Papers: VMware vSphere 5.0 and vCloud Director 1.5

In July, VMware published a bunch of technical white papers featuring new features and enhancements in vSphere 5.0 and vCloud Director 1.5.

The papers present changes on different aspects of both vSphere 5.0 and vCloud Director.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Platform

This paper is composed of 12 pages and covers the enhancements on the virtual machines capabilities, ESXi Firewall, Image Builder and Auto Deploy Server.
Virtual machines in vSphere 5.0 support up to 32 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) and up to 1TB of RAM, 3D graphics, USB 3.0 devices and Mac OS X Server v10.6 “Snow Leopard”.
ESXi Firewall differs from the iptables running on a console operating system (OS) in the VMware ESX environment. In VMware ESXi, the access control capability is provided through a vmknic (VMkernel network adaptor) level firewall module.
The Image Builder is a tool for customizing the installation media of ESXi, both in the ISO and PXE Bootable Image format, to add drivers and patches. The built image can then be used within the auto deploy server to add ESXi hosts.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Storage

This paper is composed of 15 pages and covers the new version of vSphere VMFS (Virtual Machine File System), vSphere Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (Storage DRS), Profile Driven Storage and vSphere Thin Provisioning.

VMFS-5 supports 64TB large devices, introduces unified block size and improves subblock mechanism. Storage DRS will help decrease operational effort associated with the provisioning of virtual machines and the monitoring of the storage environment.

Profile Driven Storage adds SLA awareness to deploy process of a new virtualized host, with respect to storage. vSphere 5.0 suggests a configuration for the storage based on data collected with the vSphere Storage APIs, matched against the storagte profile defined for the virtual machine.

vSphere Thin Provisioning adds Dead Space Reclamation and monitoring for out-of-space conditions.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Networking

This paper is composed of 9 pages and covers the new networking capabilities, which are only available within the new VMware vSphere Distributed Switch: NetFlow, Port Mirror, Network I/O Control enhancements.

VMware vSphere 5.0 supports NetFlow v5, which is the most common version supported by network devices. This allows visibility on both intra and inter virtual machine traffic, and of course virtual machine to physical infrastructure traffic.

Port Mirror allows traffic replication on a port of the virtual switch, so the usual tools can be used for monitoring (intrusion detection systems and such).

With the release of vSphere 5.0, VMware now supports IEEE 802.1AB standard–based Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP). LLDP helps management and configuration of heterogeneous network devices from different vendors.

Similar to CPU and memory resource allocation in the vSphere platform, a network administrator through NIOC can allocate I/O shares and limits to different traffic types, based on their requirements (new in this release: User-Defined Network Resource Pools, vSphere Replication Traffic, IEEE 802.1p Tagging).

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Performance

This paper is composed of 11 pages and covers the performance enhancements in vSphere 5.0, with respect to Virtual Machine density, high availability, networking and power management.

Among the new features, an interesting one might be the splitRxMode, which allows a virtual machine to specify whether its receive packet processing should be in the network queue context or in another context. This could allow significant performance gain on applications doing a lot of multicast.
vSphere 5.0 enables multi-network adaptor mode for vMotion, which allows faster migrations of virtual machines.

What’s New in VMware vSphere 5.0 Availability

This paper is composed of 8 pages and covers VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat and vSphere® High Availability (vSphere HA) application monitoring API. It focuses on Management, Application and Infrastructure availability.
vCenter Server Heartbeat aims to provide maximum availability for VMware vCenter. This release introduces an enhanced architecture which allows both the active and passive servers to be represented as unique entities within Microsoft Active Directory.

In vSphere 5.0, the vSphere HA feature has been completely rewritten by VMware from the ground up.

vSphere Storage Appliance

This paper is composed of 9 pages and covers the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA), which provides an alternative shared storage solution for small-to-medium business (SMB) customers who might not be in a position to purchase a SAN or NAS array for their virtual infrastructure. This paper presents an overview of the VSA architecture, deployment of a VSA storage cluster, and basic monitoring and managing.

What’s New in VMware Data Recovery 2.0

This paper is composed of 6 pages and covers the performance and technical improvements in VMware Data Recovery 2.0, including the email reports and the configurable destination maintenance window for virtual machine backups.
VMware Data Recovery 2.0 introduces changes to both the general deduplication process and compression of backup data, as well as introducing some improvements to the integrity checks.

What’s New in VMware vCenter  Site Recovery Manager 5.0

This paper is composed of 13 pages and covers mainly vSphere Replication, which features a new user interface allowing administrators to manage both protected and recovery sites from a single point. A new workflow enables planned migration of protection groups from one site to another without data loss. There is now the ability to reprotect a recovery site after failover or migration and to automate the failback process for all virtual machines that have relocated. On the storage side, the enabling of vSphere Replication offers a new host-based protection of virtual machines, independent of array replication technologies.

What’s New in VMware vCloud Director 1.5

This paper is composed of 14 pages and covers virtual machine linked clones, vApp Custom Guest Propertises, vCloud Messages, the expanded vCloud SDK and API, vShield integration and the IPSec VPN services.

In VMware vCloud Director 1.0, virtual machine provisioning operations resulted in the creation of full clones, which required several minutes. This new version lowers the necessary time to one minute, leveraging the linked clones feature.

Using VMware vCloud Director 1.5, customers can now use third-party distributed switches to programmatically create VLAN-based and, in some cases, VMware vCloud Director network isolation–based network pools in a VMware vCloud environment.

Users can pass custom data into the guest operating system (OS) of vApps that are deployed in VMware vCloud Director. The vApp template author declares Open Virtualization Format (OVF) properties when creating the template. After the vApp is powered on, the OVF environment is automatically generated by VMware vCenter and published into the virtual machine on either a “virtual ISO” or the guestinfo variables.

The VMware vCloud messages feature introduces the capability to connect a VMware vCloud Director deployment with existing IT management tools in the enterprise, such as CMDB, IPAM and ticketing systems.

Thanks to Eric Sloof for providing the news..