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VMware Ushers in Large Number of Product Updates

By Chris Preimesberger (Send Email)
Posted October 18, 2016


VMware is virtually bursting at the seams with product news right about now.

The world's largest virtualization software maker, which only two months ago announced a major new cross-cloud strategy and platform at its largest conference of the year (VMworld 2016, Las Vegas), made a barrage of product announcements Oct. 18 on the opening day of its VMworld Europe customer event in Barcelona.

VMware announced updates in the forms of vSphere 6.5, Virtual SAN 6.5, vRealize Automation 7.2, vRealize Log Insight 4.0, vRealize Operations 6.4 and vSphere Virtual Volumes 2.0. All of them are expected to become available before the end of the calendar year.

This is all in addition to the big news that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is now providing native support for Google's Kubernetes container management system on the VMware Photon platform. Read Sean Michael Kerner's eWEEK story here for more details.

It All Comes Back to Making Cross-Cloud Systems Usable

"The main focus of all of this is to allow our customers to run, manage, connect and secure their applications across clouds--both private clouds and public cloud—and across devices, to give them a common operating environment in a consistent way to do that," Mark Lohmeyer, VMware's Vice-President of Products in the Cloud Platform business unit, told eWEEK.

"These new releases will help us advance that overall cross-cloud architecture strategy."

The new releases of vSphere, Virtual SAN and vRealize Automation all introduce support for containers. This is something for which a great number of VMware enterprise admins around the world have been waiting for about two years: the ability to run a VMware hypervisor in a server in conjunction with a Kubernetes or Docker container environment in order to get the best of both worlds into one system.

Portable containers of microservices are the hottest trend in agile development at the moment. VMware has products present in an estimated 90 percent of all IT systems, but its hypervisor did not support the addition of containers until only recently. Even then, the connection was incomplete—described as "cradles" in this eWEEK story from last year.

VMware's Cross-Cloud Architecture offers consistent deployment models, security policies, visibility and governance for all applications, running on- and off-premises, regardless of the underlying cloud, hardware platform or hypervisor, Lohmeyer said.
 
VMware Cloud Foundation features next-generation, hyper-converged infrastructure for building hybrid clouds. It does this by integrating VMware's highly scalable hyper-converged software (VMware vSphere and VMware Virtual SAN) with the world's most ubiquitous network virtualization platform, VMware NSX, into a unified software-defined data center platform.

What's New in VMware vSphere 6.5

VMware is stressing heavily that vSphere 6.5 will be easier to navigate and use. It features a simplified user interface along with increased automation and management capabilities, improved built-in security and support for new application types, including containers. vSphere 6.5 offers users a universal application platform that supports traditional and modern applications—including 3D graphics, big data workloads, cloud-native, containerized machine learning and software as a service—to run any application anywhere, Lohmeyer said. (To see a larger view of the image, right-click on the image and select "View Image.")

The new release will feature:

--VMware vCenter Server Appliance will deliver a simplified building block for vSphere environments, offering an easy-to-deploy and manage approach that reduces operational complexity by embedding key functionality into a single virtual appliance. The appliance will offer customers easier patching, upgrading, backup and recovery, high availability and more, including a 2x increase in both scale and performance of their vCenter Server environments, Lohmeyer said.

--REST APIs aim to improve both the IT and developer experience by enabling greater control and automation of virtual infrastructure for modern applications via new REST-based APIs.

--Based on HTML5, the new VMware vSphere Client will simplify the administrative experience via a modern, native tool that meets the performance and usability needs and expectations of users for day-to-day operations.

--VM Encryption is new virtual machine-level encryption that will protect against unauthorized data access safeguarding data at rest as well as virtual machines that are moved with VMware vMotion.

--Secure Boot is a new feature that will prevent the tampering of images as well as the loading of unauthorized components into vSphere environments.

--VMware vSphere Integrated Containers will allow IT operations teams to provide a Docker-compatible interface to their app teams enabling vSphere customers to transform their businesses with containers without re-architecting their existing infrastructure.

What 's New in VMware Virtual SAN 6.5

This is VMware's fifth update of the hyper-converged Virtual SAN (storage area network) in less than three years. The new release adds support for containers and physical workloads and also offers iSCSI support, which is designed to eliminated networking hardware costs from two-node Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) configurations. It also adds all-flash hardware support to Virtual SAN Standard Edition.

vSAN will support high-capacity 512GB hard disk drives and solid state drives (SSDs).

In Q4 2016, VMware said it will update the Virtual SAN Standard Edition to introduce support for basic all-flash configurations.

What's New in VMware vRealize

VMware added a number of updates to its cloud management platform, with significant enhancements to vRealize Automation and vRealize Log Insight. To better address the needs of developers and IT teams, VMware vRealize Automation 7.2 introduced out-of-the box support for Microsoft Azure as well as new container management capabilities.

With this new release, Lohmeyer said, the ability of IT and DevOps practitioners to use unified service blueprints to simplify the delivery of integrated multi-tier applications with application-centric networking and security will be extended to Microsoft Azure, as well as currently supported clouds including Amazon Web Services, VMware vCloud Air and the vCloud Air Network.

VMware Cloud Services: New Hybrid Cloud Solutions for the Enterprise

VMware's main goal as a company is to help usher its customers into the public cloud by using VMware vCloud Air Network and VMware vCloud Air. A common reason for cloud adoption is Disaster Recovery as a Service, and for this purpose, VMware vCloud Air Network recently introduced VMware vCloud Availability for vCloud Director to the ecosystem of more than 4,000 service providers located in more than 100 countries offering VMware-based cloud services. Go here for more details.
http://blogs.vmware.com/vcloud/2016/10/enterprise-solutions-for-hybrid-cloud.html

As part of the Oct. 18 series of announcements, VMware also introduced the beta of a new vCloud Air disaster recovery package. The new offering is designed to provide the security and isolation of a dedicated cloud environment combined with the simplicity of a replication solution that is directly integrated into vSphere and optimized with SD-WAN technologies.

Pricing and Availability

Pricing for VMware vSphere starts at $995 per CPU. VMware vSphere Integrated Containers is a new feature of vSphere 6.5 (also supported on vSphere 6) and will be available for VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Edition customers at no additional charge.

VMware Virtual SAN list price starts at $2,495 per CPU. VMware Virtual SAN for desktop list price starts at $50 per user. VMware Virtual SAN Standard Edition now includes support for all-flash hardware.

Originally published on eWeek.
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