Skip Links

Review: VMware vSphere 5.5 adds speed and usability

By David Davis, InfoWorld
December 18, 2013 10:21 AM ET

InfoWorld - VMware vSphere 5.5, the latest release of VMware's flagship virtualization hypervisor and central management server, has something for companies of all sizes. Usability and speed enhancements to the vSphere Web Client and the redesign of the vCenter single sign-on architecture are good reasons for all vSphere customers -- large or small -- to plan on making the move to vSphere 5.5 without delay.

While most customers will make the move for those two reasons, large enterprises will gain the most new features from version 5.5 with additions like vSphere Flash Read Cache, 16GB Fibre Channel, 40GB NIC support, 62TB VMDKs, enhanced SR-IOV, and vGPU support. And small shops will appreciate the new vSphere Data Protection (disk-based backup with deduplication) and the increased scalability of the new vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA), which makes vCSA the ideal choice for vSphere management for the long term.

Further, all customers will enjoy the latest features found in vCenter Operations Manager, a performance-monitoring and capacity-planning tool now bundled in vSphere with Operations Manager editions. For those shops that skipped the vSphere 5.1 update, it was likely a good move as the SSO architecture was problematic. With vSphere 5.5, VMware has completely redesigned vCenter SSO to eliminate complexities and past issues. You'll find implementing vCenter SSO to be much smoother and simpler in version 5.5.

What is vSphere with Operations Management?

The various commercial editions of vSphere with Operations Management are composed of a number of pieces. These include:

  • ESXi: The bare-metal, Type 1 hypervisor installed on physical servers.
  • vCenter Server: The centralized management server, available in both a Windows version and the Linux-based virtual appliance edition noted above. Note that vCenter is licensed in addition to vSphere with Operations Management but is a required piece. In addition to the Standard edition, vCenter Server comes in a Foundation edition for small or remote offices.
  • vSphere Client for Windows: The Windows-based client-side management tool for vSphere. This Windows client is still included but will soon be replaced by the Web-based client.
  • Advanced feature-set: Advanced management features that include vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere HA, and vSphere DRS, depending on the edition of vSphere you purchase.
  • vCenter Operations Manager: A "vApp" (containing two virtual appliances) that provides performance monitoring, alerting, and capacity management for the vSphere infrastructure.
  • Note that the free version of the ESXi hypervisor, called simply "the vSphere Hypervisor" (previously known as "Free ESXi"), has been updated to version 5.5 as well. As the free vSphere hypervisor is the same code as the commercial vSphere hypervisor, it too will benefit from numerous enhancements found in the commercial edition of vSphere 5.5. (Of course, numerous restrictions apply.) No matter which edition of vSphere you purchase, the ESXi hypervisor remains the same with only the advanced feature set varying from edition to edition.

In addition to the Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere, VMware offers specific kits called Essentials and Essentials Plus, which are designed for the small and midsized business market. To be more specific, vSphere Essentials lacks advanced features, including vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere HA, and vSphere DRS. The Essentials Plus edition adds vSphere vMotion, vSphere Data Protection, and vSphere HA.

Originally published on www.infoworld.com. Click here to read the original story.

Our Commenting Policies
Latest News
rssRss Feed
View more Latest News