VMware's big new release turns the corner on machine virtualisation, and toward next-generation management of virtual machines
- Life should get easier if you're running a VMware infrastructure, can add up to eight vCPUs to a single VM, increased RAM limit
- Time will tell whether its features are as solid as they need to be
VMware vSphere 4.0 touches on almost every aspect of managing a virtual infrastructure, from ESX host provisioning to virtual network management to backup and recovery of virtual machines. Time will tell whether these features are as solid as they need to be in this release, but their presence is a substantial step forward for virtual environments.
Price$ 3,145.00 (AUD)
VMware vSphere 4, out today, is a big release, with plenty of new features and changes, but it's not your run-of-the-mill major update. The new features, which range from VM clustering to agentless VM backup, are especially significant in that they may mark the moment when virtualisation shifted from the effort to provide a stable replica of a traditional infrastructure to significantly enhancing the capabilities of a virtual environment.
In short, if you're running a VMware infrastructure, life should get easier. For anyone who's ever tried to provide rock-solid OS-based clustering services, the new VM clustering feature, called Fault Tolerance, should be a vast improvement. Hot Add of CPUs and RAM has never really been an option for most shops, but it suddenly is (with the right OS, of course). These moves show that VMware is still pushing the virtualisation envelope.
Considering the scope of the upgrade, perhaps "VMware Infrastructure" did warrant a new name, but let's hope that VMware stops there. The company has a bad habit of changing the names of its products every few months, and it's getting tiresome trying to explain why VirtualCenter, vCenter, VI3, V3i, ESX, ESXi, and now vSphere are all basically the same product or parts of the same product suite.
Along with new features and improvements, vSphere brings more hardware resources to VMs. You can now add up to eight vCPUs to a single VM; previously, VMs were limited to four. The new RAM limit is 255GB, up from 64GB. The ESX hosts themselves can now support up to 64 cores and 512GB of RAM. Also — though I haven't had a chance to test this — it appears that you can map raw PCI devices to a specific VM.
VMware's also making some noise about performance enhancement for key technologies, such as claims of 20 percent performance improvement in Microsoft SQL Server throughput, and a claim of a 10x performance bump for iSCSI. That last claim may be just a bit exaggerated, as it appears to be based on the support of 10Gig iSCSI interfaces, rather than an improvement in VMware's internal iSCSI software initiator, which has always been a bit sluggish.
Speaking of performance, the performance graphs and data available in vSphere is much improved over the current release, with a more intuitive layout and better overall access to specific information regarding the performance of a VM or a host.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 D-Link Taipan AC3200 Ultra tri-band modem-router review
- 3 Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Making the very best Ultrabook
- 4 Microsoft Surface Book review: The verdict on Microsoft's first notebook
- 5 Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III review: Testing the world's first 600Mbps wireless hotspot
Best Deals on PC World
Latest News Articles
- Michael Dell talks to EMC World about massive merger
- Telstra commits $50 million to cut mobile outages
- Do Apple’s financial results mark the end of the golden smartphone era?
- Slump continues as tablet markets records worst quarter since 2012
- As more devices flood the market, security spending on Internet of Things heightens
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- FTSenior Project Manager, SoftwareNSW
- CCSenior ICT Project OfficerACT
- CCSAP BASIS ConsultantVIC
- CCBusiness Project ManagerAsia
- CCAnalyst Programmer (JAVA/Windows Programming) 160428/AP/143Asia
- FTSenior Project Manager - Payroll IntegrationVIC
- CCNV2 - System Administration / Application SupportACT
- CCInfrastructure Engineer - Windows, VMWare, HyperVWA
- CCEnterprise Architect (Security)NSW
- CCSystems TrainerVIC
- FTMs Dynamics Nav Support Analyst- Level 1/2WA
- FTTechnical/Team Lead - .NetNSW
- CCMid or Senior Developer - Mobile Applications - (iOS)NSW
- CCSales Development Executive - Software SolutionsNSW
- CCOperational Team LeadVIC
- CCSenior Frontend DeveloperNSW
- CCScrum MasterNSW
- CCWebOps EngineerVIC
- FTDesktop SupportNSW
- FTLevel 2 IT Field Systems Engineer/Administrator - Multiple opportunitiesNSW
- CCIntegration Delivery Project ManagerNSW
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCApplication Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior Technical ConsultantVIC
- CCOnline Shop Operations Consultant (eCommerce)VIC