VMware’s vSphere platform has been lauded by several partners and the industry as addressing key virtualisation technology issues while driving cloud computing take-up.
VMware claims vSphere 4 extends its previous generation Infrastructure 3 platform by building a greater level of efficiency and control over application security and service levels. The release is available in six versions, ranging from an essentials package through to an Enterprise Plus edition for datacentres. It has been hailed as the stepping stone needed to bring virtualisation to the internal corporate cloud.
“With this update, VMware has moved from a datacentre play with its vSphere platform to a cloud play,” IDC associate director, Linus Lai, said. “I can see where it is coming from – by moving away from the datacentre to take virtualisation to the cloud, VMware will resolve some of the issues with cloud computing for customers.
“Previously, it [cloud computing] required people to trial something on the cloud provider’s interface. vSphere 4 uses the same interface as previous editions, so there’s not really any additional training needed.”
VMware officially launched the vSphere platform to partners at an event in Sydney last week. Ingram Micro business manager for VMware, Tertius Bezuidenhout, likened the oversubscription turnout and hype around the platform, to the buzz Java triggered in the industry in the 1990s.
“Given the economic conditions, it was a very positive sign,” he said. “The manageability of the platform, as well as the fault tolerance capabilities of it, are what we see as the biggest benefits.”
From a managed services provider’s point of view, the increased functionality of vSphere made it easier to virtualise more, Virtual.Offis CEO, Craig Allen, said.
“Not everyone has felt comfortable with running virtual servers in the past, but this is a trend I think is changing now, and it’s being driven by big servers that are simply taking up too much power,” Allen said. “Our time on the beta program with vSphere addresses a number of problems we’d experienced with virtualisation – the big one is the ability for vSphere to fix problems we’d have with virtual switches. In the past, VMware and Cisco didn’t communicate too well for instance.”
Allen claimed anybody using Cisco networking tools would benefit from the new vSphere release.
“ISPs and managed service providers will also appreciate the increased patching capabilities,” he page 1 said. “It’s much easier for us to provide capacity on-demand through the new vSphere – it takes us around 10 minutes to build a virtual server and about 15 clicks of the mouse to add capacity for customers. “Previously, the promise of the platform didn’t always live up to the reality, but now on a technology level I think it does.”
Thomas Duryea was another VMware partner involved in the vSphere beta. National practice manager, Stan Sotiropoulos, said the integrator found the higher levels of fault tolerance, and greater CapEx savings potential of the new version, as the most compelling propositions.
“The new version integrates new security and features on the various layers,” he said. “We found version 3 to be great, and being involved in the beta process, providing VMware with feedback and the like – it hasn’t slowed down its momentum going into the new release in the slightest.”
Data#3 national manager of marketing and alliances, Mark Phillips, also had high hopes the vSphere platform would be adopted quickly. “The platform upgrade offers a lot of technology implementation opportunities, in terms of investment and pull through,” he said. “There are opportunities there to add hardware into the platform to improve a customer’s consolidation.”
One complaint thrown at the vSphere platform is the way customers will be locked into a VMware solution. IDC’s Lai admitted the solution involved a fair amount of commitment for customers.
“The reality is that not everybody uses VMware, and it won’t be for everybody, but it will solve a number of issues for those customers that are with the vendor,” he said.