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VMware vSphere update tweaks HTML5 client, bundles AppDefense

Hoping to keep its broad base of vSphere users engaged, VMware debuted an updated version of the virtualization offering and a version bundled with AppDefense.

A stand-alone update to VMware vSphere 6.7 sports a few upgrades and a polished HTML5 client interface, while another...

version bundles the company's AppDefense security product with a higher price tag.

Besides the new interface, vSphere 6.7 Update 1 contains a vCenter Server Converge Tool and additional vMotion and snapshot capabilities for Nvidia Grid vGPUs and support for field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

Experts said these additional vSphere capabilities are useful, if not long overdue, but don't elevate this release to a major one for vSphere customers.

"There are some nice things, like the vSphere Client, and the FPGA support for vMotion is good for people that will use the product every day ... but it is a minor upgrade," said Gary Chen, research manager for software-defined compute at IDC.

Gary Chen, research manager for software-defined compute, IDCGary Chen

Some of the higher-end technical improvements could attract some users who implement machine learning and AI capabilities, Chen said. However, the virtualization market is very well-penetrated, and the new release is more to evolve the product and keep customers on board.

Most end users will welcome the vSphere update's tweaks to improve the HTML5 client, as well as vGPU vMotion additions, but those particular functions won't drive greater adoption of the product, said Brian Kirsch, IT architect and instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

VSphere Platinum plugs in AppDefense

The bundled version, vSphere Platinum Edition, contains vSphere 6.7 Update 1 and AppDefense, with a vCenter plug-in for AppDefense, and it offers application-level security, according to Mike Adams, senior director of product marketing for VMware's cloud platform business unit.

"AppDefense can offer a good known state for what should be running in the hypervisor from the applications' perspective," Adams said. "So, if there is any deviation from that, admins will get an alert right away and be able to do something about it."

Most IT shops will appreciate VMware's continued focus on security with the bundling of AppDefense, Kirsch said. This, combined with NSX's attention to east-west attacks, should curry favor with larger IT shops.

Bargain hunters beware

Why would you [buy] the bundle if you can buy [vSphere and AppDefense] cheaper separately?
Gary Chenanalyst, IDC

What could steal attention away from the products' new features, however, is the Platinum Edition's price tag of $4,195 per CPU, per year. The current edition of vSphere Enterprise Plus goes for $3,495 per CPU, per year, and the current SaaS version of AppDefense is $500 per CPU, per year, totaling $3,995.

Asked to explain the higher Platinum price tag, Adams noted the package includes $10,000 in promotional credits for VMware Cloud on AWS. He added that this, plus the AppDefense vCenter plug-in, "is of significant value" to users.

The additional $200 per CPU, per year, is a significant sum for some large IT shops that have hundreds of servers, each with four, eight or more CPUs. Many might opt to buy the products separately and pocket the savings.

"Why would you [buy] the bundle if you can buy them cheaper separately, unless they are not telling us something?" IDC's Chen said.

The promotional credits for VMware Cloud on AWS may offer some incentive, but workloads that require the aforementioned horsepower in AWS will use that up relatively quickly. Buyers also should be aware that the credits are good for only six months and can be used only toward single-server instances, Chen said.

SearchServerVirtualization site editor Ryann Burnett contributed to this story.

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Are there enough new features in vSphere 6.7 Update 1 to convince you to upgrade?
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