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vSphere Set for Debut

Get ready for a big announcement from VMware next Tuesday. Although VMware hasn't made it official, everyone in the virtualization community knows VMware's going to be releasing the first broad details of VMware Infrastructure 4, which is going to be re-named "vSphere".

It's been a long time coming for most virtualization administrators, who have been using VI3 for several years now.

Make no mistake, though: this is going to be big. Very big. It will serve as the first glimpse of the specifics of the Virtual Datacenter Operating System (once known as VDC-OS), and provide a substantive roadmap for VMware's future in the clouds. Will VMware lap the competition again, or will the vision be misty and underwhelming? I don't know, but I do know there's a lot riding on this.

Some of the features expected to be included with vSphere (gotta admit, I do like the name better than VMware Infrastructure):

  • Distributed vSwitches, including, presumably, the Cisco-manufactured Nexus 1000v vSwitch
  • Fault Tolerance, which promises to improve on the already solid High Availability
  • VMsafe, the third-party API for adding security onto vSphere. This feature has been the longest-coming of the anticipated upgrades
  • Host profiles
  • Thin-provisioned virtual disks

This is only a partial listing of what are expected to be the most significant features. But they alone are enough to get excited about.

On the downside, DABCC is reporting that there will be limited support for theVMware Management & Automation suite. That includes key products like Lifecycle Manager, Lab Manager, Site Recovery Manager and Stage Manager. Note that this hearsay evidence, and may or may not be true (although the authors claim to have heard it directly from VMware). If true, this would be a curious omission. I'd think that not supporting so much important technology out of the gate might suppress vSphere sales, in the same way that Windows Vista's initial lack of drivers and compatibility with older programs hurt its sales. We'll see.

Are you looking forward to vSphere? Let me know what you want most out of it. Also, if you have questions you'd like me to ask VMware, e-mail them to me or put them in a comment box below. I'm taking a briefing soon with the company on vSphere, and would be happy to pass along your inquiries.

Posted by Keith Ward on 04/15/2009 at 12:48 PM


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