disparate types of array systems," Herrod said. "What we're doing with this is to allow people to map their storage systems together into logical entities-they might be iSCSi, NAS or SAN arrays, or whatever they have. We allow you to place the data into pools. It could be Tier 1, 2 or 3 sets of pools. We're now able to disassociate where you place a virtual machine from the physical type of storage satisfying it, and in turn, matching it up with what type of I/O expectation you have.

"So this helps handle some of the challenges we have around capacity."

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...