I had the opportunity to break away from work the other day to watch the live webcast of the big, exciting VMware announcement that I had been anxiously waiting for, and it didn’t disappoint. VMware CEO Paul Maritz, along with CTO Steve Herrod, took the stage to announce the presentation of VMware vSphere 5. The presentation really was just the tip of the iceberg as far as in-depth information goes, but as times goes on there will be tons of opportunities to participate in deep dive types of discussions. The presentation started with a nice video with a narrator discussing the current landscape of IT and what the future should hold. A couple of the quotes were:

How can we make our lives easier?
What lies beyond the horizon, and how do we get there?
How is every breakthrough started? With an idea.
Has technology made life better? It has.
Can we go further? We can.

Next up, VMware CEO Paul Maritz took the stage, and gave a warm welcome “to those that are physically with us today, and also those that are virtually with us today” Nice touch. He spoke briefly about how new business models and IT architecture is offering everyone a reduction in complexity, which is what we all need in the datacenter and is what VMware brings to the table. One of the good questions he asked was, “How do businesses navigate their way forward?” That’s a great question, and one that every business needs to ask themselves in order to establish a solid plan for the future of their architecture. He explained that VMware takes the existing datacenters and turns them into a more flexible and efficient infrastructure. When we talk about flexibility in the infrastructure the first thing that comes to mind is mobile computing. Paul pointed out that “we’re entering into the post-PC age, where the laptop isn’t the dominant user experience.” This is true. These day the road warrior carries an arsenal of mobile computing options; everything from the iPhone, iPad, and laptop. The laptop isn’t the only end-point option for businesses on the go, and 3rd party businesses are gearing their future towards piggybacking off of the mobile computing platform.

The IT Transformation Journey

I thought it was interesting to hear Paul speak about the IT transformation journey. He shared a bit of VMware’s past, and then pointed to VMware’s future. VMware pioneered IT production with VI 3 generation of hypervisor technology. I imagine at the beginning of this virtualization journey it wasn’t widely accepted, in fact it was probably shunned in some circles. By the end of 2009, 30% of the X86 server workloads were running on VMware virtualization technology. With the release and introduction of VMware vSphere 4 generation in 2010, the numbers increased to 40%. The scary thing is, this technology first made a real mark circa 2000, that’s not a long period of time, think about where this could be by 2020, the sky is the limit. VMware projects that virtualization will become the norm and 50% of X86 server workloads will be running on VMware virtualization technology. The question posed is, “what do we do going forward?” The answer, VMware vSphere 5.

The Industry’s First Cloud Infrastructure Suite
So what is a Cloud Infrastructure Suite and what is it made up of? With the release of vSphere 5, VMware has also upgraded some of their other products and packaged them as a “Cloud Infrastructure Suite” which provides an entire virtualization solutions for the datacenter. Included in VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Suite are:

    *VMware vSphere 5: Providing high performance, resource control, pooling and scheduling
    *vCenter SRM: Which offers top-notch business continuity
    *vCenter Operations: For monitoring and management
    *vShield: Virtualized security and edge functions
    *vCloud Director: Policy, reporting and self-service

This collection of virtualization utilities will help to accelerate the path to 100% virtualization with VMware. Some of the new config maximums with vSphere 5 are up to 32 CPUs and 1 TB of RAM, this is a nice upgrade and will create what Steve Herod called “a monster VM”.

What About The Licensing?
What used to be a per-CPU model with vSphere 4 will now be a licensing model based on the amount of VRAM. Important to point out that customers can pool the VRAM in their datacenter, but the total amount of memory in the pool is determined by the licensing. VMware CEO Paul Maritz addressed the licensing change:

“We believe that 95 percent of customers will see no change in their licensing costs. From our calculations, most customers will see no change and won’t be required to pay us more money,” Maritz said in a Q&A during VMware’s Q2 earnings call.

Virtual machines in vSphere 5 support up to 32 virtual CPUs, compared to 8 virtual CPUs in vSphere 4, and they can also hold up to one terabyte of virtual RAM, compared to 256 gigabytes for their predecessor. Customers that take advantage of these expanded capabilities will pay more for vSphere 5, but they’ll also be getting more corresponding benefits from their investment”

What The Future Holds
The future is bright for VMware as the journey to 100% server virtualization gets closer with each passing year. To close out this blog post, I wanted to add the infographic that Steve Herod put out about vSphere 5 and some staggering stats that have accumulated over the years.

Greg W Stuart
Greg is the owner and editor of vDestination.com. He's been a VMware vExpert every year since 2011. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids. He works as a Sr. Consultant at VMware and resides in Northern Virginia, 15 minutes west of Washington DC.

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