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VMware has released its new vSphere 6 version

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February 3, 2015

As most of us in the IT industry had expected, VMware has finally released its vSphere 6 software, and the company has also released its OpenStack distribution.

However, VMware also surprised us with a new version of VSAN and the added release of Project Fargo.

The virtualization software company has also given itself a new mandate: OneCloud, to better describe its ambition to manage on-premises infrastructure, what it's now calling managed clouds like its own vCloud Air.

VMware can't quite bring itself to say either "agility" or "disruption", but both concepts are clearly on its mind.

The concept of what CEO Pat Gelsinger discussed was to make it easier for businesses to run IT in ways that make change of both computing and business practices easier.

We'll leave that kind of thing to the suits and instead jump into the headline features of the new products.

To be sure, Gelsinger says that there are three big elements in vSphere 6-- scale (the ability to handle 4 TB of RAM means HANA can now be virtualised); resilience as exemplified by vMotion at a distance allowing teleportation of VMs across very widce areas, and fault tolerance.

Another addition is called "Instant Cloning", which makes it possible to store virtual machines in very thin profiles that consume almost no resources until started.

Adding that technology to vSphere means it's now possible to keep a whole bunch of VMs on hand and spawn them at a rate of 64 in six seconds.

VMware says the footprint of these clones isn't much larger than that required for a Dockerised container and is talking up the fact that it can now give container fans the chance to spawn both a VM and a container as needed, enhancing virtual machines as a place in which to run containers.

Rapid scaling for applications like Hadoop is also on VMware's mind these days. The company says Instant Cloning is derived from Project Fargo, which in 2014 it said was destined for use as a VDI-booster.

VMware's release of OpenStack also saw the light of day, along with news it'll be free to enterprise customers, and explaining why VMware stopped giving away Suse linux to those users.

Overall, VMware is content for those who want to use OpenStack to be able to use it to run their vSphere environments.

But users can switch back and forth between VMware or OpenStack management tools, a feature that VMware was quick to point out. And now the new acronym, vFolks: VIO stands for VMware Integrated OpenStack (not virtual input/output).

VMware doesn't think there'll be a lot of users who run vSphere alongside OpenStack in production, and doesn't think there's much OpenStack powering in-production private clouds.

But it does think that developers want to work with OpenStack, so its distribution is all about hooking OpenStack APIs into VMware's core products so that IT can let developers play with their preferred tools without having to operate parallel infrastructures.

VSAN's new version is all about VVOLs, a topic we've covered extensively in the past. VSAN 6 appears to be a smaller upgrade than the jump to version 6 would indicate.

New features include better support for blade servers by allowing disks to reside in JBODs rather than being directly attached.

All-flash VSANs are now also possible as solid state disks that can now be used for persistent storage, an advance on previous arrangements that only allowed flash to be used as a tier.

VSAN is also scaled-- it can now use 64 nodes for a total of 8 PB of storage, a marker that traditional array vendors must love to have quoted at them.

The integration of NSX into vCloud Air also got another airing, with eMicro-Segmentation again in the news.

Between the four products mentioned above, there are more new features than it is sensible to summarise in this news report of the launch. We'll assess them in the coming weeks.

Source: VMware.

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