Friday, July 3, 2015

vSphere 6 – VMware is heading toward VM-aware



VMware vSphere 6 was released in early February 2015.  The must read “Mastering VMware vSphere X” book series for vSphere 6 is already available.  There are tons of blog posts on what is new in vSphere 6 available on the Internet that we can search for.  I had been busy with doing bug fixes for OpenStack right before and after the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver.  My second OpenStack bug fix was submitted upstream and merged last week. It is difficult to have the mind switch between technologies for me.  This is also why I had not published any new blog post lately.  I will try to blog about my experience being an open source code committer in the coming days. 

VMworld 2015 is coming and I predict that there will be lots of new product or feature announcements in the End User Computing area.  Before more new things to learn I have made up my mind to at least catch up with what is new in vSphere 6.

What's new in vSphere 6
The official “what’s new” information page from VMware listed the following:

Compute
  •  Increase Scalability
  • Expanded Support for new chips sets, devices, drivers and guest OS
  • Support for NVIDIA GRID vCPU
  • Instant clone
Storage
  • VM-aware Virtual Volumes
  • Storage Policy-Based Management
Network
  • Per-VM Distributed vSwitch bandwidth reservation
  • Multicast Snooping (IGMP snooping for IPv4 and MLD Snooping for IPv6)
  • Multiple TCP/IP stack for vMotion
Availability
  • vMotion Enhancements
  • Replication-Assisted vMotion
  •  Expanded support for Fault Tolerance (up to 4 vCPUs instead of just one)
Management
  • Content Library
  • Cross-vCenter Clone and Migration
  • Enhanced User Interface
Duncan Epping (@DunccanYB) had a much more detailed summary post on this subject.  For anyone who is involved in VMware related technologies, it is highly recommended to visit his blog "Yellow-Bricks" regularly as there are lots of good contents. According to him the vVol (Virtual Volume) is the “flagship feature” of the vSphere 6 release. I totally agree with Mr. Epping. 

VM-aware is the trend
In fact, if you look at the list of “what’s new”, lots of the items are feature enhancements.  Originally when I write this post the title was “Catching up on what’s new in vSphere 6”.  As I dig into “what’s new”, I see that VMware is making its product VM-aware.  I think it will eventually be heading toward application aware.  I am not an expert in Cisco product (yet).  Cisco is marketing ACI – Application Centric Infrastructure which is also heading toward the same direction.  

There is no new thing under the sun”, both VMware and Cisco and among some other companies are seeing the need to have the data center infrastructure to be application aware so that we can provide the intelligence to run the infrastructure more effectively.  Another important benefit for the infrastructure to be application aware is – SECURITY. 

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of having a data center infrastructure is to run business application so that a business entity can earn money.  It is the application that we want it to run efficiently and securely.

To have the infrastructure VM-aware or even application aware, it must be agile so that it can react to the dynamic changes.  vMotion is one example of dynamic changes.

Policy
Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) is the first step of providing support for VM-aware infrastructure.  With software providing an abstraction level to all the elements of the data center, operators/administrators can automation changes as well as to define policies which are the rules of how things should happen according to specified characteristics of a virtual machine.  The technology is still advancing and we can look at the defined policies as being the intelligence of the infrastructure.  The entire data center infrastructure, be it storage or networking reacts to changes according to the defined policies.  One common theme about the characteristics of a policy is that it is “declarative”.  Policy being “declarative” only specifies the end result and not how to attain the result.

Industry Convergence
In the OpenStack world, VMware is investing heavily on a project call “Congress” while Cisco is investing on “Group based policy”, it is interesting to see how the IT industry converge into a common way of providing an infrastructure for business application to run both efficiently and securely.

Reference:
 "VMware Virtualization for Desktop & Server, Application, Public & Hybrid Clouds | United States." VMware Virtualization for Desktop & Server, Application, Public & Hybrid Clouds | United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2015.

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