Data Management

New vCloud 5.1 Brings Data Centers Into the Virtual Fold

VMware has launched what it claims is the first solution to deliver what it calls the “software-defined data center” — its vCloud Suite 5.1.

This integrates the company’s virtualization, cloud infrastructure and management portfolio into one bundle.

It lets users set up their own virtual data centers, consisting of virtual compute, storage, networking and security resources.

The software-defined data center “transforms all data center services — compute, storage, networking, security and availability — into software to enable the on-demand provisioning and automated management of an entire virtual data center,” VMware spokesperson Nate Potter told TechNewsWorld.

A software-defined data center brings all seven layers of technology in the Open Systems Interconnection framework “under the control of a single management layer,” said Dan Kusnetzky, founder of the Kusnetzky Group. “This would allow administrators to manage how resources are used across systems and workloads.”

The vCloud Suite 5.1’s Makeup

The components of vCloud Suite 5.1 include virtualization, software-defined data center services, policy-based provisioning, disaster recovery, and applications and operations management.

The suite is built on an updated version of VMware vSphere 5.1. It has more than 100 enhancements and new features. It will support virtual machines (VMs) with up to 64 virtual CPUs each. Further, it incorporates enhanced VMware vMotion to enable the live migration of VMs without the need for shared storage. It also includes new VMware vSphere Data Protection for simplified, reliable backup and recovery of VMs, vSphere Replication, and vShield Endpoint for VM security.

The vCloud Suite 5.1 incorporates vCloud Director 5.1, a set of software-defined data center services. They abstract, pool and automate storage, networking, security and availability. VMware vCloud Director 5.1 can support elastic virtual data centers that span multiple VMware vSphere clusters and up to 30,000 VMs. It has enhanced APIs and an extensibility framework that lets users connect to a variety of third-party infrastructure services.

vCloud Networking and Security will let users create virtual networks and services on the fly that are decoupled and independent from the physical network hardware. It can isolate the network traffic between applications belonging to the same organization, regardless of physical network constraints or boundaries. vCloud Networking and Security can support tens of thousands of isolated virtual networks, VMware claims.

What’s a Software-Defined Datacenter?

The concept of the software-defined data center is a bid by VMware to fight off competition, Enterprise Management Associates’ Torsten Volk speculated.

Software-defined data centers aim to let applications define their own resource requirements based on corporate service level agreements (SLAs) and compliance policies, to ultimate slash operating expenditures, Volk said. The requirement definitions are based on business logic rather than on technical provisioning instructions.

Is What You See What You Get?

The vCloud Suite 5.1 is “basically a small evolution of the classical virtual appliance approach,” John Vincenzo, vice president of marketing at Embrane, told TechNewsWorld. “There’s no scale-out architecture, with no elasticity.”

Virtualized networking is “much more than spinning up a VM and then running a virtual version of a hardware solution in that VM,” Vincenzo stated. “You have to make sure it’s truly elastic.” That means the user should be able to grow, shrink and park the service on demand. Further, the service must be licensed to do these things.

Further, “Not all system resources are equal nor can workloads be automatically moved from X86-based systems to those built upon other processor architectures,” Kusnetzky told TechNewsWorld. “It is also true that storage and network systems designed to work on one type of media can’t automatically be picked up and moved to another type of media.”

The term “software defined data center,” Kusnetzky continued, “is a wonderful catch-phrase that will, I hope, nudge the industry to thinking a bit more holistically about virtualization and the use of IT resources.”

The vCloud Suite 5.1 will become available Sept. 11.

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