vSphere 4.1 overview & whats new


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Overview for latest release of VMware infrastructure virtualization solutions.

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  • www.wordle.net – created graphic by loading the vSphere 4.1 messaging document into the engine.
  • That new era is characterized by the promise of cloud computing. The “Web” completely changed the way we think about consuming services over the internet. But that was only half of the picture. The other half is how those services are delivered. That’s the focus of cloud computing, which completes the transformation of service delivery. VMware, the customer-proven leader in virtualization, is aggressively helping businesses pave the path to “Cloud Computing”, which promises to be the new era in IT that finally addresses the compounding problem of complexity.
  • So what is Cloud Computing? It is NOT a destination! It is an approach to computing… We believe that adopting cloud computing at the core of IT, based on VMware solutions, will dramatically improve efficiency and agility while maintaining customer choice. There are 6 core characteristics of cloud computing that VMware solutions deliver…Pooling – leveraging virtualization to change the model from machine-based to highly elastic shared resource pools that are shared across applications and users, enabling on-demand resource allocation in the most efficient manner Zero-touch Infrastructure – policy-driven management automates routine operational tasks, minimizing operational expense and overheadSelf-Service – provisioning and deployment are dramatically simplified through self-service model, within the parameters of defined business and governance policies, while management of systems and infrastructure is dramatically reduced through policy-driven automationControl – built on a robust platform that is architected for high availability, with the ability to optimize resource allocations to ensure service levels; built-in disaster recovery mechanisms to ensure business continuity; a security model that encompasses dynamic infrastructure and boundaries; and application-aware infrastructure to self-optimize application performanceOpen & Interoperable – application mobility between clouds within a common management model, based on open standards, extending to large ecosystem of public cloud providersLeverage Existing Assets – the ability to bring existing applications and all of IT into the cloud computing model in an evolutionary manner, starting internally with a private cloudvSphere is the platform for the cloud and provides many of the characteristics listed.
  • The entire VMware portfolio is aimed at removing and reducing complexity in IT, leveraging a cloud computing approach. Here are the basics: vSphere, the industry’s leading virtualization platform, is the foundation for building out a cloud architecture. It is step 1 on the journey. View takes the benefits of pooling, automation, control, etc. into play for desktops, which is actually the largest workload base in the enterprise. Thus being built on and extending vSphere, since desktop virtualization IS a datacenter problem, and should leverage a common cloud architecture. vCenter brings automation, simplification, etc. at the infrastructure level. Also note that vSphere + vCenter + View are used by cloud service providers to build out public cloud infrastructure as well. Same foundation for private and public clouds. “Redwood” is a project that is delivering the next level of abstraction, managing services across cloud infrastructure – both private and public. It will become the common management model across private clouds and VMware virtualized public clouds (i.e. vCloud partners). Springsource presents the frameworks and programming model for the cloud, freeing developers from having to be concerned with how and where to deploy applications, whether internally in a private cloud, in a VMware virtualized public cloud, or in any public cloud. VMware is working to optimize Spring-based application deployment into VMware Virtualized cloud environments, but will continue to support full customer choice of deployment destinations. Finally, VMware delivers virtual appliances for common, core IT services that should just be available and reliable in any cloud environment. IT should not be spending valuable resource time on managing these services, so VMware is making it dramatically simpler through virtual appliance offerings. Again, these will run in the private cloud inside the enterprise, on VMware Virtualized public clouds, or other public cloud offerings.
