VMware announces vSphere 5 – UPDATED

Yesterday VMware CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Steve Harrod presented a major update in VMware software stack, speaking at the online event “Raising the Bar, Part V”.

The new version of vSphere aims to be the foundation of a complete suite for virtualization and virtualization management, providing a flexible solution for all of the use cases, delivering what VMware calls “IT As A Service” (ITaaS). Read further for an overview of the new capabilities and the new licensing model.

In April this year, virtualization.info already covered some of the new expected features based on a forum post  with leaked information on a Turkish Web forum.

Below is a list of some of the new features and enhancements in vSphere which VMware announced, which are:

  • vSphere Storage DRS: storage resources can be grouped and balanced more effectively.
  • Profile-Driven Storage: vSphere helps choosing and allocating storage resources based on the Service Level Agreement (SLA) of the target VM.
  • Support for larger VMs: virtual machines can now have 32 virtual CPUs  and 1TB of memory.
  • vSphere vMotion: virtual machines can now be moved across high latency networks.
  • vSphere Autodeploy: vSphere provides a network boot based system for new installations, allowing to automate the deploy of new virtual machines ESXi hosts.
  • New version of the virtual machine format (version 8): added support for USB 3.0 devices, Windows Aero 3D graphics and OS X Server 10.6.
  • vCenter Appliance for Linux: a linux based management appliance is now available.
  • vSphere Web Client; a browser based interface for vSphere.

VMware announced an update in licensing models for vSphere, introducing vRAM boundaries, which is the amount of memory allocated for a virtual machine when it is powered on.

Licensing isn’t tied to the amount of physical memory on the server: depending on the edition, each vSphere 5 CPU license provides a certain amount of vRAM capacity. When the virtual machine is powered on, the vRAM configured for that virtual machine counts against the total vRAM entitled to the user. If more than one host running vSphere is present, the user gets a pooled vRAM entitlement: VMware vCenter can be used to assign unused vRAM entitlements to other VMs across other hosts. A complete guide to the new licensing model is available here.

The new vRAM model will likely have a large impact on most organizations, with the free Hypervisor product having a vRAM entitlement of 8GB (as per this page).