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VSphere 5 generally available: VMworld 2011 news in brief

VMware is kicking off its annual conference by shipping out its latest release; F5 supports Metro vMotion; VKernel rolls out vOperations Suite 4; VCE adds new Vblock for VDI.

VSphere 5 released
Coinciding with the kickoff of VMworld 2011, users can now download the latest major vSphere release, VMware announced late last week. VSphere 5 will support virtual machines (VMs) with up to 1 TB of RAM and 32 virtual CPUs. VMware has extended its Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) feature to storage with a feature called Storage DRS. Other new storage features include host-based replication for VMware Site Recovery Manager and a new version of the VMware Cluster File System. VSphere 5 also offers improved networking and security features. Even before its release, vSphere 5 saw its share of controversy, based on the company’s new vRAM licensing policy.

F5 supports Metro vMotion
Another new feature that will become available with vSphere 5 is Metro vMotion, with support for the live migration of VMs over networks with up to 10 milliseconds latency. F5 Networks is jumping on this news with the announcement that its Global Traffic Manager, Local Traffic Manager and WAN Optimization Manager will support this feature by redirecting existing network connections from one site to another without breaking user sessions and without requiring the stretching of the Layer 2 network domain over distance. The products are not yet certified by VMware.

VMware has limited the distance of vMotion to 10 millisecond links, according to Phil de la Motte, senior business development manager for F5, but F5 has successfully tested live migrations over 150 milliseconds successfully. In F5’s view, VMware is taking a conservative approach to this technology in terms of supported distances, he said.

VKernel rolls out vOperations Suite 4
VKernel is adding cost reporting and more tightly integrated Hyper-V support with version 4 of its vOperations virtualization management software. The new vScope cost index assesses all VMs in an environment for cost, factoring in the cost of different hypervisors, the type of hardware VMs are running on and the type of storage. The goal of vScope is to find cost outliers and find options for improving efficiency.

VKernel first added support for Hyper-V back in May, but with this release expands support beyond capacity management to include VKernel’s Performance Manager, Capacity Manager, Optimizer, reporting and chargeback. This is also the first release that supports VMware vSphere and Hyper-V within the same virtual appliance and graphical user interface. Similar support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is expected in the fourth quarter.

VCE adds new Vblock for VMware View
The Virtual Computing Environment Company (VCE) announced the general availability of the Vblock FastPath Desktop Virtualization Platform, a version of its Vblock bundle for desktops that also includes preconfigured VMware View software for 500, 1,000 or 1,500 desktops. (A previous version included a best practices guide for provisioning virtual desktop infrastructure on Vblock.) Specific pricing for the configuration wasn’t given; company officials said only that it begins in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cleversafe offers virtual storage appliances
Cleversafe, a startup looking to create a “storage internet,” is now offering virtual appliance versions of its product. Available now as virtual appliances are SliceStor storage nodes which break up a single file into up to 11 pieces for redundancy and Accesser nodes for on-site file reconstruction and delivery.

CommVault touts virtualization channel program
CommVault is launching a new channel program targeting large enterprises, service providers and public/hybrid cloud vendors. The first of several reference architectures for the program includes VMware software, Dell storage hardware and CommVault Simpana backup and archiving software. CommVault also is releasing a new Application Data Management bundle for VMware environments that targets mid-market customers.

Quest dangles free version of Foglight NMS, vFoglight 6.6
Quest Software is offering a free version of its network and performance monitoring and management tool for virtual environments, Foglight Network Management System (NMS) for up to 100 monitored nodes. The company is also making version 6.6 of its vFoglight virtualization monitoring tool generally available. The tool supports infrastructure monitoring, capacity planning and chargeback for both Hyper-V and VMware.

Citrix CloudStack supports vSphere 5
The IT as a Service product Citrix acquired last month with will now support vSphere 5 as well as Oracle VM. Hyper-V support is also on the roadmap, according to officials. Users can also use CloudStack, a competitor to VMware’s vCloud Director to manage bare-metal servers alongside virtual servers. Citrix has been refocusing its development efforts on the cloud following the acquisition, and away from individual hypervisors.

HyTrust, CA tout partnership
The HyTrust Appliance will be integrated with CA Inc.’s Access Control and Automation Suite for Clouds products in the coming months, officials from both companies said. CA’s access control tools work at the operating system and application layer, while HyTrust’s appliance sits between VMware’s vCenter management server and the rest of the virtual infrastructure. Both products control access, enforce privileges and provide audit logging. The exact nature of the planned integration between the products will be announced later in September.

Check out our full VMworld 2011 conference coverage.

Beth Pariseau is a senior news writer for Write to her at

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