  • vSphere 4.1 enables higher consolidation ratios with unequaled performance by providing groundbreaking new memory management technology and expanding its resource pooling capabilities with new granular controls for storage and the network. The platform also offers dramatic “cloud scale” to support even the largest environments.Compute/Performance-Memory Compression – Reclaim application performance by up to 30% by reducing memory contention as a bottleneckStorage- Storage I/O Control – Set storage quality of service priorities per virtual machine for guarantee millisecond access to storage resources-Performance Reporting – Deliver key storage performance statistics regardless of storage protocol.Network- Network I/O Control – Set network quality of service priorities per flow type for guaranteed access to network resources. Scalability-vSphere 4.1 –Fully virtualize the data center and scale at least 2x more than ever before.  VMs per Cluster – 3,000 (3x vSphere 4.0)Hosts per vCenter – 1,000 (3x vSphere 4.0) Virtual Machines per Data Center – 5,000 (2x vSphere 4.0) vSphere 4.1 extends its award winning availability and security capabilities with the world’s fastest live migrations and the ability to respond in parallel to any business need or change. Application services enhancements deliver new status details for high availability, tighter integration with an existing directory service, and new granular policies for virtual machine load-balancing. Availability -vMotion– Speed and scale enhancements to vMotion deliver superior platform response and availability by migrating virtual machines up to 5x faster and enabling up to eight vMotion events in parallel. -VMware High Availability (HA) – Deeper diagnostic and health check for VMware High Availability (HA) further enhances the already high levels of availability for virtual machines.SecurityActive Directory integration–Seamless user authenticationat the ESX or ESXi host (rather than vCenter Server) for centralized user management. Easily assign privileges to users or groups plus roll out permission rules across hosts.vShield Zones (new version available in Q3’10Control-DRS Host Affinity– Set granular policies for virtual machine movement (for example, restricting a virtual machine to a specific host due to licensing impact).vSphere 4.1 builds on the VMware ecosystem not only in terms of increased hardware and software support but also by opening new possibilities for tie-in with cloud computing. Open and InteroperableArchitecture– vSphere 4.1 enables partners to leverage new storage APIs for array integration (for availability requirements). The vSphere platform can also be leveraged through the new vCloud API for an open and interoperable computing model in the cloud. Expanded Support – The vSphere 4.1 latest hardware compatibility list (HCL) expands the platform to support more operating systems, devices, applications, and service providers than any other virtualization platform. This also now includes new support for 3rd party serial port concentrators (for enhanced management) and the latest x86 processors on the market.
  • The overwhelming majority of vSphere customers have less than workloads which means that theoretically they can run their entire datacenter on a single vSphere cluster. NOTE - vCenter Server MUST be hosted on 64-bit Windows OS
  • Chart defines the key scale improvements with the 4.1 release.
  • New Deployment OptionsBoot from SANScripted Installation (a la “Kickstart”)Centralized updating of 3rd party code with Update ManagerVMware Update Manager can deploy drivers, CIM providers, other modulesImproved Local AuthenticationBuilt-in Active Directory ServiceDCUI and Tech Support Mode access by any authorized user (not just root)Easier CLI options for troubleshootingFull support of Tech Support Mode – both local and remote (via SSH)Additional commands in Tech Support Mode: vscsiStats, nc, tcpdump-uw, etc.Additional management options in vCLI: SCSI, VAAI, Network, VMBetter control over local activityDCUI and Tech Support Mode is configurable in vCenter ServerTotal host lockdown possibleActivity in Tech Support Mode is sent to syslogESXiUpgrade Center - http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-upgrade/Key Steps to TakeStart testing ESXiFree version has limited APIs – make sure to use vSphere versionStart learning vCLI and PowerCLIThey can be used to manage ESX as well as ESXiPrepare to assist customers with upgradeProvide help with migration of COS-based scriptsEnsure back up and systems management products used by your customer integrate with ESXi (may require version upgrade).Make ESXi the exclusive hypervisor choiceNew customers: always deploy ESXiExisting customers: switch to ESXi during vSphere 4.1 or future upgrades.
  • ESXi Upgrade Center - http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-upgrade/
  • Feature delivers quality-of-service capabilities for storage I/O in the form of I/O shares and limits that are enforced across all virtual machines accessing a datastore, regardless of which host they are running on. Using Storage I/O Control, vSphere administrators can ensure that the most important virtual machines get adequate I/O resources even in times of congestion. Engaged as needed, nothing happens when there is zero contention.Block based only, not supported with NFS
  • Reporting delivers enhanced visibility into storage throughput and latency of hosts and virtual machines, and aids in troubleshooting storage performance issues. NFS statistics (1st time) are now available in vCenter Server performance charts, as well as esxtop. New statistics for virtual machine for VMDK and datastore provide virtual machine insight. All statistics are available through the vSphere SDK. .
