Clearpath’s Blog on IT Infrastructure, Hybrid Clouds and IT Security

VMworld 2013 Day 1 Highlights

Posted by Jason Shiplett on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 @ 10:31 PM

Welcome to Clearpath’s coverage of VMworld 2013 in San Francisco.  We have a team of engineers in attendance this week, where we’re learning about the latest and greatest releases from VMware as well as bulking up our knowledge of best practices, architecture improvements, and innovations in the industry.  We’ll be providing additional detail over the coming weeks as additional information and documentation becomes available, and as our virtualization team works to upgrade the beta versions of these products in the Clearpath labs to the GA versions.

VMworld 2013 Day 1 Highlights

The Monday morning keynote at VMworld is typically the launch pad from which VMware announces new efforts, as well as product updates and releases, and this year has brought much the same. With much fanfare, VMware today announced a slew of product updates, as well as new products and services. Without any further ado, let’s dive in:

VMware vSphere 5.5

A new version of VMware’s flagship cloud infrastructure platform has been announced.  The major focus here is around a doubling of compute capabilities, further enabling businesses to virtualize tier-1 and business-critical applications (Note: Clearpath Solutions Group is a Virtualization of Business Critical Applications (VBCA) Competency Partner). 5.5 also introduces new features that build on the Software Defined capabilities of the platform.  Among those are:

  • vSAN: the pooling of local disks (SSD and spinning disks) from ESXi host servers to create scalable, highly available, distributed storage. vSAN storage will be multi-tiered, where data always hits SSDs for high performance, then is staged down to spinning disks for capacity.  vSAN allows the user to take local disk, with a minimum of one SSD and one HDD in at least three nodes in a VSAN cluster, and present it as a unified block datastore to all of the hosts in the VSAN cluster. It utilizes the SSDs as read cache, while using the HDD as its mass storage component. Also, while VSAN was announced today, it is in public beta and will not be released until the first half of next year (2014).

  • vFlash: Using ESXi host’s SSDs as a Read Cache.  Common blocks read from your SAN will be stored in SSD for high performance reads. This will reduce the load on your storage infrastructure, making your existing storage more efficient while accelerating workloads.

  • vSphere Replication enhancements: Greater scalability and flexibility in topologies allow per-VM and per-VMDK replication from site-to-site and site-local copies for backup and disaster recovery, as well as unique use cases such as reporting, analysis, and data center migrations.

  • VMDKs up to 62TB in size (the previous limit was 2TB).

  • vCenter Single Sign-on has been rewritten to provide simpler deployment, easier administration, and greater resiliency.

  • Application Aware High Availability (App HA), based on VMware Hyperic, provides application monitoring that allows the vSphere platform to take action to restore a failed app in the same way that vSphere HA would recover from a failed ESXi host.

VMware vCloud Director 5.5 - Most of the new features of vCloud Director 5.5 are operational in nature or improvements in the GUI that had been lacking in previous versions. Some things that stand out to me are:

  • Configuration of VM CPU, disk, and network
  • Customization of hardware settings during vApp deployment
  • OVF import and export
  • Content catalog enhancements

VMware NSX

Since the purchase of Nicira for $1.25B back in 2012, we’ve been waiting for a major software-defined networking release based on Niciratechnology. Now, we finally have it (well, at least we will in a few months (4Q13)). There’s a lot to cover here, so we’ll just hit the high notes (notes cribbed from VMware Office of the CTO Blog):

  • Logical switching and routing - Major improvement over vCloud Networking and Security 5.1
  • Bridging to physical - integration with the physical network using the NSX controller and help from partners
  • Distributed firewall - stateful firewall, allows for integration of partner devices
  • Logical Edge Services - Also a major improvement over vCNS 5.1, full support for dynamic routing protocols, VPNs, load balancers, and IP services

vCloud Hybrid Service

VMware’s foray into the world of Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers has now become generally available for public consumption. VMware seems to be positioning vCHS as a one-stop shop for all of your VMware vCloud needs, surprisingly including Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service and Desktop-as-a-Service in their initial offerings. Also announced was an expansion of the strategic partnership between VMware and Pivotal with the announcement of Pivotal CF, a Cloud Foundry-based Platform-as-a-Service offering, which would be hosted on vCHS.

That’s it for today! Check back tomorrow for another recap of the day’s happenings.

Topics: VMware, News & Updates, VMworld

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