VMware Leads the Way
Now that VMworld is upon us, it's time for my yearly cover story on the market leader. VMware continues its journey down the path to cloud supremacy by concentrating on innovative new technologies such as advanced application models, comprehensive management offerings and, my favorite, the software-defined datacenter. The practical application of this phenomenon is productized as what VMware calls the Virtual Datacenter, a virtualized, server-based product that is in effect a virtualized software representation of an entire datacenter, from compute and storage across the board to networking and security. Yes, Microsoft is gaining some ground with the new Hyper-V 3, but VMware is hardly shaking in its boots.
Sticking with VMware, we proudly present ace reviewer Logan Harbaugh's look at VMware View 5.1. Harbaugh reports View 5.1 is a "big advance" over previous versions because of features such as a storage accelerator that substantially improves load times for clients, and support for 3D graphics running on the server rather than the client. PCoIP, which has been previously criticized for its lack of functionality, comes through with new cut-and-paste capabilities for both rich text and graphics, as well as support for up to 1MB of content.
This new version of View enables Persona Management, which stores the unique system data about a user's login, applications and other information such as browser history. In View 5 this was stored on a virtual machine (VM), but version 5.1 supports moving the Persona Management user profiles to a physical machine. This allows users to have both a physical machine (a PC in the office) and a second VM (a View client running on a laptop or a home PC). It also lets users synchronize the profile between both machine types, ensuring that recently used files, browser bookmarks and other data are kept in sync between the two systems.
The View client has been unbundled from View server software so clients can be updated independently of server software. This means the server software doesn't need to be updated if only the client for Windows or another platform needs to be patched. There's also a new download center on VMware.com for downloading the clients.
How-To Guy David Davis takes the opportunity to talk about VMware vCloud Director, which enables public, private and hybrid clouds. "Just because you have a vSphere infrastructure doesn't mean you have a cloud," Davis notes, adding: "Sure, you can call it that if you want, but it doesn't meet the minimum requirements of self-service and multitenancy. What makes that vSphere infrastructure into a true cloud is vCloud Director." He goes on to describe how the product is an abstraction layer that offers a self-service portal and support for multiple tenants, before declaring: "Why not get ahead of the curve and start learning vCloud Director? That's my plan."
Virtual Insider Elias Khnaser sums up his column thusly: "Microsoft is dubbing Windows as the cloud OS, and rightfully so, as most workloads today are running on Windows platforms that lacked the wherewithal to power the cloud prior to Windows Server 2012." It may take a while to get used to Windows in that new role.
Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.