This is a quick first look at VMware vSphere 4. I’ll be publishing a slideshow (with plenty of meat on the bones) in the next week and an in-depth review of vSphere 4 within the next couple of weeks. I got the vSphere 4 code from VMware a few days before shipment. My first impressions are positive. Many aspects of the central management interface remain similar to the previous version of Virtual Center. It looks like it will be a fairly painless process to upgrade our currently installed ESX 3.5 hosts. I’ll be setting up vSphere 4 on a mix of older equipment and some new Nehalem-based servers that just rolled in off the loading dock. Also worth noting, the VMware Marketplace is now much more tightly controlled by VMware. My initial use of the marketplace reveals significant improvements over the virtual appliance sample area previously used by VMware. Now virtual appliances are provided in OVF (Open Virtual Machine Format). Further, acquisition of virtual appliances is provided through a standard VMware-based interface instead of whirling IT managers off to vendor web sites.
1 Here are some screen shots of my race through the installation process.
Welcome to VMware ESX 4. The opening screen (shown below) of the vSphere 4 installation. ESX 4 is a reference to the server virtualization component of vSphere 4. The overall product platform is vSphere 4.
Just a shot of the vSphere Client installation screen.
During the vSphere Client installation I was offered the option of also installing the vSphere Host Update Utility. I declined on this run through the product. Our (now) previous generation VMware Virtual Infrastructure setup is supporting active test workloads. However, running though the Host Update Utility will be one of the first things I report on when I do my full review of vSphere 4.
There are some visual changes to the client screen. Again, this is an area about which I will report more fully in my review.
Here you see that the tabbed management interface retains much of the look and feel of the previous generation product. Not much retraining here.
Notice from the previous screen, in the lower left side, the link to “Deploy from VA Marketplace.” On the screen below you see that I’ve selected a monitoring tool (pretty much at random) from a wide variety of virtual appliances. The marketplace is vastly improved from VMware’s previous attempt at providing access to virtual appliances. Notice that you can get OVF template details on other information about this third party appliance.