5 things we love/hate about VMware's vSphere

PowerCLI PowerShell Commandlets

VMware added loads of cmdlets to Microsoft's Powershell, and they continue VSPhere's theme of control and provisioning, plus limiting Vcloud sprawl.

Also: Read the full review

vNetwork Distributed Switch rocks

Provisioning sophisticated network controls is dramatically simplified with the vNetwork Distributed Switch. VLANs are a cinch, and aggregation and re-aggregation are fall-on-the-floor simple to control with vCenter.

vApp: The Big Red Switch

You can aggregate VMs in all sorts of interesting ways with vApp. This object-management system means you can easily turn on all instances of databases-- internal, external, or in whichever vCloud you placed them. The idea is so very simple, yet has tremendous power. Add in templates for the objects, draw from resource pools, and the immense control reminds us of the sandy beaches and drinks with little umbrellas that we see in IT-targeted advertisements.

Datastore Migration-- your store is now where you want it

We can't begin to understate the power of having VM guests with truly virtualized storage pools available. We could change out media as easily as changing socks. Add in virtualized hardware resources like extra CPU and memory, and VM guests become almost coddled.

VMWare vCenter Control Linked Mode

VMware pushes several steps ahead of Microsoft's System Center-Virtual Machine Manager -- for now. We like the views of data centers and links that it give us, and the inventory organization and relationship views that it offers. It's the best VM console we've seen so far, and the one to beat.

Too many V?

vWe're vSick and vTired of VMware's vCoopting vOf vAll vThings virtual. VBlah. VWe vWish VThey Vwould VCut vIt vOut!

Too Many Options

There are four product graduations that people at VMware decided would be enticing. We find it frustrating.

Socket to me -- at $3,495 PER SOCKET

We don't want to deny anyone reasonable income. We have bills to pay, too, and competition breathes down our necks. Nonetheless, to get the top tier of VMware, $3,495 per processor socket (OK, you can now get up to eight cores supported on the license in that socket) is really steep. Xen, whose product is actually faster in our tests, costs $0.00.

vSphere could use some vPolish

We got this strange error frequently. Restarting helped. It was inexplicable. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon.

vSphere Decision Support

Microsoft's SC-VMM and Hyper-V MOM add-ins go a long way towards recommending what to do in the quest of matching VMs with resources vSphere has some of the same problems as Microsoft's: the inability to rapidly show administrators the logic behind the choices, so that they can be used for justification and auditing purposes.

Meet the tester

Tom Henderson and Brendan Allen are researchers for ExtremeLabs. They can be reached at kitchen-sink@extremelabs.com

Also: Read the full review