  • Feature delivers traffic-management controls allow flexible partitioning of physical NIC bandwidth between different traffic types, including virtual machine, vMotion, FT, and IP storage traffic. (enabled with Distributed Switch only.) Engaged as needed, nothing happens when there is zero contention.
  • See descriptions for full detailsVAAI supported with Dell/Equal Logic, HDS, NetApp, EMC, and HP arrays
  • vMotion enhancements significantly reduce the overall time for host evacuations, with support for more simultaneous virtual machine migrations and faster individual virtual machine migrations. The result is a performance improvement of up to 5x for an individual virtual machine migration, and support for four to eight simultaneous vMotion migrations per host, depending on the vMotion network adapter (1GbE or 10GbE respectively).
  • Compressed memory is a new level of the memory hierarchy, between RAM and disk. Slower than memory, but much faster than disk, this feature improves the performance of virtual machines when memory is under contention, because less virtual memory is swapped to disk as a result.
  • DRS provides the ability to set constraints that restrict placement of a virtual machine to a subset of hosts in a cluster. This feature is useful for enforcing host-based ISV licensing models, as well as keeping sets of virtual machines on different racks or blade systems for availability or performance reasons. Rules granularity (Hard and Preferential)
  • HA Healthcheck StatusHA provides an ongoing healthcheck facility to ensure that the required cluster configuration is met at all times. Deviations result in an event or alarm on the cluster.HA Operational StatusA new Cluster Operational Status window displays more information about the current HA operational status, including the specific status and errors for each host in the HA cluster.Improved HA-DRS interoperability during HA failoverDRS will perform vMotion to free up contiguous resources (i.e. on one host) so that HA can place a VM that needs to be restarted
  • FTDRS Interoperability for VMware HA and Fault Tolerance (FT) — FT virtual machines can take advantage of DRS functionality for load balancing and initial placement. In addition, VMware HA and DRS are tightly integrated, which allows VMware HA to restart virtual machines in more situations. VMware Fault Tolerance (FT) Enhancements — vSphere 4.1 introduces an FT-specific versioning-control mechanism that allows the Primary and Secondary VMs to run on FT-compatible hosts at different but compatible patch levels. vSphere 4.1 differentiates between events that are logged for a Primary VM and those that are logged for its Secondary VM, and reports why a host might not support FT. In addition, you can disable VMware HA when FT virtual machines are deployed in a cluster, allowing for cluster maintenance operations without turning off FT. Enhanced Network Logging Performance — Fault Tolerance (FT) network logging performance allows improved throughput and reduced CPU usage. In addition, you can use vmxnet3 vNICs in FT virtual machinesHost ProfilesCisco supportPCI device ordering (support for selecting NICs)iSCSI supportAdmin password (setting root password) PSA configurationOrchestratorprovides a client and server for 64-bit installations, with an optional 32-bit client.performance enhancements due to 64-bit installation
  • NexusEasier software upgradeIn Service Software Upgrade (ISSU) for VSM and VEMBinary compatibilityWeighted Fair Queuing (s/w scheduler)Increased ScalabilitySPAN to and from Port ProfileVLAN pinning to PNICInstaller app for VSM HA and L3 VEM/VSM communicationStart of EAL4 Common Criteria certification4094 active VLANsScale Port Profiles > 512NetworkNetwork Performance & Scale Improvementsvmkernel TCP/IP stack—vMotion, NFS, FT logging performance gainsUDP and intra-host VM to VM performance improvements vDS scaling to ~350 hosts/vDS (from current 64 hosts/vDS)—final number is TBD!LBT (Load Based Teaming)Avoid congestion by dynamic adjustment to NIC team based upon pNIC loadIPv6—NIST ComplianceCompliance with NIST “Host” ProfileStorage Two additional minor new ones are 1) support of iSCSI offloads with Broadcom offload cards and 2) Support for 8Gb HBAs.
  • ESXi Upgrade Center - http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-upgrade/
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