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)
Inside the Sphere
I've had vSphere 4 (otherwise known as ESX 4.0 and vCenter 4.0) running in the lab for a few days now. It comprises the same parts as VI3, with ESX or ESXi running on the hosts, and vCenter running the show. Installation of these components is the same as it's always been, only now you're prevented from installing vCenter on an Active Directory domain controller, which is arguably a good idea. In fact, VMware now recommends running vCenter as a VM.
My early testbed comprised several different boxes, with a mix of Intel- and AMD-based servers, including an HP ProLiant DL580 G5 and a Sun Fire X4600 M2. I installed vCenter as a VM running under Windows Server 2008, alongside a separate domain controller, and built myself a nice little virtual infrastructure.
As I mentioned, the new Fault Tolerance feature has the ability to change lives. In a nutshell, this allows you to run the same VM in tandem across two hardware nodes, but with only one instance actually visible to the network. You can think of it as OS-agnostic clustering. Should a hardware failure take out the primary instance, the secondary instance will assume normal operations instantly, without requiring a VMotion.
The most significant penalty for this capability is that it requires the same VM footprint to run on both hardware nodes, so if it's a VM with 4GB of RAM, you'll be using 4GB of RAM on each hardware node during normal operation. However, that's small potatoes for running mission-critical virtual servers with this level of redundancy.
Host Profiles is also a fantastic addition, if perhaps overdue. Host Profiles allows admins to build a hardware host system and capture the configuration to be applied to subsequent hardware nodes. Rather than having to manually configure new nodes or even resort to scripted modifications to ESX's internal configuration files, you can now take a single hardware node and propagate its settings to other nodes. In addition, you can check for nodes that may not comply with the profile. This makes the creation and distribution of ESX hosts far simpler, once you've waded through the enormous profile management configuration tree.
While it's hot
Hot Add lets you add not only RAM and CPU but also virtual HBAs and network interface resources to supported VMs on the fly. For instance, you might be able to add another 2GB of RAM and two vCPUs to a Windows Server 2008 instance without even rebooting the box. The operative phrase here is "supported VMs." Hot adds are obviously not supported by most x86 operating systems, but this feature goes a long way toward adapting operating systems to the virtual environment rather than the other way around.
The same can be said for vNetwork Distributed Switch, the new facility to simplify provisioning and administration of VM networks. It allows for the integration of third-party virtual switches, like Cisco's Nexus product, and is a key part of Cisco's Unified Computing initiative.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft shows the power of its Pen with a new Whiteboard app and other upgrades
- Wanawiki is the WannaCry fix that might save affected PCs—if you work fast
- Microsoft redesigns OneNote UI to make it more universally accessible
- Google's Standalone VR and VPS address the clutter and clumsiness of virtual reality
- The WannaCry ransomware might have a link to North Korea
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming motherboard review
- The simple RAM buying guide
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCUAT CoordinatorQLD
- FTTRIM TrainersACT
- CCJava Developer - IntergrationQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Change and Process ImprovementQLD
- FTLevel 3 Service Desk Support Engineer / Project ManagerQLD
- FT.NET DeveloperWA
- FTImplementation Engineer - Cisco UCSWA
- FTTechnical WriterNSW
- FTSecurity ConsultantACT
- CCSolution Architect with Magento experience wantedVIC
- TPSharepoint DeveloperQLD
- FTApplication System EngineerACT
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- FTEnterprise Architect - BusinessQLD
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- CCWintel Support EngineerVIC
- FTPHP / WordPress DeveloperQLD
- CCCCNP Network EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Solution AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCSharepoint DeveloperNSW
- TPWeb DeveloperSA