VMworld – Keynote and Announcements

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This is going to be an incredible few days as we wrap together all the information about the keynote and the big announcements that just came out. So let’s talk about what we’ve heard from the morning keynote.

vSphere 5.5

The new version of the flagship VMware vSphere ESXi platform is the new version 5.5 that adds many new features which include amazing capacity increases. How about doubling everything? Sounds good right? That’s exactly what VMware has done for us.

With vSphere 5.5 you can now increase your host RAM to 4 TB, 4096 vCPUs versus 2048, and we now have up to 16 NUMA nodes versus the previous 8 in 5.1 hosts.

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While this may not have been a limit for some of the small to medium business space, there are a lot of organizations that were near or at the limits of the previous iterations.

On the guest side, you have huge increases too, and most prominently on the disk side. The 2 TB limit on VMDK files has been lifted for vSphere 5.5 up to 64 TB on both VMFS and NFS! RDM connections to your guests is also available up to 64 TB, so growth limits are really not an issue on the storage side.

For an amazing recap of the guest storage changes, check out Chris Wahl’s post on the VMDK changes here: http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/08/26/vsphere-5-5-improvements-part-3-lions-tigers-and-62tb-vmdks/

Flash cache support with hot-plug SSD at the host is now in place for server side caching which will be a big advantage to customers now that we can leverage flash for those high performance workloads. The ability to do vMotion consistent caching in flash will be a significant improvement for your vSphere cluster efficiency and performance.

Support for 40 GB Ethernet at the host has also been added. For a lot of us, 10 GB Ethernet on the host side is more common, but the future compatibility for 40 GB is welcome as we are seeing some big increases in hardware availability on the server side. 40 GB isn’t just for the backbone network anymore!

Clouds in the forecast with vCloud Suite 5.5

The new ESXi OS comes with many other VMware products, and most prominently the vCloud ecosystem has been updated to version 5.5 also.

Improvements on vCloud include big changes on the vCloud networking side. The integration of the Nicira technologies into the vCloud suite is the most active change to the platform, and in my opinion, the most positive.

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NSX is a phenomenal technology, and as we see the full integration come over the next short while, we will see big changes in how we manage our physical and virtual networking.

For more on the operational changes and improvements in vCloud Director, Julian Wood has a nice post over here: http://www.wooditwork.com/2013/08/16/whats-new-vcloud-suite-5-5-vcloud-director/

VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)

This exciting new software-defined storage (SDS) product evolved from the vSphere Distributed Storage product into the VSAN environment offered with the vSphere 5.5 environment.

VSAN instances   Leveraging the JBOD deployment method, we can now distribute our storage across hosts, storage hardware, and the ability to apply policy to storage and fully leverage

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On-premise Cloud Foundry

Now, all of the advantages of the Cloud Foundry ecosystem can be brought into your datacenter, and the hybrid deployment capability will bring flexibility for your application virtualization using this really great product. I’ll refer you back to my predictions post from early this year, because this was one of the key products that I felt was going to be featured for VMware this year.

OpenStack

Obviously, you’ve seen some OpenStack stuff coming out of the blog here and from my Twitter feed, so the increase in OpenStack integration into the VMware ecosystem is a particularly exciting. By adding multi-hypervisor support in the networking layer with NSX, we can build out incredibly flexible cloud designs. This will be an exciting year in this area for sure.

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vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) is now General Availability

Looking back to my previous post on vCHS (VMware Hybrid Cloud  Launch Day), this a really exciting and directionally interesting product from VMware. The move from being a software and hypervisor provider to being a full-service physical and logical cloud host is new to VMware, and this is a sign of their commitment to cloud development.

Customers can use their vCloud Connector to leverage the vCHS environment to move workloads on-premises and to the cloud, plus they have different models of consumption in the public side for either dedicated cloud or private cloud.

image courtesy of VMware (click for source page)

image courtesy of VMware

The addition of two new physical datacenters to their vCHS offering, and a roadmap to expand to European markets is a start to this great offering.

So with all of that, we can clearly see that VMware has thrown down the gauntlet to industry competitors, and in fact this puts them in a class all their own.

There will be much more information that comes out through this week and I will do some more deep dives on the specifics, and some other key announcements that are happening with partner products to the VMware ecosystem.

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